Brian Wilson Richard Williams - Essay

Richard Williams

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

["Holland"] contains more fun and beauty than any dozen efforts by more fashionable bands.

The overwhelming quality of "Holland" (so called because they recorded it in a town outside Amsterdam) is consistency, in two respects: first, it fits right in with the sequence of Beach Boys music from '62 on; secondly, the consistency of writing and performance is on a higher level than anything since, perhaps, "Pet Sounds"….

First question: what is B. Wilson's contribution this time out? Answer: less than I'd expected, but as it happens that doesn't hurt at all. With four collaborators … he composed the opening cut, "Sail On, Sailor", which is also the upcoming single, and although it lacks instant 45 rpm magic it's as crisp and cooling as fresh orange-juice…. [The] chorus sticks in your head like … well, like a Brian Wilson chorus should…. Lastly, Brian contributed a 12-minute fairy tale called "Mt. Vernon & Fairway," which comes on a separate 7-inch 33 rpm disc. Narrated by [Jack] Rieley in the approved Sparky's Magic Piano style, it's about a prince and a magic transistor radio, has lashings of amusing background noises from the amazing Wilson brain, and is performed in exactly the right tone for [children's program] Junior Choice—on which it deserves to make regular appearances for years to come….

I expect more from the Beach Boys than from anyone else, and "Holland" has the goods.

Richard Williams, "Beach Boys Go Dutch," in Melody Maker (© IPC Business Press Ltd.), January 27, 1973, p. 23.