Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The Beach Men

Man, I always hated the Beach Boys.

I always found their vaunted harmonies off-key and grating and whiny. I was never a surfer dude type, and whatever beach vibe I cared for was much more of the chainsaw Dick Dale variety than the butterknife Beach Boys.

But still. They encapsulate something American. They have a kind of dumb fun quality about them I find engaging in pop music. And for a little while, when their leader Brian Wilson was wigged out and Brian Love was marginalized, they made a couple of insistent and lyrical songs along with an interesting fellow named Van Dyke Parks. I like "Sail on Sailor," for instance, which any Beach Boys aficionado would cock a snook at.

They threw him out after a short while, and went back to being Jimmy Buffet's lame grandfathers, singing in not so/too close harmony at State Fairs.

So I don't like the Beach Boys. And I don't care for Mike Love, in particular. But Darlin' is a fine piece of pop, and Love co-wrote it.

The best indication that you've got something worthwhile going on is when people that don't even like what you're doing can find something you did they do like.

The Beach Boys are my bad restaurant with one good thing on the menu. I order it every time.


Ron said...

I have an odd affection for them...I don't surf, that damn California surfer culture is more filled with more boorish jocks then emo Brian Wilsons, but it's just the time of it I guess...I like the idea of celebrating cars and engines and surfing and girls. Specific things, things one loves. I can't see that today.

Harry said...

I'm with ron.

The video you posted is from the early 70s, which was their crisis period.

Its also ironic that they were a kid act pushed to stardom by theatre parents. They came from Hayward, not Malibu.

They made a big contribution in spite of it.