.
http://assets-s3.rollingstone.com/assets/images/album_review/a6530670c3062415fae49660f8ec3218732dc77a.jpg Brian Wilson Reimagines Gershwin

Brian Wilson

Brian Wilson Reimagines Gershwin

Disney Pearl
Rolling Stone: star rating
Community: star rating
5 3.5 0
August 16, 2010

Brian Wilson has more than a few things in common with George Gershwin. Both led wildly successful musical partnerships with their brothers. Both combined pop-song punch with harmonic sophistication worthy of the European classical tradition. Both blazed early then flamed out: Gershwin died of a brain tumor at age 38; drugs and mental illness sent Wilson into seclusion in the late 1960s. And, oh, yeah, both are certifiable geniuses, two of the greatest masters of melody that popular music has known.

In recent years, rockers of a certain age have struck commercial pay dirt by serving up embarrassingly stiff big-band versions of popular standards. (We're looking at you, Rod Stewart.) Wilson's project is more cavalier — and far more successful. He turns "Summertime" into a doo-wop ballad, tricks out "They Can't Take That Away From Me" with brass and lush harmonies, and teleports "Someone to Watch Over Me" from Broadway to sun-splashed California. The result is Porgy and Bess-meets-Pet Sounds: lovely, weird, subtly psychedelic symphonic lounge music. By the time the album ends with a gorgeous, string-laden rendition of the main theme from "Rhapsody in Blue," you can't help but ask: Is Brian Wilson the baby-boomer George Gershwin? Or was Gershwin the first Beach Boy?

prev
Album Review Main Next

ADD A COMMENT

Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...

COMMENTS

Sort by:
    Read More
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.

    X

    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories

    “Money For Nothing”

    Dire Straits | 1984

    Mark Knopfler wrote this song with Sting, and it wasn’t without controversy. The Dire Straits frontman's original lyric used the word “faggot” to describe a singer who got their “money for nothing and their chicks for free.” Even though the slur was edited out in many versions, the band, and Knopfler, still took plenty of criticism for the term. “I got an objection from the editor of a gay newspaper in London--he actually said it was below the belt,” Knopfler told Rolling Stone. Still, "Money For Nothing," undoubtedly augmented by its innovative early computer-animated video, stayed at Number One for three weeks.

    More Song Stories entries »
    www.expandtheroom.com