Isolated Vocals The Beach Boys' 'God Only Knows'
(Credit: Capitol Records)

Brian Wilson’s isolated vocal on The Beach Boys’ ‘I Just Wasn’t Made For These Times’ is beautiful

As the principal songwriter in The Beach Boys, the enigmatic Brian Wilson was fawned over by bands such as The Beatles and The Rolling Stones for his innovative style and technique. The singer was always able to marry up deeply emotive subjects with a pop sensibility that transcended its nature.

Here, we are taking a look back at one of Wilson’s favourite songs of The Beach Boys, focusing on his beautifully haunting yet utterly gorgeous isolated vocal on ‘I Just Wasn’t Made For These Times’, arguably one of Wilson’s finest songs.

The track would become part of one of the greatest albums the pop world has ever known as Brian Wilson included it as part of his masterpiece of the decade, Pet Sounds. The 1966 record set tongues wagging across the globe as Brian Wilson became one of the most adored artists of his time.

The world’s music scene were all keen to work with the artist and the album, after a slow start, was a commercial success as well as a critical one. Yet when one played back the record one thing shone out from the luscious and textured sound, Brian Wilson was having a very difficult time.

The record is littered with deeply personal affections that seemed to make every song feel the more genuine and wholesome. Quite often the melancholic lyrics would blend seamlessly into the pulsating and captivating music which Wilson expertly coaxed from his over-worked session musicians.

It’s only when that music is stripped away that we feel the real gravitas of Wilson’s inner struggles and none more so than in his outside anthem, ‘I Just Wasn’t Made For These Times’. The track’s music is a swirling kaleidoscopic moving image, though at points swelling and lifting it is deeply pained—but the lyrics really send the message and are engulfed in fear and social alienation.

Wilson told Esquire that the song was “a social statement. I felt like I didn’t belong, that my ideas were ahead of the times. But it’s nice to know how much people love and respect what I did back then and I’m in a better place now than I was when I was younger.” It’s true that Wilson was far ahead of his time both musically and psychologically, the singer always had an old head on his shoulders.

That pain and fear, the loss of self and determination for his own definition are heard perfectly in every note that Wilson sings with The Beach Boys. Listen to the beautiful isolated vocal of ‘I Just Wasn’t Made For These Times’ below.

The Beach Boys’ ‘I Just Wasn’t Made For These Times’ lyrics:

I keep looking for a place to fit
Where I can speak my mind
I’ve been trying hard to find the people
That I won’t leave behind

They say I got brains
But they ain’t doing me no good
I wish they could

Each time things start to happen again
I think I got something good goin’ for myself
But what goes wrong

Sometimes I feel very sad
Sometimes I feel very sad
(Can’t find nothin’ I can put my heart and soul into)
Sometimes I feel very sad
(Can’t find nothin’ I can put my heart and soul into)

I guess I just wasn’t made for these times
Every time I get the inspiration
To go change things around
No one wants to help me look for places

Where new things might be found
Where can I turn when my fair weather friends cop out
What’s it all about

Each time things start to happen
I think I got something good goin’ for myself

But what goes wrong?
Sometimes I feel very sad
Sometimes I feel very sad (Can’t find nothin’ I can put my heart and soul into)

Sometimes I feel very sad (Can’t find nothin’ I can put my heart and soul into)

I guess I just wasn’t made for these times
(I guess I just wasn’t made for these times)
I guess I just wasn’t made for these times
(I guess I just wasn’t made for these times)
I guess I just wasn’t made for these times
(I guess I just wasn’t made for these times)

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