15 Big Ones (1976) Mar 17, 2019 14:37:56 GMT
Post by Kapitan on Mar 17, 2019 14:37:56 GMT
I hated this album when I first heard it, which would have been the very early '00s. I was chasing for remnants and clues of Smile, making this very much not the object of my desire. (Conversely, I loved its twofer buddy, Love You initially out of sheer shock value. I was an asshole at the time, delighted by tragedies like sick Brian, among others. People love romanticizing train wrecks. It's unfortunate.)
But over the years I like it more and more. Not the covers: I think they're almost exclusively bad decisions executed badly. Not the singing: it's horrible. But the arrangements, in particular, are really pretty good throughout. They may not sound quite so sweet as the organic instruments of the '60s, and there is a whole other approach that's heavier on interweaving, individually uninteresting and repetitive elements coalescing into something that can surprise you. (Like a primer for "Ding Dang.")
Some of the corny things--"Rock and Roll Music" and "It's OK," for example--actually don't bother me in the slightest. "Back Home" has always been a favorite of mine, vocal croak and all. "Susie Cincinnati" may sound out of place, but it's still a perfectly fine song; it isn't responsible for its makers having held it off an album for half a decade. And for its vocal shortcomings, "Just Once In My Life" can affect me from time to time.
It's in the bottom half of Beach Boys albums, sure. But it's not close to the true bottom.