David Fleming
It's All Academic   www.davidflemingsite.com   
Day 168: The Beach Boys (I Just Wasn't Made For These Times)

July 27, 2022

Dear Brian Wilson,

First off, I must admit I was never a huge Beach Boys' fan. I had a greatest hits compilation and certainly loved "Good Vibrations," "Wouldn't It Be Nice," "Help Me, Rhonda" and "God Only Knows" for the brilliance that they are. However, I was content to look elsewhere as opposed to deeper into your catalog.

Then, my wife saw Love And Mercy and everything changed around here. It wasn't long before we bought Pet Sounds, your solo albums, your memoir, and a Beach Boys' concert on DVD. (What can I say? When my wife goes in, she goes in big.  Put yourself in some fine company with the Russian Revolution, female spies, and a relatively obscure chemist named Neil Gordon.)

So, for awhile now, I have heard Pet Sounds' "I Just Wasn't Made For These Times" as an autobiographical slice of time in your life, a mournful (in every great sense of the word, given the key of the song) insight into the demons of your creativity. The song is sometimes disturbingly beautiful, other times beautifully disturbing.

However, it is no longer 1966. It is 2022. I hope you still occasionally watch the news. I believe you might find a cult forming around this song, a group of us feeling like we weren't made for these times. Political divisions, Constitutional crises, literal and figurative epidemics, some of us seek isolation among the like-minded. We hope there are many of us, but we can't easily find each other in the noise.

If you thought you weren't made for the mid-1960s, how the heck are you surviving now? If you have spent much of the late 1960s and 1970s hiding in various secluded places, where are you now as the storm breaks?

Have you found anybody that you won't leave behind? Anyone that might have helped you discover places where new things may be found?

"Sometimes I feel very sad," you sang, in all multi-layered gorgeousness, in 1966. Is the only difference today that you wouldn't use the qualifier?

Your use of the Electro-Theremin on Pet Sounds projected an eerie science-fiction future, but 56 years later, it can't begin to capture the fiction of science today or the facts of our future. Trust me, there are no good vibrations in 2022. What sounds are in your head these days? Can you let a few of us in? I promise "no fair weather friends [ready to] cop out."

If you have a bunker and let us in, I'll make sure Mike Love won't get in. As for my wife, she'll give you your space. Just don't get her started about Neil Gordon's suicide.

The Beach Boys. "I Just Wasn't Made For These Times." Pet Sounds. Capitol, 1966.  Link here.

Day 167: Richard Hell & The Voidoids "Blank Generation"

Day 169: Paul Simon "Diamonds On The Soles Of Her Shoes"

See complete list here.