Wednesday, 8 November 2006

Disney Girls

Filed under: Music — Michael @ 0:02

On a recent getaway to Copenhagen, blackcat and I were out strolling, taking in the city (looking for a restaurant we’d eaten at before and enjoyed, actually), and passed by a used record shop. We were a few steps past it when something I had seen in the shop window registered. “Was that what I think it was?”, I said out load and turned back. Sure enough, it was a copy of “Surf’s Up” from the Beach Boys. That was once a favorite record of mine and I hadn’t heard it in years. Since at least as far back as Oct. 17, 1989 at 5:04pm. That was when my HiFi system was trashed by an earthquake. (We used to live in California, you see.) I didn’t replace the turntable and sold all my records.
Anyway, after blackcat listened to me going on for a couple of minutes about how great “Surf’s Up” is she said “just buy it” and so I did. I recorded it to CD (how is covered in another post) and have listened to it at least a half a dozen times in the last week.
So, after all those years, is it still as good as I remember. In a word, yes.
The track “Disney Girls (1957)” is brilliant. It was and still is my favorite track on the album. This is a very dark song, almost creepy. “For reality is not for me and it makes me laugh”. This is a ballad about image versus reality which itself has a real split-personality. Beautiful, almost sugary melody with those creepy lyrics. This song captures the culture so well. It plays with disheartening relevance today. These guys are (were) just a few years older than I and grew up in more-or-less the same generation as I did. The Hollywood movies of the ’50s and ’60s fed us their Technicolor vision of a life that we were led to yearn for but simply wasn’t true. “Patti Page and summer days on old Cape Cod…Fantasy world and Disney girls I’m coming back.”
A much different mood in “Take a Load off Your Feet”. This is a fun song. If there is a deep meaning, I’ve missed it. But then again that line “Take good care of yourself ’cause nobody else will” is a bit odd.
To the tune of “Riot in Cell Block No. 9” there’s “It’s Student Demonstration Time”. Listen to the lyrics. They really are pretty powerful. “The pen is mightier than the sword but it’s no match for a gun.”
And the Beach Boys also get in a couple of environmental messages with “Don’t Go Near the Water” and “Life of a Tree”. The former is pretty good. The latter is, well, kinda silly.
The title song and the one just before, “‘Til I Die” are both very sophisticated and very beautiful ballads. “Surf’s Up” is musically the better of the two, “‘Til I Die” lyrically.
One track, “Feel Flows”, sounds good but never really moved me. Ho hum.
It was great hearing this album again. If you only know the Beach Boys from their surfin’ music, this will surprise you. Good stuff even if a bit uneven.
— Michael

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