Hang On To Your Ego

I have now consistently blogged everyday for the past two weeks.  I am pretty happy about this.  I hope I continue to be this committed.

Just recently I’ve really gotten into The Beach Boys’ 1966 album Pet Sounds.  A few years ago, I had listened to it, and really tried to like it.  But, for whatever reason, it just wasn’t right for me at the time.  I know for some people, that will sound almost sacrilegious, but I’ve never been known to have great taste in music.  Then, over the winter break between fall and spring semester, I went to Daniel’s house for a few weeks.  One night we ended up watching The Beach Boys: An American Family.  I guess it had originally aired on ABC in 2000 as a two-part movie.  I should make this clear, for those who are unfamiliar with this “film”, that it was a dramatization and not a documentary.  Apparently, ABC couldn’t even get licensing to play some of the music they showed, so this music “was filled in for with sound-alikes”, as Wikipedia puts it.

I realized almost every time I got into my car to drive to work that I was hoping the radio would play some Beach Boys.  Specifically, I was hoping to hear “God Only Knows” and “Sloop John B”.  Daniel and I listen to this local radio station called Legends 102.7.  It’s a really awful station that is obviously targeted towards boring Republicans the older generation.  But they play a lot of Motown, which is how Daniel originally discovered the station.  Unfortunately, they also play way too much Frank Sinatra.  The DJs are pretty terrible, but we both like the meteorologist.  Anyway, I decided it was time to just obtain the album for myself, since that’s all that I really want to listen to lately.  So Daniel gave me a copy and I’ve been listening to it non-stop for the past two days.

The album itself is pretty weird.  If you listen to the album, you can hear bicycle bells, barking dogs, a French horn, an accordion, a mandolin, Coca-Cola cans as percussion, etc.  Amazingly, it all just works.  Brian Wilson was a crazy guy with a history of abuse and drug addiction.  That was one aspect of the aforementioned movie that I think they portrayed pretty well.  The copy of the album that I have is a reissue, which included the original recording of “I Know There’s An Answer”, which was actually titled “Hang On To Your Ego”.  It was re-written after concern and controversy regarding possible references to LSD.  In the final song (“I Know There’s An Answer”), all of the music and lyrics have been kept the same except for the chorus.  The greatest thing about the “Hang On To Your Ego” recording, though, is at the very end, after the music has stopped.  Daniel pointed out to me that you can hear Brian Wilson asking someone in the studio if it would be okay for them to bring in a horse.  He says “Hey Chuck, is it possible we can bring a horse in here without, if we don’t screw anything up?”  To which Chuck (Britz?) replies “I beg your pardon?”  Brian clarifies, saying, “Honest to God, the horse is tame (or trained?) and everything.”  I think he might have wanted a horse for one of a two reasons.  First, the album is titled Pet Sounds and uses various animal sounds in the recordings.  Maybe he just wanted a good whinny.  The other reason he may have wanted a horse in the studio was for the song “God Only Knows”, which features sleigh bells and sounds similar to the clop-clop of a horse’s hooves as part of the percussion.

Overall, it’s a fantastic, musically interesting album that I waited far too long to get my hands on.

And now for the Entirely Unrelated Pictures of the Day:


There is a car under there.

This was taken in the Bridge Lounge of Wilson Commons.

Rush Rhees, as seen from inside Wilson Commons.


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