Tuesday, February 20, 2007

217. The Beach Boys - Surf's Up (1971)

Track Listing

1. Don't Go Near The Water
2. Long Promised Road
3. Take A Load Off Your Feet
4. Disney Girls (1957)
5. Student Demonstration Time
6. Feel Flows
7. Lookin' At Tomorrow (A Welfare Song)
8. Day In The Life Of A Tree
9. Till I Die
10. Surf's Up


The great thing about doing this project are all the discoveries that you come across and this one definitely blew me away. From the cover you know this is not your typical Beach Boys album, then the first song is called Don't Go Near The Water... the Beach Boys warning us to stay away from the water? Indeed.

The album is beautiful, it is a level of beauty that very few other people have ever achieved, the arrangements are heavenly and the tracks are damned original. This sounds almost like an album which could have come out the last few years from the best indie band in the world. Some songs have a sillyness, like Take A Load Off Your Feet which almost sounds like Devendra Barnhart while others have a sweetness and beauty which is amazing, like Disney Girls. And then you have the tracks which are just heartachingly perfect, like the title song. If I could fault anything here it is the fact that Student Demonstration Time really breaks the mood coming right after the nostalgic heart-braking Disney Girls, still it is not a bad song.

I am really gushing here, this is one of the best albums I've ever heard, not just on this list but ever. In a Beach Boys context it even beats Pet Sounds in my opinion. And the strangest thing is i knew none of these tracks when I started hearing it. And now I am really sad to put it behind me. But I tell you it is going straight to my mp3 player... and I really don't want to let it go. Listen to it, you'll love it. Get it from Amazon UK or US.

Track Highlights

1. Surf's Up
2. Disney Girls
3. 'Til I Die
4. A Die In The Life Of A Tree

Final Grade



From Wikipedia:

The painting on the cover of this album is based on the sculpture 'The End of The Trail' by James Earle Fraser (1876 - 1953)

This lone figure on his weary horse is one of the most recognized symbols of the American West. By many it is viewed as a reverent memorial to a great and valiant people. To some Native Americans, however, it is viewed as a reminder of defeat and subjugation a century ago. The monumental, 18' plaster sculpture was created for San Francisco's 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition and received the exposition's Gold Medal for sculpture. The subject of immediate popular acclaim, the image was widely reproduced in postcard, print, curio and miniature form.

Although Fraser hoped his masterpiece would be cast in bronze and placed on Presidio Point overlooking San Francisco Bay, material restrictions during the First World War made the project impossible. Instead, in 1920, the city of Visalia, California, obtained the discarded statue and placed it in Mooney Park, where it remained, in a gradually deteriorating condition, for 48 years. In 1968, the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum acquired this original plaster statue, restored it to its original magnificence, and made it a focal point of the museum.

Brian Wilson does Surf's Up... it's better on the album, he's a bit out of it here:


Anonymous said...

Strange .... i know the album very well, but it is the first time I see this original cover ....

Where did you get it ?

Anonymous said...

We agree! 'tis indeed a stone-cold classic.

I only first heard this myself a couple ago and it deserves to be up there alongside Pet Sounds.

A pity "Holland" is not on the list...that one really divides opinion.

Francisco Silva said...

Anonymous: Well this is the cover of Surf's Up that's on the book and the cover the you get on the alternative pictures on Amazon.com. As the only version available on CD is the one where the album is mixed with Sunflower they dropped this very strange cover...I imagine they want to reach the lowest common denominator.

Ferg: Indeed, well I think the next Beach Boys related album on the list is Brain's SMiLE in 2004! So we have a long time to wait.

Anonymous said...

hi!guillermo from argentina again.i just finished my final , i hope i pass in a week i´ll have the grade.
so the beach boys, i don´t know i don´t like them very much.i´ll give tehm another shot with this album.
keep the great work!!
in the books section, there isn´t poetry and drama right??
sorry for the bad english.i hope you understand.
i study a few years only, so it´s not perfect

Francisco Silva said...

Guillermo: Hope you get a good grade :)

You eeally need to give this album a chance then... it's not typical Beach Boys.

The Books section is only "novels", even if some of the novels aren't very novely. Like Ovid's Metamorphoses is a poem and Jonathan Swift's Modest Proposal is an eight-page essay.

Your English is fine :) It's not my first language as well.

Unknown said...

so did you hear Sunflower too? - most think it's even better and I'm one of them though I don't think either are anywhere near as good as Pet Sounds