Music Jul 15, 2015 at 4:00 am

Even Though He Can't Really Sing Well Anymore, It Was a Triumph

Brian Wilson is seventy-three and guile-free.


As a long, long time fan of all things Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys I can honestly say that I have never read a more incisive review of one of Brian's performances, and I've seen at least a half dozen here in Seattle and L.A. since 1999; probably over sixty including the Beach Boys since 1972. While there is a certain sense of melancholy that affects my appreciation of his recent releases and concerts, you captured the essence of the man and his music in a beautiful way. As a side note, I just realized that I bought and thoroughly enjoyed your "American Romances" book back in 2009. Now it appears that I have some more of your work to catch up on. Well done Rebecca Brown and long live Brian Wilson!
Thank you Rebecca Brown - this is such an exceptional piece of work. I personally cannot hear "All Summer Long" and not feel like summer is coming to an end and I have to go back to school...and I am not going back to school, I instead go on a trip thinking about being a kid in the hot August sun.
As a lifelong Brian Wilson fan singing along with the music in Love and Mercy, I fervently thank you, Brian Wilson and Rebecca Brown for a fantastic review. Wonderful that fellow Beach Boy Al Jardine and his son, Matt, are among the maestro's band members. I grew up listening to the Beach Boys along with music from my older siblings' albums. Pet Sounds remains among my first prized albums of Brian's brilliantly composed works. I immediately got hooked by the bittersweet, haunting melodies and lyrics since my early childhood. I second Dan Klock (@1): Well done Rebecca Brown, and long live Brian Wilson!
I saw and loved the show, too, and am thankful to you for the set list (which I wanted to track, but couldn't focus on while still just enjoying the moments). I enjoyed your thoughts and writing, but I want to challenge you (me, us, society ...) on one aspect. Yes, part of what makes Brian Wilson a compelling character and artist is his seeming lack of guile, and yes, he and his work continue to strike a unique sweet chord. That you find that touching and acceptable, but have a need to contrast it with what you see as inappropriate cuteness and sexuality in Paul McCartney and Mick Jagger, though, causes me to question a lot about what you (and all of us as a larger society) accept and allow in the inevitable and universal process of aging. Brian Wilson seems to have had a vulnerability since childhood, but his current state of it also likely stems in part from drug abuse and mental illness. Paul McCartney and Mick Jagger made it through stardom in what appear to be healthier mental states. They are more "adult" adults than Brian Wilson in ways, yet you find their healthy expression of sexuality offensive (side note: Mick seems to have veered into sexism in his youth as part of that sexuality, and perhaps is still in that place, but that's another topic). My work and life have given me many opportunities to observe different stages of age, and if I've learned anything it is that there's really not all that much difference when it comes to love and joy and open expression and emotion (is that what you call "teenage-ness"?) between a 15 year old and a 45 year old and an 85 year old. Why should Paul and Mick not be allowed to express such things, to be cute or sexual, in their 70's? Why is that "embarrassing and gross"? It seems you are projecting the same kind of problematic limitation on these men that we see in the critiques of how Hollywood treats aging female actors. Is there a particular cut-off when we are all, men and women, to give these things up so as not to offend with our "grossness" by referencing/having/desiring emotions or connections that might overlap with romantic affection or sexuality? Will you let us know what that is so we can retreat to our nests of orthopedic shoes and Lawrence Welk re-runs lest we offend the children?

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