Radio Mans fave with The Beach Boys


God Only Knows

God Only Knows” is a song by American rock band the Beach Boys from their 1966 album Pet Sounds. Written by Brian Wilson and Tony Asher, it is a baroque-style love song distinguished for its harmonic innovation and complexity, its unusual instrumentation, and its subversion of typical popular music conventions, both lyrically and musically. It is often praised as one of the greatest songs of all time and as the Beach Boys’ finest record.

The song’s musical sophistication is demonstrated by its three contrapuntal vocal parts and weak tonal center (competing between the keys of E and A). Lyrically, the words are expressed from the perspective of a narrator who asserts that life without their lover could only be fathomed by God—an entity that had been considered taboo to name in the title or lyric of a pop song. It marked a departure for Wilson, who attributed the impetus for the song to Asher’s affinity for standards such as “Stella by Starlight“. Some commentators interpret “God Only Knows” as promoting suicidal ideations, although such an interpretation was not intended by the songwriters. Others have compared the song’s deceptively advanced harmonic structure to the work of classical composers such as DelibesBach, and Stravinsky.

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