Brian Wilson performed "Pet Sounds" with his band and the Boston Pops at Symphony Hall on Friday and Saturday. (Photo by Winslow Townson)

Brian Wilson performed “Pet Sounds” with his band and the Boston Pops at Symphony Hall on Friday and Saturday. (Photo by Winslow Townson)

The title of “greatest album ever”€ is obviously subjective. When someone says “greatest album ever,” what they usually mean is, “€œmy favorite album ever.”€ But there are some albums that are objectively in the conversation, because they are so widely regarded as great, innovative and/or influential by critics and other musicians, and because they appear at or near the top of one greatest albums list after another. The Beach Boys’€™ “Pet Sounds”€ is one of those albums.

“Pet Sounds”€ also happens to be one of my favorite albums ever, maybe my favorite depending on the day. I listen to it and just marvel at Brian Wilson’€™s arrangements and production, at the use of so many different and often unusual instruments, at the introspective lyrics that were so different than those on The Beach Boys’€™ early hits, and of course at the classic Beach Boys vocal harmonies.

On Saturday night, I got to watch Wilson perform “Pet Sounds”€ (along with 19 other Beach Boys or Wilson solo songs) backed by a 10-piece band and the Boston Pops at Symphony Hall. The 73-year-old Wilson’€™s voice isn’€™t what it once was, he needed help getting on and off stage, and he did more sitting at his piano than actually playing it.

Yet the music was still great. Wilson’€™s backing band is full of talented musicians who nailed not just the drum, guitar, bass and keyboard parts, but also most of the other cool instruments you hear throughout “Pet Sounds” (the train and barking dogs were left out, which I guess is understandable). Matt Jardine, son of original Beach Boy Al Jardine, was great as the falsetto vocalist, both in lead and backing capacity. And the Pops provided the full orchestral sound an album like “Pet Sounds”€ deserves while also adding a nice twist to earlier Beach Boys songs like “I Get Around.”

That “Pet Sounds”€ could still sound great despite Wilson not being what he once was as a musician shouldn’€™t be surprising. Wilson is a genius songwriter, arranger and producer, and part of his genius is that he allows others to thrive.

He had one of the best studio bands ever assembled at his disposal while recording “Pet Sounds”€, and he didn’€™t just boss them around. He listened to their feedback and suggestions and was willing to tweak his music. He sometimes liked their mistakes more than what he originally had, so he went with the “€œmistakes.”€ He gave the lead vocals on “€œGod Only Knows,”€ probably the best song he ever wrote, to his brother Carl because he thought Carl would do it better than he could (and he was right).

The musicians and singers are different, but Wilson is still doing that. He doesn’€™t try to sing notes he can’€™t sing anymore, because he has others (specifically Matt Jardine) who can do that instead. He doesn’€™t try to play anything complicated on piano, because he has better piano players in his band. Wilson wanted “Pet Sounds”€ to sound as good as it possibly could, and it’€™s clear that’€™s still the case. Wilson has always set the bar high for himself, and you get the sense that he wouldn’€™t tour “Pet Sounds” if the live performances weren’€™t going to clear that bar.

Wilson says this tour is the last time he’€™ll ever perform “Pet Sounds” live, and he seems like the kind of guy who sticks to his word. I feel fortunate that I got to see one of those performances. When you’€™re someone like me who’€™s 27 years old but whose favorite albums came out mostly in the ‘€˜60s and ‘€˜70s, you accept that you’€™re not going to have a chance to ever see too many of those albums performed live.

Performances of entire albums start to finish are rare enough anyways. Performances of albums that are 40-50 years old by the original artist (and let’€™s be clear- “Pet Sounds”€ is more of a Brian Wilson album than a Beach Boys album) are much rarer. So getting to see “Pet Sounds,” which turned 50 in May, performed live in 2016 and having it sound as true to the original as could possibly be expected is something special that I’€™ll never forget.

Blog Author: 
Scott McLaughlin

With Prince gone, Beck is the closest thing to him that we have left. Not many artists can pull off “whatever I feel like” as their primary genre, but, much like Prince did throughout his life, Beck has done so for decades.

On Saturday, “Odelay” turns 20 years old. Everyone has their favorite Beck album (“Midnite Vultures” for this weirdo), but “Odelay” is probably pound-for-pound his best. Imagine an album in which you can declare one of the most iconic rap songs and alternative songs at the same time (“Where It’€™s At”) the best song on the album, someone disagreeing and actually having an argument regardless of which other song they name. Candidates are littered throughout the album. This is Beck’€™s “The Stranger.” This is his “Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.”

To say that Beck had a prime would be a disservice to his longevity, but the mid-to-late 90s was of course the height of his popularity. What is inarguable is that these were the prime years of the Dust Brothers, who produced the album along with Beck.

Looking back on this album, I want to see how many better albums have a better opening riff than “Devils Haircut.” For now, enjoy the best performance ever of “Where It’€™s At.” Those suits.

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean

A running theme of Friday’€™s Dale & Holley with Jerry Thornton program was Nirvana vs. Pearl Jam. More specifically, it was “Nevermind” vs. “Ten.”

As of this writing, Ten was winning with 54 percent of the votes. That annoyed me, not because Nirvana is necessarily better (Pearl Jam almost shouldn’€™t even be compared to Nirvana because they’€™re such better songwriters* and musicians) but because there wasn’€™t a third album in this discussion.

I consider myself a lover of music, and definitely not a music snob. It’€™s hard to be a snob when A. You know full well that you suck at music and B. You can honestly say that it’€™s rare that you hear music you don’€™t enjoy. I try not to look down on certain artists, but the way the glory gets divvied up with aging and/or retired acts can get under my skin. Nirvana’€™s legacy is perhaps Exhibit A.

Nirvana was influenced strongly by the Pixies, and there’€™s nothing wrong with that. Good music informs other good music, as it has forever, which is why Marvin Gaye’€™s family can get right out of town for the way they handled the “Blurred Lines” ordeal.

Yet it seems that Nirvana gets all the credit that the Pixies should be getting years later for the hand they played in alternative and grunge music. Here’€™s Kurt Cobain explaining how he wrote Smells Like Teen Spirit back in 1994 to Rolling Stone:

“I was trying to write the ultimate pop song. I was basically trying to rip off the Pixies. I have to admit it. When I heard the Pixies for the first time, I connected with that band so heavily that I should have been in that band’€”or at least a Pixies cover band. We used their sense of dynamics, being soft and quiet and then loud and hard.”

Nirvana took what the Pixies were doing and kept the train rolling, taking the Pixies’€™ affinity for loud guitars with pop sensibilities and a whole lot of screaming to an audience greater than the burgeoning subgenre had ever known. Yet much like you probably can’€™t talk about the greatness of Family Guy without at least bringing up The Simpsons, you probably shouldn’€™t talk about Nirvana without at least mentioning the Pixies.

So, Nevermind or Ten? Doolittle, yabish.

*No, Dave Grohl doesn’€™t really count as a songwriter for Nirvana here because he didn’€™t write for Nevermind and didn’€™t get involved as a songwriter at all for the band until later in their tenure.

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean
The 9am hour of D&C Friday is spent mostly on how to deal with the radical Islamic terrorist threat in the US. The guys also discuss the OJ Simpson documentary and how it is underwhelming their expectations.
Dino and Gerry (and a little Kirk) talk US Open with pro golfer and FS1 analyst Brad Faxon live from Oakmont and the US Open.
Kirk Minihane is back for Headlines and is upset he missed the Thursday edition so he doubles up on the PornHub acoustic channel.

[0:03:49] ... any guy who doesn't doesn't like it has used it seems impossible Larry Johnson. That you believe that yes really yeah. I don't tonight I hope she on Paul's them. Obama not reached. I told her ...

After Kirk bashes the D&C Thursday Breaking Balls Podcast with Gerry & Dino, the guys move on to the text messages discovered between the Orlando killer and his wife during the killing.
Kirk and Dino are taking the Cavs in Game 7, but Gerry is sticking with Golden State. How dramatically will LeBron's legacy change if he leads the Cavs back from down 3-1?

You know Jimmy O. Yang as Jian Yang, the hilarious and useless housemate of the Pied Piper crew in HBO’€™s Silicon Valley. Soon enough, however, the Chinese comedian will be seen in a vastly different light.

Appearing on this week’€™s episode of Yang discussed the role that he’€™ll play in Patriots Day, Mark Wahlberg’€™s film about the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings.

Yang plays Dun Meng, the man whom Tamerlan Tsarnaev carjacked and kidnapped after killing MIT Police Officer Sean Collier. After they picked up Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, Dun Meng escaped while the brothers were refueling his Mercedes at the Shell station on Memorial Drive. His efforts in running to the gas station across the street and having the manager call 911 helped lead to the eventual shootout in Watertown later that night.

“I think I’€™m pretty happy with what I did in the movie,”€ Yang said. “œPeter Berg’€™s a great director and it’€™s all people that I’€™ve looked up to. The cast is amazing.”

Listen to the interview below. It starts at 32:45.

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean

Massive shouts to TRONICBOX, a YouTube user who uploaded a reimagining of Justin Bieber’€™s modern-day classic “What Do You Mean?”€ as an 80s song.

The best part of this is that when you hear “reimagined as an 80s song”€ you assume it’€™s going to sound like A-ha. Nope. This wonderful genius’€™ idea of ‘€œ80s reimagining’€ is David Foster-era Chicago. Exceptional.

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean