My attempt to blog all of the entries from the book 1001 Albums to Hear Before You Die
Brief Background: Today! was recorded in early 1965 and released in March of the same year. The album came on the heels of two extremely successful years for the Beach Boys in which they released six(!) full length albums. Today! marks the point where Brian Wilson decided to focus on writing and recording and not touring. The Wikipedia page credits about 30 backing musicians and production staff for the album!
What I think: This album really brings out mixed emotions in me. On one hand “Do You Wanna Dance”, “Help Me, Ronda*” and “Dance, Dance, Dance” are three of my favorite Beach Boys songs. On the other side of the spectrum “When I Grow Up”, Don’t Hurt My Little Sister” and “Good to My Baby” just sound like songs from men who are well beyond their teenage years still singing about high school (I realize Dance, Dance Dance is literally about the same thing, but it’s convincing, so leave me alone).
*This is not the single version of the song which was rerecorded and released as “Help Me, Rhonda” later in the same year. This version features fade ins/fade outs on the chorus at the end. This version was on the Greatest Hits album I bought years ago and have always preferred it to the “Single” version. I was always confused about the version on my greatest hits collection and figured somebody goofed and put the wrong take. I now know the story after fifteen years of wondering. I love this project!
Do I agree or disagree with the writers as to this being an album you must listen to? This album marks the beginning of Brian’s experimentation with sounds (and probably substances). There is the repeated fade out/fade in on “Ronda” and echo or some sort repeater effect on the drums in “She Knows me Too Well” and “In the Back of My Mind” has an interesting break down/psychedelic quality to it. This is sort of the start of the an album being experience which would be advanced (and pretty much perfected) on Pet Sounds and pushed even farther on Smile. So for this step forward (and putting aside some of my own reservations), which would change recording forever I think it should be here.
Rating (Out of 5): 3.5
Amazon Review (Out of 5):5
Is this my first time hearing this album? No (13/55)
Percentage of Albums that are new to me: 76%