Understanding Rock: Essays in Musical Analysis

By John Covach; Graeme M. Boone | Go to book overview

2 After Sundown The Beach Boys' Experimental Music

DANIEL HARRISON

Sometimes it happens in this crazy world that the cartoon becomes great art, the self-indulgent reveals generosity, the absurd comes to contain meaning, the silly shows profundity. Sometimes drinking songs end up as national anthems, young shepherds defeat giant warriors, and Hollywood personalities become leaders of the free world.

Sometimes raucous singing at an innocent party shows a keen artistic consciousness, and inscrutable, off-the-wall songs that fail as rock music succeed as chic, minimalist art music. Sometimes musicians who gain fame hymning to surfboards and hot rods, who record not in stereophonic splendor but in monophonic modesty-- sometimes such a group succeeds in honing for a little while an edge that cuts open convention, prunes away proprieties, and clears the way for a music that both taps your foot and feeds your head.


1

Those who have only a top-forty acquaintance with the music of the Beach Boys might have smiled their way through the opening paragraphs of this piece. Surely, the Beach Boys as art rockers is a ridiculous proposition. Summertime is hardly the season of quiet contemplation, as the beach is conducive more to the sweating of

-33-

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Understanding Rock: Essays in Musical Analysis
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface v
  • Notes ix
  • Notes xi
  • Contents xv
  • Contributors xvii
  • 1: Progressive Rock, "Close to the Edge," and the Boundaries of Style 3
  • Notes 25
  • 2: After Sundown the Beach Boys' Experimental Music 33
  • Notes 54
  • Notes 59
  • Notes 89
  • Notes 111
  • 5: Swallowed by A Song Paul Simon's Crisis of Chromaticism 113
  • 6 155
  • Notes 166
  • Notes 171
  • Notes 206
  • Index 211
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