8 March 2013

8th March - The Beach Boys' Today!

Artist – Album: The Beach Boys – Today!
Released:  8th March 1965           
Sounds Like: What everyone imagines being a teenager in the 60’s was like

Today! is the missing link in the Beach Boys catalogue, the connection between the early surfer pop of ‘I Get Around’ and ‘California Girls’ and the complex symphonies of Pet Sounds and ‘Good Vibrations’.

Kicking off with ‘Do You Wanna Dance?’, the initial impressions are that this is a typical 60’s party album: great fun, but hardly anything revolutionary, particularly when you consider that the Beatles would go on to release the experimental folky masterpiece Rubber Soul and Dylan would give us the electric Highway 61 in the very same year.

But, starting with ‘When I Grow Up (to Be a Man)’, we start to hear a switch in depth and sophistication of the songwriting. As with the Flaming Lips in recent years, The Beach Boys (or Brian Wilson) writes songs that sound both naive and incredibly wise, like when the Dalai Lama was still a baby. They’re still great fun, replete with unparalleled vocal harmonies, but they’re also lyrically rewarding; simple but deep, personal but universal. The second half of the album is devoid of hits and dominated by ballads, each more luscious and tender than the next. Honestly, ‘Please Let Me Wonder’, ‘Kiss Me, Baby’ and ‘In the Back of My Mind’ are as good as anything on the aforementioned Beatles album.

And then they ruin it with the tiresome mock interview ‘Bull Session with the ‘Big Daddy’’. Smooth move Ferguson, that’s why you only get 9 out of 10.

Albumaday... rating: 9/10

1.       Do You Wanna Dance? – 2:19
2.       Good to My Baby – 2:16
3.       Don’t Hurt My Little Sister – 2:07
4.       When I Grow Up (to Be a Man) – 2:01
5.       Help Me Rhonda – 3:08
6.       Dance, Dance, Dance – 1:59
7.       Please Let Me Wonder – 2:45
8.       I’m So Young – 2:30
9.       Kiss Me, Baby – 2:35
10.   She Knows Me Too Well – 2:27
11.   In the Back of My Mind – 2:07
12.   Bull Session with the ‘Big Daddy’ – 2:10

Listen to ‘Kiss Me, Baby’: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YzAHc0NrpS0

Also released on the 8th March:
1999: Stereophonics – Performance and Cocktails

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