Brian Wilson’s isolated vocal on The Beach Boys’ ‘I Just Wasn’t Made For These Times’ is gut-wrenchingly beautiful
As principal songwriter in The Beach Boys, 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 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, as we focus on his beautifully haunting isolated vocal on ‘I Just Wasn’t Made For These Times’.
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.”
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