|300 words or less.
||[Nov. 30th, 2009|08:51 pm]
Little abstract to PopCanz conference in Sydney next year. Doubt I will have much luck getting in but we will see...
Won’t Be Long Till Summer Time is Through; The Beach Boys’ Music and the California Myth.
Few other pop groups have an association with a particular location as strong as the Beach Boys’ association with Southern California. The term “California Myth” has been used to describe the fantasy of Californian culture - the sun, surf, cars, girls and endless summer - portrayed in the Beach Boys’ music from 1962-65. This association with the California Myth is explicit in the band’s name, album artwork, clothing, and, of course, the sound of their music. This paper will be a textual analysis of songs from the Beach Boys’ repertoire, exploring the musical attributes, production techniques, and lyrical themes in the Beach Boys’ music which shaped, and were shaped by, the California Myth.
This myth manifests itself in the Beach Boys’ music in three major ways. Firstly, it is evoked by musical attributes such as fast-paced tempos, major keys, specific chordal progressions, complex instrumental arrangements, and musical structures. Secondly, it is evoked by the Beach Boys’ use of particular production techniques, such as the use of triple-tracked vocal harmonies and saturated reverb. Thirdly, the connection between the Beach Boys’ lyrical themes and the California Myth is obvious in almost every song during the 1962-65 period (e.g., “California Girls”, “All Summer Long”, and “Fun Fun Fun”).
Brian Wilson’s deliberate use of particular musical attributes, production techniques and lyrical themes - integral to the Beach Boys’ sound – expressed this commonly perceived notion of Californian culture despite his personal reluctance to engage with it. Through a study of these elements of the Beach Boys’ sound, the complicated relationship of their music to Southern California can be understood.