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Inside the Music of Brian Wilson: The Songs, Sounds, and Influences of the Beach Boys' Founding Genius

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Inside the Music of Brian Wilson is, as author Phillip Lambert writes in the prologue "completely, and intensely, focused on the music of Brian Wilson, on the musical essence of his songs and the aesthetic value of his artistic achievements. It acknowledges the familiar biographical contexts of his songs, but it tells completely new stories about the birth and evolution of Inside the Music of Brian Wilson is, as author Phillip Lambert writes in the prologue "completely, and intensely, focused on the music of Brian Wilson, on the musical essence of his songs and the aesthetic value of his artistic achievements. It acknowledges the familiar biographical contexts of his songs, but it tells completely new stories about the birth and evolution of his musical ideas, identifying important musical trends in his work, heretofore undisclosed inter-song connections within his music, or between his music and that of others, and the nature and extent of his artistry. It aims not just to identify great songs, but to explain exactly what makes them so." Lambert, a renowned musicologist, brings to this work to life with both his professional expertise and an infectious personal appreciation of the power of pop music. His clear, engaging tone and accessible writing style allows even a musically inexperienced reader to follow him as he traces Wilson's musical evolution, with a particular focus on the years leading up to the writing and recording of Pet Sounds and SMiLE, albums which many consider to be the masterpieces of his oeuvre. Inside the Music of Brian Wilson is the definitive book on Wilson's music and is essential reading for fans of Brian Wilson, the Beach Boys, and great pop music. Includes THREE amazing Appendixes: * Appendix 1: Brian Wilson Song Chronology * Appendix 2: Four Freshmen Albums, 1955 1961 * Appendix 3: Favorite Songs and Influences Through 1961


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Inside the Music of Brian Wilson is, as author Phillip Lambert writes in the prologue "completely, and intensely, focused on the music of Brian Wilson, on the musical essence of his songs and the aesthetic value of his artistic achievements. It acknowledges the familiar biographical contexts of his songs, but it tells completely new stories about the birth and evolution of Inside the Music of Brian Wilson is, as author Phillip Lambert writes in the prologue "completely, and intensely, focused on the music of Brian Wilson, on the musical essence of his songs and the aesthetic value of his artistic achievements. It acknowledges the familiar biographical contexts of his songs, but it tells completely new stories about the birth and evolution of his musical ideas, identifying important musical trends in his work, heretofore undisclosed inter-song connections within his music, or between his music and that of others, and the nature and extent of his artistry. It aims not just to identify great songs, but to explain exactly what makes them so." Lambert, a renowned musicologist, brings to this work to life with both his professional expertise and an infectious personal appreciation of the power of pop music. His clear, engaging tone and accessible writing style allows even a musically inexperienced reader to follow him as he traces Wilson's musical evolution, with a particular focus on the years leading up to the writing and recording of Pet Sounds and SMiLE, albums which many consider to be the masterpieces of his oeuvre. Inside the Music of Brian Wilson is the definitive book on Wilson's music and is essential reading for fans of Brian Wilson, the Beach Boys, and great pop music. Includes THREE amazing Appendixes: * Appendix 1: Brian Wilson Song Chronology * Appendix 2: Four Freshmen Albums, 1955 1961 * Appendix 3: Favorite Songs and Influences Through 1961

30 review for Inside the Music of Brian Wilson: The Songs, Sounds, and Influences of the Beach Boys' Founding Genius

  1. 5 out of 5

    Giff Zimmerman

    In my youth (5 decades ago, now), I thought The Beach Boys were a mostly lightweight (surf music, car music), sometimes insipid (“Be True to Your School”) “pop” group, that occasionally stepped up their game to do something wonderful like “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” or “Good Vibrations”. They clearly paled in comparison to the preternaturally talented and musically sophisticated Beatles. But then, as a Beatles fan, I read about how much The Beatles respected and admired The Beach Boys’ music, and I ac In my youth (5 decades ago, now), I thought The Beach Boys were a mostly lightweight (surf music, car music), sometimes insipid (“Be True to Your School”) “pop” group, that occasionally stepped up their game to do something wonderful like “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” or “Good Vibrations”. They clearly paled in comparison to the preternaturally talented and musically sophisticated Beatles. But then, as a Beatles fan, I read about how much The Beatles respected and admired The Beach Boys’ music, and I acquired some of their records and listened more closely. I came to admire their best early hits (“I Get Around” and “Fun Fun Fun”) as being extremely clever in concept, and perfectly executed. I now view their vocal harmonies (“In My Room”, “Don’t Worry Baby”) as being the greatest in rock history (besting Crosby, Stills, Nash and/or Young). The key changes and chord sequences they use (“Warmth of the Sun”) are incredibly sophisticated, equal to or maybe even better than those of The Beatles’. And their hyper-creative producer wasn’t an outsider like George Martin but was one of the group, Brian Wilson. Then I belatedly discovered “Pet Sounds”, a fabulously innovative album from 1966, including one of the most moving songs of all time, “Caroline, No”; and then in 2004 fell in love with the long-delayed “SMiLE”, which I now regard as one of the top 5 rock albums of all time. Philip Lambert’s book “Inside the Music of Brian Wilson” both articulated well the reasons why I already had come to love The Beach Boys’ music, and added so much insight and detail to my understanding that my love for their music deepened immensely. I enjoyed every page of the book. Brian Wilson’s musical background that Lambert provides was very thought-provoking; indeed, it led me to buy some Four Freshmen albums, and now I absolutely love their music. Lambert’s explanations of the meaning of song lyrics; the key changes that Wilson uses in his songs, especially the use of nebulous keys during the Pet Sounds / SMiLE era; the chord sequences Wilson used; and the integration of all these elements into an artistic whole, were always interesting, and often epiphany-provoking. The best parts of the book took a long time to read because I often played the song being discussed multiple times while I was reading the section devoted to that song. But it was all fun, and worthwhile. If you love The Beach Boys’ music, and are reasonably grounded in music theory, you will love this book.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Matt

    A close listen to the Pet Sounds box set will tell you everything you need to know about Brian Wilson's greatness; My favorite part of this book is Lambert's interpretations of the songwriting devices he describes. He has a keen ear and a thorough appreciation of the art of songwriting, and he has plenty to work with, given the prolific output of Mr. Wilson. Highly recommended for all B. Wilson/Beach Boys fans, songwriters, musicians, and lovers of music. A close listen to the Pet Sounds box set will tell you everything you need to know about Brian Wilson's greatness; My favorite part of this book is Lambert's interpretations of the songwriting devices he describes. He has a keen ear and a thorough appreciation of the art of songwriting, and he has plenty to work with, given the prolific output of Mr. Wilson. Highly recommended for all B. Wilson/Beach Boys fans, songwriters, musicians, and lovers of music.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Kent Hayden

    Despite reviews that thought this book was too technical music-wise, I thought it didn't go deep enough. The author compares Wilson's songs to other groups that Wilson was influenced by but I really wanted a breakdown of all this parts he conceived. Despite reviews that thought this book was too technical music-wise, I thought it didn't go deep enough. The author compares Wilson's songs to other groups that Wilson was influenced by but I really wanted a breakdown of all this parts he conceived.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jesse

    Glad somebody went to the trouble of doing an academic/theoretical analysis of Brian Wilson's music... but, geeze, did it have to be so dry? I mean, it is surf music we're talkin' about... Glad somebody went to the trouble of doing an academic/theoretical analysis of Brian Wilson's music... but, geeze, did it have to be so dry? I mean, it is surf music we're talkin' about...

  5. 5 out of 5

    Joris

  6. 4 out of 5

    Michael Fitzgerald

  7. 4 out of 5

    David Feil

  8. 4 out of 5

    Meowfresh

  9. 5 out of 5

    Louis

  10. 5 out of 5

    Stephen Novik

  11. 4 out of 5

    Mark

  12. 4 out of 5

    David Slater

  13. 4 out of 5

    Kellie

  14. 5 out of 5

    Levi

  15. 5 out of 5

    Chris Estey

  16. 4 out of 5

    Ethan

  17. 4 out of 5

    Frankie Dintino

  18. 4 out of 5

    Mathew Shepherd

  19. 5 out of 5

    Scott Johnston

  20. 5 out of 5

    Carol

  21. 4 out of 5

    Peter

  22. 4 out of 5

    Neil Milton

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jeremy

  24. 4 out of 5

    Phil Rice

  25. 5 out of 5

    Max Shenk

  26. 5 out of 5

    Joshua

  27. 5 out of 5

    Mc

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jared Busch

  29. 4 out of 5

    Smith

  30. 5 out of 5

    M.

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