Originally published in TMN on June 1, 2012
To celebrate the release of The Beach Boys’ first proper studio album in twenty years, That’s Why God Made The Radio, we have compiled the five most unintentionally hilarious songs from the band’s otherwise impressive back catalogue.
Match Point Of Our Love (1977)
The dissolution of a relationship can be a devastating event; heartbreak has inspired some of the best art ever created. Sometimes, however, it can just inspire a whole mess of tennis metaphors…
Best lyrics: Early in the game when you broke me, just like a serve/ We should have walked off the court/ But we both didn’t have the nerve/ So we volleyed a while with small talk.
Take A Load Off Your Feet (1971)
Unlike the beautiful The Weight, which is about being able to unload and therefore share a burden, this track from the patchy but brilliantSurf’s Up record is literally about foot pain.
Best lyrics: I do them when I’m down in the tub/ With avocado cream they’ll take a rub/ They wrinkle like a-raisins if I stay too long/ I wouldn’t want to do it wrong.
Student Demonstration Time (1971)
Another clanger from Surf’s Up– this song sees The Beach Boys get political, and of course the perennially ham-fisted Mike Love leads the charge, offering up a slice of real life – then cramming it down your throat with some of the worst wordplay since those puns in the Bible.
Best lyrics: They said the students scared the guard/ Though the troops were battle dressed/ Four martyrs earned a new degree/ The Bachelor of Bullets.
A Day In The Life Of A Tree (1971)
I love Brian Wilson, so I prefer to think that he was going through some old boxes in his mother’s attic and found this poem he wrote when he was 12, and though it’d be a cute experiment to put it to music. That explains this cloying, embarrassing mess nicely. Or Mike Love wrote it. Yeah, actually, let’s say that happened.
Best line: Trees like me weren’t meant to live/ If all this earth can give is pollution.
Johnny Carson (1977)
You know that inspiration may be running a little low when you turn to a talk show host. Although, that’s unfair: one of Radiohead’s best songs tackles the subject (kinda, sorta), and John Lennon wrote the marvellous Good Morning, Good Morning after being inspired by a Kellogs ad – television isn’t the devil here. Rather than this being a witty fantastical scenario involving Carson, or a wry satire on talk shows in general, it’s basically a blow-by-blow shopping list-style account of what happens on the show. With every boring detail left in.
Best lyrics: He sits behind his microphone: Johnny Carson/ He speaks in such a manly tone: Johnny Carson/ Ed McMahon comes on and says “Here’s Johnny”/ Every night at eleven thirty he’s so funny.
…And two horrifying ones
“Forever is regarded as one of the finest and most tender songs in our canon. It’s certainly the greatest songwriting and vocal performance from my late cousin Dennis, but you know what would be a gas? How about we get TV’s John Stamos to re-record the vocal, get some session guys to drench it in tasteless guitar noodling, and re-release it?!” – something Mike Love no doubt suggested in the studio. Then they went and did it!
Never Learn Not To Love (1968)
This song is amazing. It’s dark, ominous, unsettling and… oh right, it was co-written with Charles Manson, he of all the helter-skeltering and creepy-crawling… “Submission is a gift given to another.” Back away now.