The Beach Boys - The Night Was So Young
I had a serious soul-awakening with Beach Boys music around three or four years ago; I’d always liked their songs, owned Pet Sounds, had a Smile bootleg phase like everybody, but a few years ago my Dad bought me Catch A Wave, a really fantastic biography of Brian and the Boys. Hearing their later period music, and having such great context, really opened my heart to the sadness beneath even the happiest of Brian’s songs.
I still can’t say I’ve warmed all that much to the other Boys’ tracks on Friends, 20/20, Sunflower etc, although Carl’s are usually very good, and Dennis has some nice rockers. Really, I’m a Brian Wilson superfan, and The Beach Boys Love You is one of his most beautiful trainwrecks.
These were demos that Brian was putting together for a solo album (he plays almost all the instruments, including the strange drums and chunky synth bass), but the other Boys persuaded him to put them towards a new BB record (as their label wasn’t interested in promoting non-Brian BB material anymore). Brian was continuing to let himself be exploited by those around him, a recurring thread throughout his life. This lends a particularly creepy air to the album title, which is being said from The Beach Boys to Brian, not necessarily to the listeners; complimenting him but placing him squarely outside of the BB tent.
Regardless, many of the songs on Love You are gorgeous, aching, half-finished scraps of wrecked genius (file this album next to Big Star’s Third). I particularly like this paen to Brian’s great lost love, Carol Mountain, which I woke up humming this morning. Enjoy.