What does Brian Wilson mean?

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Barenaked Ladies: Brian Wilson Meaning

Song Released: 1993


Brian Wilson Lyrics

"Brian Wilson"



Drove downtown in the rain nine-thirty on a Tuesday night,

just to check out the late-night record shop.

Call it impulsive, call it compulsive, call it insane;

but when I'm surrounded I just can't stop.



It's...

  1. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Mar 30th 2014 report

    I think people forget the parallels between Wilson and Page. Remember Page, to a lesser extent, also struggled with depression and bipolar disorder. The parallel isn't just with the creativity but also the person.

  2. astorian
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    Apr 2nd 2012 report

    I think the essence of this song is... Brian Wilson, leader of the Beach Boys, wrote some of the happiest, sunniest, cheeriest and most brilliant music of the rock era while he himself was depressed, neurotic, deeply introverted and insecure. He wrote songs about frolicking on the beach and surfing while he himself spent a lot of time locked in his own bedroom. At one time, Brian Wilson had a big sandbox placed in his own bedroom. At another time, Wilson became a binge eater who ballooned up to 300 pounds because all he did was eat and lie in bed.

    But again, for all his personal weirdness, Wilson was producing remarkably good and absurdly cheery music.

    Wilson withdrew completely from the public eye for many years. He finally made a comeback of sort in the early Eighties, under the guidance of a psychotherapist named Dr. Landy.

    Now, what are the Barenaked Ladies getting at in this song? I think the song is about writer's block. The snger has hit a creative dry spll, but has had an inspiration: he's going to try to write msuic as great as Brian Wilson's by copying all of Brian Wilson's craziest quirks. He hopes if he lies in bed for weeks, eats compulsively and acts as stranegly as BRian Wilson, then maybe, just MAYBE he'll be able to write classic songs the way Brian Wilson did.

  3. anonymous
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    Jun 6th 2011 report

    I think that in this song, the author has a mind block. He cannot write music or do anything really. All he is thinking about is finishing the song which he can't do.

    "just to check out the late-night record shop." To find some inspiration he drives down to the record shop. However he comes back empty handed.
    "Call it impulsive, call it compulsive, call it insane" he tries to find inspiration here anyways even though he thinks its pointless and thinks that others will think the same.

    "and I'm wondering if this is some kind of creative drought" He is worried about whether the mind block is just temporary or if he won't be able to write music again. I think he is getting worried about not finishing the song, and never being able to finish it.

    The stanza about his dream perhaps means that he is feeling lost and not able to come back to what he knows. Music is all he knows (being very heavy) but at the same time with not being able to write it, he is floating away. And he wants somebody to help him come back to what he knows (back to earth).

    The song seems spread out and varied and has little putting the stanzas and chorus together perhaps meaning that he had to struggle to find lyrics and inspiration. That theory follows my previous points.


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