The Beach Boys - “You’re Still A Mystery”
From the album Made In California (2013)
……and, I’m back! Just wrapped up an intensive, 2+ month project at the office, won a campaign, and most important, managed to carve out time for a nap and some laundry. And now, it’s back to High Frequencies (the title that my brother hates, but…what can I do at this point?).
To celebrate my return, I’m posting a track from the recently released Beach Boys 50 year career retrospective, Made In California. The track, “You’re Still A Mystery,” is a song that came out of aborted sessions the band held in the mid-1990s, when I was a young’un in college, the Beatles Anthology was raking in millions for the Beatles, and there was a sense that some of the giant bands from the 1960s might still have some creative fire (and financial rewards awaitin’) burning. After years of basically being an oldies band - and a fractured one, at that - the Beach Boys were going to come together with the surviving members of the original line-up, write new songs, and mastermind Brian Wilson was going to oversee the whole thing. This was something to be excited about.
But the ever-volatile Beach Boys just couldn’t keep it together, and instead of creating a modern-day masterpiece, they just reworked some old hits with some country music stars and called it a day. Some songs from the earlier sessions did make their way onto bootlegs, though, and one of them - “You’re Still A Mystery" - showed what could have been. The song had such an interesting, disjointed structure and a melody line showed Brian Wilson (amazingly) still had flourishes of brilliance - and those glorious harmonies were part of the package. It’s still astounding to think that, at this late date, the band was capable of producing something that could easily sit alongside their classic material from 30 years prior.
Unfortunately, it was always frustrating listening to the bootleg of this song; partially because it was several generations removed from studio-quality, and partially because it came from an era when Brian Wilson’s lead vocals were particularly spotty. So I was quite pleased to see this released as one of the promised “rarities” on the boxed set. The sound quality is near-pristine, Wilson had obviously re-recorded his lead vocal at a later date (just when he did this is open to question, but it’s much, much smoother than the earlier bootleg versions), and the song itself is just fantastic. So I present this to the word of Tumblr to share the goodness, with the hopes that EMI doesn’t sue me….