Pray For Surf is blogged by Phil Miglioratti who enjoys the sound and spirituality of the music of Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys ... As a Christ-follower, he comments on what he considers "the Gospel according to Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys ...
Monday, September 24, 2012
Beach Boys - Greatest Song of All TIme
1. The Beach Boys – “God Only Knows”
Pet Sounds, 1966
Brian Wilson famously referred to The Beach Boys’ long lost album SMiLE as “a teenage symphony to God.” The record has since been released in two completed forms–as a rerecorded Wilson solo outing in 2004 and just last year in its original incarnation. While both versions are near perfect, SMiLE is less a teenage symphony to God than it is a surrealist painting of America. There’s plenty of obtuse spirituality in Wilson’s music and Van Dyke Parks’ abstract lyrics, but little of it involves romance. And if a symphony is coming from a teenager, it has to involve romance. Brian Wilson didn’t write a symphony to God because he had already written a teenage symphony to God. It didn’t take an entire album either. It didn’t even take three minutes.
A lot has been written and said about “God Only Knows” over the years; how it was one of the first (if not the first) radio songs to use the word “God” in its title; how it was eventually praised by everyone from The Beatles to Stiff Little Fingers; how, in 1966, it was insane to open a love song with the seemingly pessimistic line “I may not always love you.” On penning the lyrics, Wilson collaborator Tony Asher clarified that “…by the second part, the real meaning of the song has come out: ‘I’ll love you till the sun burns out, then I’m gone,’ ergo ‘I’m gonna love you forever.’”
But I’d argue that “God Only Knows” has resonated with generations of music fans simply because of its concept. The combination of Asher’s modern pop lyrics with Wilson’s baroque instrumentation makes it old yet young, skeptical yet innocent, escorting the listener to the intersection of youth and adulthood, even if they weren’t there already. It brims with the unbridled passion of being a teenager, the idea of proclaiming your love to the heavens. But it also deals with the complex uncertainty of being an adult. As much as Carl Wilson’s angelic tenor wishes love could be simple and of the puppy variety, the ache in his voice tells us that maturity means otherwise, whether the 19-year-old was aware of it at the time or not. It’s easy to scramble and revert to the adolescent view of unconditional love when faced with its more adult obstacles: commitment, faith, seeing your partner die if you’re together long enough. Only 23 when he wrote the song, Brian Wilson may not have truly faced any of these things in his life just yet (although he had plenty of non-romantic issues to deal with), but he must have known he was about to.
Whenever I hear the skyward notes of Alan Robinson’s French horn at the song’s beginning and its fadeout, I’m reminded of another important piece of music from growing up: the closing theme to ThunderCats. No joke. The end credits of eachThunderCats episode were different from the opening ones because they rolled over a fully orchestrated version of the kitschy, over-synthesized theme song (both written by composer Bernard Hoffer). What’s more is that the song prominently featured a French horn. And there was something about the lonely brass that suddenly made the show feel more adult. It wasn’t of course; ThunderCats was and still is pretty silly, as much as I love it. But that didn’t matter. By using the French horn and other century-old instruments as vehicles for contemporary subject matter, Bernard Hoffer tapped into a magically conflicting energy. And so did Brian Wilson.
Along with Asher and the rest of The Beach Boys, he awoke the dormant adult in every kid and the dormant kid in every adult. The entire world will listen to it for years to come. Till their records skip. Till their iPods break. Till everyone dies. Till the sun burns out. -Dan Caffrey
Originally posted @ http://consequenceofsound.net/2012/09/top-100-songs-ever-50-1/
•200+ rare Beach Boys videos @ http://uk.youtube.com/BB45s
•Type keywords in the Search box above
•Visit http://www.PrayForSurf.net for more "stuff"
•Pray For Surf @ http://www.myspace.com/80748761