Sunday, October 13, 2013

Shutdown: Shut Down

Beach Boys: Shut Down

The exuberance of the '60s Beach Boys was infectious: so infectious that they sold millions. They were a kind of transition from the Kingston Trio folk genre to the Beatles pop/rock genre. They were California-carefree: surf, sun, and fun, fun, fun 'til ...

'Til the real world intruded. Much of the decade leading up the Beach Boys' prime-time were years of plenty - especially for America. Work, cars and houses for everyone. The late sixties (and the end of the Beach Boys' major successes) was the end of an era: a shut down of the values that America had previously espoused. Vietnam war protests, "free sex", hippies ... all flew in the face of what was established. Richard Nixon got caught trying to shut down his opponents by illegal means. The public aimed to shut down the Vietnam war. And much of the public tuned out one way or another: smoking pot or ... whatever... in itself a form of shut down or closing time.

Look into the Beach Boys late works (Heroes and Villains era stuff) and you'll see this change reflected in their music: The Beach Boys of the '70 definitely do not display the same "drive" you'll see in this clip. It's been shut down and the gears have been down-shifted to mellow.

At the same time, as we consider the relation to today's US gov't shut down, you might look deeper into the (most likely unintended) meaning you could ascribe to the lyrics of this song:

Shut it off, shut it off buddy now I shut you down
Sounds to me like one of the US political parties or another: "buddy"? I thought that meant "friend"?

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