DVD: Brian Wilson: Songwriter 1962-1969
The first time one hears a Beach Boys song the density of sound is usually overshadowed by the poppy accessibility but the new documentary Brian Wilson: Songwriter 1962-1969 takes a detailed look at Wilson’s process, relationships, and the history of his prolific time throughout the 1960s. The genius of Brian Wilson’s music and arrangements is in its deceptively simple appearance and the 2 disk DVD set includes interviews with some of his fellow Beach Boys as well as the musicians that worked with him as part of The Wrecking Crew who watched Wilson progress from surf music to psychedelic symphony conductor.
The story of Brian Wilson’s musical voyage and later collapse before his recent comeback is as affecting as his music and looking at a breakdown of what Wilson was trying to do in the studio as well as the experimentation he was working on is truly fascinating. The film illuminates both the story of the music and the band who began in high school to become one of the most influential music groups of their time as well as a look at what was happening around them in America for context which helps underscore what was driving the creation of some of their classic albums such as Pet Sounds. The lines drawn between Phil Spector, Brian Wilson, and The Beatles are especially interesting and in the end it’s hard not to draw a connection with other masters of their medium such as Orson Welles who reached for the stars and burned out along the way.