I read Doonesbury every day, including the 5, 10, 15, 20 and 25-years-ago strips. A few months ago the 1990 storyline was Andy Lippincott's death. He drifted away listening to Pet Sounds on CD, and they found a note on his nightstand that said "Brian Wilson is God."
So I decided to buy Pet Sounds on CD, high time because Wouldn't It Be Nice, God Only Knows and Sloop John B are probably my top three Beach Boys songs. And I have always thought Brian Wilson was a genius, if not actually a deity. Yet the only Beach Boys recording I owned was a weird vinyl "Beach Boys Live in London."
Well, it's that good. And this morning while I was listening to the gorgeous unmistakably Wilsonian harmonies, the deceptively adolescent lyrics, the brilliant musical effects I can't even name*, I was also reading this, in Ian McEwan's Saturday:
"There are these rare moments when musicians together touch something sweeter than they've ever found before in rehearsals or performance, beyond the merely collaborative or technically proficient, when their expression becomes as easy and graceful as friendship or love. This is when they give us a glimpse of what we might be, of our best selves, and of an impossible world in which you give everything you have to others, but lose nothing of yourself."
Or, as Tess Gallagher would say, "Then something else happens."
*For instance, incredible use of percussion, which I usually don't notice much. Like the single authoritative bass thump that ends the intro of Wouldn't It Be Nice, or the oddly stirring snares of God Only Knows.