Inside the Music of Brian Wilson

Sorry it’s been so quiet around here. Normal service will be resumed shortly.

In the meantime, a few of you might be interested in our recently published book Inside the Music of Brian Wilson, by Philip Lambert. It’s already been reviewed in the LA Times, the London Times, Mojo, Popmatters, and the New York Post – with most of the reviews saying the same thing: while it’s not exactly a beach read (cheers!), it does contain an extraordinary amount of information and musicological insight. If you’re looking for a bright and breezy biography, look elsewhere, but if you’re in the mood for tackling an in-depth study of one man’s musical odyssey, you might love this book. Here’s an extract from Quentin Rowan’s review in Sunday’s New York Post:


Using charts, graphs, listings of chord patterns and radio hits from 1952 to 1961, the author leaves nothing to the imagination in his attempt to document exactly what was passing through young Wilson’s ears and how he capitalized on what he heard.

Lambert himself is a professor of music theory, and at times, although enlightening, his prose borders on being for music scholars alone. Even explaining how Wilson changed from the pudgy kid who stayed up late listening to R&B on Mike Love’s transistor radio to the guy who recorded albums called “Party!” and “Summer Days (and Summer Nights)” in a striped shirt with a surfboard under his arm proved difficult.

This is, of course, the perennial problem of many biographies. No matter how close we get, we just can’t see inside the artist’s head. This seems even more pronounced in Brian Wilson’s case because he’s so often spoken about in an odd reverence. The G-word is frequently used, which is odd in relation to songs so commercial in style and content.

Then, of course, came “Pet Sounds.” Wilson’s masterpiece is its own compound of pop, classical, jazz, folk, and film score. It’s often hard to tell what instruments are being played at any one time – the vocal might be accompanied by a French horn, an accordion, a clarinet, flute or oboe; percussion might take the form of chimes, kettle drums, finger cymbals, a bicycle bell, or a plastic Coke bottle.

But as Lambert makes brilliantly clear, despite the high level of experimentation, there isn’t anything on “Pet Sounds” that sounds like it’s been left to chance – each cluster of music seems designed to convey a distinct emotional nuance. It’s hard to think of another record that has that anatomized feeling with such intricacy and precision. And it’s hard to think of another book about Brian Wilson that’s anatomized his music to such relentless depths.


2 thoughts on “Inside the Music of Brian Wilson”

  1. runescape money runescape gold runescape money runescape gold wow power leveling wow powerleveling Warcraft Power Leveling Warcraft PowerLeveling buy runescape gold buy runescape money runescape items runescape gold runescape money runescape accounts runescape gp dofus kamas buy dofus kamas Guild Wars Gold buy Guild Wars Gold lotro gold buy lotro gold lotro gold buy lotro gold lotro gold buy lotro goldrunescape money runescape power leveling runescape money runescape gold dofus kamas cheap runescape money cheap runescape gold Hellgate Palladium Hellgate London Palladium Hellgate money Tabula Rasa gold tabula rasa money Tabula Rasa Credit Tabula Rasa Credits Hellgate gold Hellgate London gold wow power leveling wow powerleveling Warcraft PowerLeveling Warcraft Power Leveling World of Warcraft PowerLeveling World of Warcraft Power Leveling runescape power leveling runescape powerleveling eve isk eve online isk eve isk eve online isk 血管瘤 肝血管瘤 音乐剧 北京富码电视 富码电视 富码电视台 7天酒店 7天连锁酒店 7天连锁 自清洗过滤器 过滤器 压力开关 压力传感器 流量开关 流量计 液位计 液位开关 温湿度记录仪 风速仪 可燃气体检测仪

  2. Since Wayne Coyne interviewed Brian a while back, I’ll ask: Has 33 1/3 considered publishing a book on “The Soft Bulletin” by the Flaming Lips? Thanks. I love the series.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top