Brian Wilson S/T (1988) Song-By-Song Thread

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Chief, Jun 2, 2008.

  1. dumangl

    dumangl Forum Resident

    "Melt Away" is one of Brian's best post Beach Boys songs IMO.
     
  2. Jack Son #9 Dream

    Jack Son #9 Dream I Dig Love

    Location:
    U.S.A.
    It's the way he sings "why" in this line above. There's more melody in that one word than some people put in an entire song.

    Beautiful song...a masterpiece. :thumbsup:
     
  3. harmonica98

    harmonica98 Well-Known Member

    Location:
    London, UK
    Seconded. Really beautiful song, hearing it my head right now!

    Tom
     
  4. Anders B

    Anders B Active Member

    Location:
    Sweden
    "Melt Away" was probably written in 1985 and for once the keyboards and samplers seem to be in place with some good use of tympany and that trademark Wilson christmas bell sound. Complete with an overall arrangement that makes one think of Pet Sounds no less. Surely one of the highlights of the album!

    Unfortunately this is one of the tracks where the 2000 remaster blew it by leaving out the vocals at the fadeout of the song.
     
  5. Glenn Christense

    Glenn Christense Foremost Beatles expert... on my block

    Location:
    Pepperland
    Yes, one of my favorites also.

    "I feel just like an island"... "Melt Way"

    "I'm a cork on the ocean"..."Til I Die"

    Now that I actually think about it, that's the most telling impression that I get from Brian. He's felt all alone for a very long time.

    I hope he feels better about himself these days.
     
  6. Sammy Banderas

    Sammy Banderas Well-Known Member

    Location:
    San Diego, CA, USA
    If I remember correctly, "Let It Shine" on the remaster is also different mix/mastering. This is especially noticible right before the first "there's comes a burning fire ..." part. The percussion/drums sound at that point is different than on the original release.
     
  7. yesstiles

    yesstiles Forum Resident

    "Melt Away" is a masterpiece.
     
  8. Anders B

    Anders B Active Member

    Location:
    Sweden
    The very best songs on the 2000 remaster were messed up, unfortunately.
    "Let It Shine" is very different throughout, especially during the chorus of the song and lacks much of the flow the original cut had.
     
  9. Giant Hogweed

    Giant Hogweed Active Member

    Location:
    Devon, UK
    I totally agree, I love this song, it's very 80s but sounds like one of the best quintessentially 80s upbeat pop songs i've ever heard, if it had been released by anyone else it would be a stone cold classic. Some people prefer the demo of this - 'Black Widow' - but I like the souped up high energy version, it would certainly be my favourite song on the album.
    I think the 80s production style actually suited Brians music quite well, more than any of his contemporaries anyway, the production actually seemed to fit his songwriting a lot of the time. It's astonishing if you put together BW88, it's outtakes and all the Sweet Insanity stuff - there is a big stash of great Brian songs here.
     
  10. lou

    lou Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Louisiana
    I'd be interested to know more about Landy and Morgan's lyrics contributions - I have no doubt they did indeed contribute to the songs they are credited for. The reason they were taken off the lyrical credits was not that they didn't write the lyrics - it was part of the legal settlement when Landy was finally separated from Brian and all of Brian's business and it was determined it was improper for Landy to become Brian's creative and business partner when he was his psychologist. I suspect Morgan actually wrote more lyrics than Landy, who probably suggested things or gave an overall approval or disapproval, but I'd love to hear from Morgan (now that Landy has died) about how the creative process worked for those songs.

    Andy Paley has claimed that some of the songs credited to Wilson/Paley were actually 100% Paley - Meet Me in Your Dreams Tonight being one.

    Melt Away - definitely proof that Brian's genius hadn't deserted him.
     
  11. Chief

    Chief Over 9231 Served

    Paley said "Meet Me In My Dreams Tonight" was "50/50". He said the same about "Rio Grande". He also said he wrote some parts in the middle of "One For The Boys" and that Brian wrote the chorus to "Nighttime" and he (Paley) wrote everything else.

    I'd like to know more about this era but nobody is talking (or writing). I think a pretty decent book could be written just about 1983-1992. I'm kind of mystified that there are two gigantic books about Keith Moon, and nothing comparable for Brian. Nothing against Keith Moon. They're good books. It's just that if something of that magnitude can be written about the drummer for the Who, then certainly there is plenty of material for a seriously in-depth book about Brian Wilson.
     
  12. Jose Jones

    Jose Jones Outstanding Forum Member

    Location:
    Detroit, Michigan
    I never cared for how "Walk The Line" starts out, but it's not a bad tune once the verse kicks in. Is that the song Terrance Trent D'Arby guest-sings on? It's pretty generic singing. It almost seems like trendy 1980s name-dropping more than anything else. As for the comparisons of it to the Love You album, I never thought of that before but it does have that quality to it.

    "Melt Away" is a great production and song, but BW has that "stiff" quality in his singing (most noticeable when he tries to sing a lot of words quickly) that keeps this from being top-drawer. Had BW done this in his prime, it would be right up there with anything else he did.
     
  13. Anders B

    Anders B Active Member

    Location:
    Sweden
    Chief, do you by any chance have the original running order for the album ? That would be very interesting to see , to put it mildly!

    I have neither heard "Let's Do It Again" or the demo of that song called "Black Widow".
     
  14. Chief

    Chief Over 9231 Served

    I think "Melt Away" is easily the best song of Brian's solo career, and I consider it among his best songs ever. I believe "Melt Away" was the song that won Brian a solo contract. From a production standpoint, it seems designed to hit all of the Pet Sounds hallmarks. The sleighbell are always welcome, as are the church bells, triangle, snare drum fills, and timpani. Listening with headphones is particularly rewarding as there are a lot of little things going on in the track. Given that Brian is deaf in one ear, I doubt he had too much to do with all of those extras. Regardless, it's a nice production. As with many songs on Brian Wilson, "Melt Away" would be even better with the Beach Boys singing. The vocal arrangement was made for the Beach Boys, as are almost all of Brian's vocal arrangements.

    The line "I feel just like an island until I see you smiling" is something Brian came up with in the studio while doing his vocals. It was determined that the existing line (presumably "it really doesn't matter, if I just burst and shatter") wasn't very good. On the spot, Brian came up with something 100x better and appropriate for the song.

    The entire album is worth it for just this one song.
     
  15. Chief

    Chief Over 9231 Served

    No, I never saw an alternative running order. I think it's known, but not by me. I think "Let's Do It Again" was cut for "Meet Me In My Dreams Tonight". It was also considered as a b-side to "Melt Away". I don't think the version of "Let's Do It Again" that is out there is from the Brian Wilson sessions. It's far more blantantly "eighties" than anything on Brian Wilson. It's probably just another demo. "Black Widow" seemed kind of monotone. It's transition to "Let's Do It Again" was surprising. He still sings the same melody, but with a quicker tempo, and full harmonies, it becomes a very different sounding song.
     
  16. Anders B

    Anders B Active Member

    Location:
    Sweden
    Some of the Brian Wilson websites suggest "Let's Do It Again" belongs to the "Sweet Insanity" sessions (or maybe it's just that the bootleggers see it fit to put it on that album). While others suggest it's from the Usher demos (may be more likely if the track sounds very 80s!). Other info I gathered about the song suggest a Wilson/Landy credit and dates the song 85-88. What seems pretty clear is that a final version indeed was recorded for the Brian Wilson album.
     
  17. Chief

    Chief Over 9231 Served

    Maybe people are getting "Let's Do It Again" confused with "Let's Stick Together". "Let's Do It Again" sort of sounds like the Usher era and it's on the The Wilson Project boot. AGD doesn't include it in his list of unreleased recordings from these sessions though:

    Elsewhere he lists "Let's Do It Again" as being from "1986". I have to assume that it was re-recorded during the Brian Wilson sessions. The version on The Wilson Project is a below-par eighties production that sounds nothing like Brian Wilson. Underneath the production, the song and vocal performance is really great. Given that it was included on early running orders of the album and that it was also considered as a possible b-side I can't imagine that it wasn't re-recorded.
     
  18. Chief

    Chief Over 9231 Served

    Baby Let Your Hair Grow Long
    Producer: Brian Wilson/Russ Titelman
    Mixed by Hugh Padgham assisted by Bob Vogt at A & M Recording Studios
    (Brian Wilson)

    I wish you'd listen when I tell you now
    Baby let your hair grow long
    (Baby let your hair grow long)
    It's not too late to have another date
    Baby let your hair grow long
    (Baby let your hair grow long)
    In my mind I can see
    Just the way you used to be
    Don't want girls who don't care about nothin'
    And throw their lives away

    There's somethin' missin' with you darlin' now
    Baby let your hair grow long
    (Baby let your hair grow long)
    It hurts inside to see you suffer now
    Baby let your hair grow long
    (Baby let your hair grow long)
    There's no way I can help you
    You gotta do it all by yourself now
    Don't want girls who don't care about nothin'
    And throw their lives away
    Throw them away

    There's gotta be somthin' you're livin' for
    You've got to try a little more
    I've been waitin' to see that change in you
    You can do it just the way you used to do
    Whoa-ohh ohh

    I wish you'd listen when I tell you now
    Baby let your hair grow long
    (Baby let your hair grow long)
    There's somthin' missin' with you darlin' now
    Baby let your hair grow long
    (Baby let your hair grow long)
    In my mind I can see just the way you used to be
    Don't want girls who don't care about nothin'
    And throw their lives away

    There's somethin' missin' with you darlin' now
    Baby let your hair grow long
    (Baby let your hair grow long)
    It hurts inside to see you suffer now
    Baby let your hair grow long
    (Baby let your hair grow long)
    I wish you'd listen when I tell you now
    Baby let your hair grow long
    (Baby let your hair grow long)
    There's somthin' missin' with you darlin' now
    Baby let your hair grow long
    (Baby let your hair grow long)
     
  19. dumangl

    dumangl Forum Resident

    "Baby Let Your Hair Grow Long" seems to be a "Caroline, No" retread but not nearly as good. Did Brian have a hair fixation?
     
  20. Chief

    Chief Over 9231 Served

    He seems to have believed in the restorative magical power of long hair. His lyrics in "Baby Let Your Hair Grow Long" are an attempt to remedy the problems that supposedly occurred when the hair was cut in "Caroline, No". What I find interesting in "Baby Let Your Hair Grow Long" is that it passes judgement on the individual for whom he mourns in "Caroline, No". The latter can be considered a wistful coming-of-age song, innocence lost, etc... In the update, he says he doesn't "want girls who don't care about nothin' and throw their lives away", which is a harsher assement.

    I think he was addressing the same topic but he introduced a more severe consequence of the short hair (change) that can only be remedied by growing the hair back, which is beyond superficial. In "Caroline, No", Brian asks "Could we ever bring them back once they have gone?", a rhetorical question. Twenty-two years later, he's suggesting that it's possible.

    It's hard to know with Brian. Is "Baby Let Your Hair Grow Long" a reflection of Brian's immaturity (not in full view since Love You)? Is he inadvertently saying more about himself than he realizes? Is it a goof? Just a put-on?

    It's also the the most Love You-sounding song on the album.
     
  21. rewind1964

    rewind1964 Active Member

    Location:
    Raleigh, NC USA
    Agreed!
    "Melt Away" is by FAR my favorite of his solo recordings!
    :love:
     
  22. Jack Son #9 Dream

    Jack Son #9 Dream I Dig Love

    Location:
    U.S.A.
    I like "Baby Let Your Hair Grow Long". The melody is really good and Brian sings the song with a very strong voice. This is one of the best songs on the album (I'm probably going to end up saying that about most of the songs on this album :)).
     
  23. LouReed9

    LouReed9 Village Idiot

    Location:
    Philly Burbs
    I loved this album from day one! I think it's his best solo effort by a large margin. In spite of the synths and what not. Great songs.

    I think "Let It Shine" is my favorite. After L&M.
     
  24. Chief

    Chief Over 9231 Served

    I think "Baby Let Your Hair Grow Long" has the best falsetto vocals on the album. Brian has several falsetto lead parts, so it's right up front. Most of the falsetto singing on the album is behind his multi-tracked vocals, or just little flashes like the parts in "Let It Shine" and "Rio Grande". I honestly can't tell if his 1988 falsetto is better than his last decent falsetto in 76-77, which again, wasn't usually a lead ("She's Got Rhythm" being the big exception). His best lead falsetto singing of that era is probably on "You've Lost That Loving Feeling", which was never released. The 1988 falsetto is different, but I don't think it's better or worse.
     
  25. LouReed9

    LouReed9 Village Idiot

    Location:
    Philly Burbs
    So many great songs it's hard to pick a favorite!:thumbsup:
     

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