Thursday, July 22, 2010

“California Gurls,” “California Girls”

My daughter Rachel passes on the news that Brian Wilson has commented on Katy Perry’s “California Gurls” (featuring Snoop Dogg):

“I love her vocal,” the Beach Boys’ creative mastermind said Monday through his manager. “She sounds very clear and energetic.”

Wilson also liked the version that includes a guest rap by Snoop Dogg that makes a nod to the original.

“The melody is infectious, and I'm flattered that Snoop Dogg used our lyric on the tag,” Wilson noted. “I wish them well with this cut.”
A generous if slightly odd response. (Your song has sold millions: good luck with it.) Never to be outdone by “cousin Brian,” “California Girls” co-composer Mike Love has also now commented, but you’ll have to read the article (via the link above) for his response.

If you haven’t listened to the Beach Boys’ “California Girls” in a while, listen. Listen. Listen. Here are ten things to listen for:

1. The instrumental intro. (Were Nelson Riddle’s intros for Sinatra songs an influence here?)

2. The skating-rink organ.

3. The cowboy-movie bass line.

4. Mike Love’s “hip” and “dig.” Very hip. Dig?

5. Mike Love’s pointing upward when singing about “the northern girls.” North is up! (Oops: you’ll have to watch for this one.)

6. The chord changes in the chorus: B C#min7 A Bm7 G Am7 B.

7. The vocal harmonies in the chorus.

8. The high background harmonies in the second verse.

9. “I seen all kind of girls.”

10. The instrumental break before the final chorus (mimicking the bass line), and the “oh-bee-doo” as the break ends.

11. The four vocal lines of the outro: surpassed perhaps only by the round that ends “God Only Knows.”

[“Katy Perry’s ‘California Gurls’ (featuring Snoop Dogg)”: names and words I never thought I’d type. “Listen. Listen. Listen”: from “Don’t Talk (Put Your Head on My Shoulder)” (Brian Wilson–Tony Asher).]

A related post
I am a California girl.

(Thanks, Rachel!)

comments: 2

stefan said...

Readers might be interested to hear the Magnetic Fields and their homage to "California Girls." It isn't at all like the Beach Boys, but it sure beats Katy Perry and some listeners may find a hint of Wilson-like genius. A live version can be found on YouTube at:

Michael Leddy said...

Thanks, Stefan!