Notes on Popular Culture: The Pop Song Pantheon #8

Posted by Michael Borshuk On 1:33 PM
The Pop Song Pantheon, Vol. 8


"Wouldn't It Be Nice" by The Beach Boys (1966)

Never mind that it's the opening track on an LP that changed the face of popular music ("Without Pet Sounds, there's no Sgt. Pepper, and with no Sgt. Pepper there's no...etc"), and that it's a model of mid-1960s production ("Oh, how that first big drum hit always gives me chills...etc."). This one belongs on my playlist-for-the-ages because it's the perfect example of Brian Wilson's singular genius at crafting songs from a fourteen or sixteen year-old's narrative view point, but that speak somehow to listeners well beyond that demographic. The simplicity of the speaker's wish (that it would be nice to be old enough to live together with his girlfriend and not have to part ways when darkness falls) is rendered musically in a way that becomes, well, appropriately pangy in any context. It's about longing, or wanting to be somewhere else, or something else, and it's dreamily executed, as all of The Beach Boys' best work is.


0 Responses to 'Notes on Popular Culture: The Pop Song Pantheon #8'

About Me

My photo
MICHAEL BORSHUK is Associate Professor of African American Literature at Texas Tech University. He is the author of SWINGING THE VERNACULAR: JAZZ AND AFRICAN AMERICAN MODERNIST LITERATURE (Routledge, 2006), and numerous essays, reviews, and encyclopedia entries on African American literature, American modernism, and music. For ten years, from 1999 to 2009, he wrote on jazz regularly for CODA MAGAZINE. His fiction has appeared in ANTIGONISH REVIEW, DALHOUSIE REVIEW, ELYSIAN FIELDS QUARTERLY, SHORT STORY, and 34TH PARALLEL.

Currently Reading

Michael is currently reading...



More of Michael's books »
Michael Borshuk's currently-reading book recommendations, reviews, favorite quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists

What I've Been Watching

What I've Been Watching
Check out my Letterboxd profile to see what I've been watching.

Categories:

a bout de souffle (1) adam bradley (1) adam yauch (1) advertising (1) albert camus (1) alex rodriguez (1) alfred tennyson (1) american literature (2) amiri baraka (1) amy lowell (1) andrew hacker (1) anne sexton (1) annie ross (1) annoyances (1) arithmetic (1) art (2) barack obama (1) bargain vinyl (1) barney kessel (1) bart giamatti (1) baseball (12) batman (1) beastie boys (1) ben shahn (1) bill berkson (1) billy collins (1) blue note records (1) bob dylan (1) bob hoskins (1) bob rafaelson (1) bob seger (1) books (1) breathless (1) bruce dern (1) bruce springsteen (1) bruce wayne (1) cannonball adderley (1) captain haddock (1) carroll john daly (1) cd reviews (1) charles baudelaire (1) charlie parker (1) clarence beeks (1) claudia dreifus (1) clint eastwood (1) computers (1) culture club (1) dalai lama (1) denzel washington (1) design (4) detroit tigers (7) django unchained (1) documentary (1) dogs (1) don delillo (1) donald fagen (1) donald hall (1) dr. john (1) dr. wu (1) duke ellington (1) edgar allan poe (1) education (2) ee cummings (1) elizabeth bishop (1) elliott randall (1) elvis costello (1) emily dickinson (1) ernest lawrence thayer (1) esquire magazine (1) fiction (4) film (8) fiona apple (1) francis ford coppola (1) frank o'hara (1) fyodor dostoevsky (1) george lois (1) georgia douglas johnson (1) gnarls barkley (1) grandmaster flash (2) helen mirren (1) hip hop (3) international jazz day (1) j peterman (1) jack nicholson (1) jacques tati (1) james carter (1) jazz (10) jean-luc godard (1) jean-michel basquiat (1) jean-paul belmondo (1) jesse jackson (1) jimi hendrix (1) joe cocker (1) john carlos (1) john coltrane (1) john ditsky (1) john hartigan (1) john keats (2) john lennon (1) john updike (1) justin verlander (1) ken burns (1) king of marvin gardens (1) king pleasure (1) lebron james (1) literature (38) loic rohmer (1) loic romer (1) lord byron (1) lubbock (1) marc bolan (1) mark williams (1) michael mcdonald (1) michael ondaatje (1) michael s. harper (1) michelangelo antonioni (1) miguel cabrera (1) miles davis (2) mina loy (1) mo' better blues (1) movie posters (1) muhammad ali (2) mvp (1) national poetry month (30) netflix (3) new jazz archive (1) new york yankees (1) newt gingrich (1) night moves (1) otto preminger (1) p.k. page (1) pantheon (17) paul blackburn (1) paul mccartney (1) paul simon (1) personal (32) philip levine (1) pierce brosnan (1) pipe smokers (6) podcast (1) poetry (35) politics (7) popular music (24) prince (1) public enemy (1) public radio (1) quentin tarantino (1) quotations (21) rabbit is rich (1) race (4) radiant child (1) ralph ellison (2) ray charles (1) raymond chandler (1) reading (1) reid miles (1) richard wilbur (1) richard wright (1) rick santorum (2) robert hass (1) robert lowell (1) robert moskowitz (1) robert oppenheimer (1) russell edson (1) sanjoy mahajan (1) saul bass (3) simon and garfunkel (1) sly and the family stone (1) smokey robinson (1) sonny rollins (2) soundtrack (12) sparky anderson (1) spike lee (2) st. paul (1) stanislaw lem (1) steely dan (13) stuart hall (1) stuff i want (1) suso cecchi d'amico (1) swinging the vernacular (1) t.rex (1) t.s. eliot (1) talking heads (1) teaching (2) terrance hayes (1) texas tech (3) the bad plus (1) the beach boys (1) the beatles (1) the bee gees (1) the bird and the bee (1) the doobie brothers (1) the meters (1) the new yorker (1) thelonious monk (2) theodore roethke (1) things i will never do (1) tintin (1) traffic (1) vampire weekend (1) vladimir nabokov (1) whimsies (47) white noise (1) william carlos williams (1) william stafford (1) windsor (1) wish list (4) woody allen (1) writing (6) wynton marsalis (1) yusef komunyakaa (2)