Brian Wilson Tom Carson - Essay

Tom Carson

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

You go to a rock and roll show in the hope of being moved by the unexpected; you go to see an institution, like the Lincoln Memorial, or the Grand Canyon, or the Beach Boys, to be moved by the expected—to trigger a response you already know is there. That they continue to be a working band, nominally in the present tense, hardly matters. The albums of new material that they release from time to time simply aren't part of the legend; they're appendages, and they feel incomplete, because the audience, the community of belief that made the Beach Boys' fantasies come to life, doesn't exist in the present tense to sustain them. Only as evokers of the past, passive agents of their fans' desire, does the band become whole...

(The entire section is 693 words.)