Wouldn’t it be nice.
There are massive gaps in my knowledge of popular music. I only really listened to The Beatles once I graduated college (and then, only sparingly), I can barely recognize iconic bands like Pink Floyd, The Who, The Eagles, or the Doors, and I only know The Beach Boys because they were on a compilation CD of hits from the ’60s that I once bought for my dad.
I’m not proud of this lack of knowledge, but I know it comes from a lack of exposure: my childhood was filled with the sounds of soul, funk, and Motown, and my youth was scored with ’90s hip-hop and R&B. Other music came and went, but those songs filled my days, my memory, my history.
Thanks to Spotify, I have recently begun exploring the oeuvre of The Beach Boys. Mr. Tony speaks highly of them on his show, and the recent Brian Wilson biopic made me curious to learn more about the band and their virtuosity.
Everything I am listening to is remarkable. The sounds are unique, and the vocals are rich and textured. I knew they were special, but I didn’t realize just how impressive those vocals were until I came across this video (thanks, Ilan!) of the isolated vocal track from the song “Wouldn’t It Be Nice.” Seriously, listen to this:
Even though I’ve been singing in choirs and a cappella groups for almost thirty years now, I’ve never really had a great voice or an aptitude for carrying a tune. What I was good at—at least, what my conductors would tell me—was being able to find a harmony, to sing along with others and make them sound better.
Only in my dreams can I harmonize like The Beach Boys do in their songs.
There’s a certain charm in coming to something late, to discovering something wonderful decades after everyone has already relished in its marvel. In a world that’s in a rush to always be first, there’s something lovely about being last, about being able to take time to appreciate something slowly and deliberately, with nobody waiting to hear your opinion.
That’s what I’m doing now with The Beach Boys, but it’s what I hope to do more of, with so many things, as the years go on. There is so much beauty out there—it may be old hat to so many of you, but it’s a world of exploration for me, and I’m so excited to go on voyages of discovery.