So, I mostly thought that it was impossible to offend me, but, the other day, I realized that I am offended by several of the songs on the pre-Today Beach Boys albums. I had a craving for Custom Machine, but I decided, in truly non-Western fashion, to take in all of Little Deuce Coupe and delay my own gratification. Several times, my mouth dropped slightly open, and my neck cocked suddenly: I was offended.
So, what I did was take all of the best songs from those albums and put them in one spot, because, believe you me, the songs here are fucking transcendental.
Structuring is similar to that described in my recent Buddy Holly post, in that extended chord progressions are used to build up to a specific point ("Surfin' USA!") while contemporary verse/chorus arrangements are largely absent. These songs are also super-fucking short, which rules, because I don't always want to hear the half-time chorus/vocal histrionics at the end of a song (sometimes I do want to hear this).
Pick out some voice-leading harmonies! Shut Down and Catch a Wave both have some keen-ass contrary motion, which makes me wonder if the Boys were thinking in terms of chord inversions or some weird-ass sibling mind-meld counterpoint shit, being very neglectuful of equal temperament, etc. Either way, what we end up with is a viscous musical texture pulling at the edges of reality, with the shockingly banal lyrics and more apparent-in-hindsight melancholy only adding to the surreality of the experience. The contrast between the basic rock pentatonic scale framework and the lushness of the vocal melodies (see also: The Beatles, Motown) is sometimes more appealing to me than the more cohesive blending of instruments and vocals found on Pet Sounds and later works.
Also, check out the lyrics to Be True to your School. Whoa!
PS: Can any more knowledgable bloggers explain why the hard returns in my posts keep getting all fucked up? I can't make sense of this!