Song of the Day #239: ‘Kokomo’ – The Beach Boys

beach_boys1OK, it’s come to this. Remember that scene in The Dark Knight where Alfred tells Bruce Wayne about a terrible bandit who wreaked havoc on a village for no reason but the sheer thrill of it? “Did you finally catch him?,” Bruce asks. Alfred says yes. “How?” “We burned the forest down.”

By selecting The Beach Boys’ ‘Kokomo’ as a Song of the Day, I am burning the forest down, practically destroying this blog to make a point. I was asked to present some “feel good” songs, and this must be the most painfully bad feel good song of them all. I hope that its inclusion will pave the way for more of the murk and melancholy I favor.

Two more things…

Brian Wilson’s Beach Boys gave us ‘God Only Knows’ and ‘Wouldn’t it Be Nice?’ Mike Love’s Beach Boys gave us this. That must make Brian Wilson feel pretty damn good.

And check out John Stamos on the steel drums in the gayest top ever.

9 thoughts on “Song of the Day #239: ‘Kokomo’ – The Beach Boys

  1. Amy says:

    I LOVE this song. You’re worst than Paul Simon and Billy Joel combined, you musical elitist snob, you! How are you destroying this blog by including it? And what point are you trying to make? Cause it’s still eluding me.

    If this week was to prove that dark, melancholy music is far superior and more worthy of your analysis than you have failed to convince this faithful reader. I have enjoyed the delightful trip down memory lane this week has provided, as well as just enjoying some of the upbeat and catchy tunes on their own merit. Consider them the equivalent of a “beach read.” Do they warrant taking the place of serious somber fare? No. But they certainly don’t burn the blog down for their inclusion.

    And, by the way, if that was your point, why did you intentionally choose a week of songs you practically admit are straw men examples? Why not choose the James Taylor, Joni Mitchell, and Natalie Merchant tunes that would have provided the light mood some of us were seeking without causing you to compromise the quality of your blog posts? Hmmmm…. What sort of point could you possibly make if the argument is based on the least possible examples the opposition could provide?
    And you are the one cherry picking those poor examples? I’m not buying any of it!!!! Hell, you even offer another possibility (“Wouldn’t It be Nice?”) in the very blog that is theoretically burning down the forest. Why not offer up the Much Ado About Nothing’s to balance out the Macbeth’s – rather than throwing in a Chicken Soup for the Soul as your antidote?

    Bad form, dear blogger, bad form ;-P

  2. Dana says:

    Wow–can you tell Amy had a bad morning (kids dental cleanings, dead cell phone, Daniel getting sick) and needed this song (and didn’t need your criticism of it)?

    Well, I won’t take your head off as she did, but I will say that I generally agree with her that (a) this really isn’t such a bad song and (b) a light song certainly does not equal a bad song.

    If you are on a tropical island with a margarita in your hand, or you are in your car in trafific WISHING you were on a tropical island with a margarita in your hand, there are few better songs to hear. If you move the schmaltz meter a bit further, you end up with the dreck of Red, Red Wine or Hot, Hot, Hot….but this one tows the line very well–a combination of very good production, your classic Beach Boy harmonies and a perfect vacation mood.

    I suspect that, after hearing this song, and given the morning Amy has had, she will be booking us to leave tonight for Bermuda, Bahamas…come on pretty mama!:)

  3. ourboy says:

    Mike Love is a **** and a no-talent jackass.

  4. Clay says:

    I enjoy the songs I’ve featured the rest of this week but I stand by my assessment of this song as blech… in the same league (for me) as the great examples Dana mentioned (‘Red Red Wine’ and ‘Hot Hot Hot.’)

    I certainly don’t think light songs are bad, not by any means. But neither would I avoid “dark” songs, which is the discussion that prompted these selections. I love all songs (well, not ‘Kokomo.’)

  5. Clay says:

    I’ll add that I definitely agree a song like this has its place… watching a sunset with a fruity drink in your hand, this is exactly the sort of thing you want in the background.

    Similarly, when you’re in a South Beach nightclub, blaring techno music is spot on.

    But I wouldn’t want to listen to either outside of those scenarios.

  6. Dana says:

    See, I wouldn’t want to be in that South Beach night club BECAUSE of the techno music blaring–so I wouldnt’ listen to it anywhere. But, Kokomo is pleasant enough to hear when you want to escape, physically or mentally.

    And, for the record, I have no problem with dark or somber songs–it’s just that a steady diet of it (which Fiona Apple basically offers) gets a bit much.

  7. Amy says:

    And you have still managed to evade my question, Mr. master debater, which is why did you use light songs you consider lightweight to make a point about deep, dark truthful songs being more worthy of discussion? Hmmmmmm……

  8. Clay says:

    Well, I got two of the idea from you! You told me I must feature ‘Shiny Happy People,’ ‘Walking on Sunshine’ and ‘Don’t Worry Be Happy’ this week. I found two of the three but there were no embeddable clips of ‘Don’t Worry Be Happy.’ I kept the rest of the week in that spirit.

  9. Amy says:

    😛 But I wasn’t making an argument for the relative merits of one type of music over the other; I was simply being a smart ass and suggesting that you listen to songs with an overt theme of happiness. If I’d know you would use my throwaway list to burn down a forest, I would have listed some of the songs I suggested the other day, songs you intentionally avoided because they wouldn’t serve your nefarious purpose
    ;-P

    For those of you who would like to hear some of those other “happy” songs:

    “These Are Days”

    Well, You Tube is now conspiring to keep me from making my case. So I’ll hope Merchant got through to make her own case.

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