Alan Segal

Alan Segal is a Reader contributor. See staff page for published articles.

Brian Wilson Reimagines Gershwin

Well mitchinam, you are right in one respect how one reacts to music just like visual art is truly subjective. But when you try to "reimagine" Classic songs that have become American standards and turn their poingant lyrics into Beachboys sounding drivel, you've commited a crime not a new creation. What if cartoon artist RJ Crumb re-imagined the Mona Lisa or some French impressionist paintings, would you call that "delicious"? I've been a fan of Wilson for a long time. But his voice is gone, and even auto tune, and studio wizardry can't make his version of "I loves You Porgy", listenable. You need to go back and listen to some of the great artist and singers of the past Ella, Frank,tony Bennet, etc. singing and interpreting the Gershwins. Then listen to Brian torturing these glorius melodies and lyrics. I'll take the United Airlines TV commercial, version of "Rhapsody in Blue" any day over Brian's stacked and over dubbed, familar vocal harmonies, replacing the instruments. But I think it's more an age thing, especially with the critics you mention who liked this CD. I did read one positive review of this CD in "Rolling Stone" and it sounded like the reviewer, probably a 20 or 30 something had never heard the Gershwin standards and to him even Brian Wilson represented music from the distant past. So if you hear Gershwin for the the first time from Brian and have no Sinatra or Fitzgerald, or even a contemporary such as Michael Buble, renderings to compare Mr Wilson to, the CD is going to sound good, which is the magic of the Gershwin's art whoever practices it. But you can be sure jann Wenner, who is now close to 70, and heard the good stuff for his first exposure to the Gershwins, would not agree with his employee. I did listen to it a second time as you suggested, and it was worse.
— September 27, 2010 11:43 a.m.

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