Monday, May 3, 2021


The old and admittedly stale joke about the positive side of having Alzheimer's is that you're always meeting new people. Too often it seems I have forgotten the old joys of tunes that lie in my record collection , only to have a pleasurable re-acquaintance with the music decades later, out of now where.The effect is just a little like wandering around your house looking for something you need but that you forgot what it was you  began the search for. And then presto!, there they are, your house keys, that thing you need and can't get along without. It's a moment of revelation, surprise aplenty, a  great and rushing relief.  

This Beach Boy tune, from their landmark album Pet Sounds , is one of those songs, significant because principle songwriter Brian Wilson had begun to wander from the teen beach-babes-cars-surfing tropes that endeared he and the Beach Boys to the world and began to write material that contained a telling element of introspection. This melody is gorgeous, the peerless harmonies gliding along like light feathers on the breeze of a tentative and ascending melody, the odd intervals combing for an effect of naive plain speak, a young person aware that there is something more to this world than distractions. A writer greatly influenced by the subversive genius of Chuck Berry, a black musician vested in the blues and swing, who could bright and verbally inventive lyrics about being a white  teen innocently looking for fun and distraction,  Wilson here seems to pick up the theme of where the Brown Eyed Handseom Man had left off:  School is a drag, and cruising for fun is fine and all, but a whole world  unknown is rearing itself over the horizon as senior year ends and graduation ends.What now ? This seems to be what the song is asking. The narrator remains painfully young, but there is genuine introspection in a mind formerly the exclusive property of youthful impulse. Who is one going to be in the world of jobs, mortages and taxes? 

What is one supposed to be in this world? What others expect him to be? Or to be his own person, ignoring advice, constraints, societal mores and laws? Or a combination of all these things, somewhere in the middle, defined, distinct, whole, happy, productive, creative? The song is not profound in message, it is not even poetic or artful in any way rock critics would desire,but it is beautiful in terms of being that moment when the music softens,the drummer lays out, and someone removes them self form where the action is to some other space inside their soul, reflective for a moment, perhaps indicating a prelude to a searching, innovative life. Nice jam/

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