The One Beach Boys Song That Illustrates Why The Band Shouldn't Play At The Inauguration
Inaugurations mark a new beginning in the ongoing story of America, but it seems hard for anyone, including celebrities, to get excited about the inauguration of Donald Trump. As such, the president-elect is reportedly having trouble finding celebrities willing to perform at his inauguration. While Trump has had no luck nabbing high-profile guests to witness his signing in as president so far, now the Beach Boys are considering playing at Trump's inauguration, even though the band is an American rock pioneer. It only takes one Beach Boys song to prove the band should stay far, far away from Trump.
A spokesperson confirmed to People, the Beach Boys may participate in the inauguration, although they have not yet made a final decision. If the band does take the stage to celebrate Trump, they will by far be the most famous names there. So far, Trump has only been able to nab the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, reality TV alum Jackie Evancho, and The Rockettes.
Casual listeners of the Beach Boys are unlikely to find the news the band is considering playing for Trump surprising. After all, the band has been a supporter of Republican politicians for several election cycles now, playing for Ronald Reagan and Mitt Romney, among others. With their Hawaiian shirts and easy listening tunes, the Beach Boys are easily mistaken as patron saints of the wholesome, good ole days demographic the Republican party plays to. The truth is the band's music has always had more to offer than odes to surfing.
Band member Mike Love has been in charge of the Beach Boys for some time now, and his politics are nothing like those of Brian Wilson, the mastermind behind the band's 1966 album Pet Sounds. Wilson now tours on his own, while Love tours under the Beach Boys' name, spreading the idea the band's songs are grounded in fun with no deeper meaning. If you need a compelling argument as to why even Love should know better than to drag the Beach Boys' legacy through the mud by performing at the inauguration, then look no further than "I Know There's An Answer."
The song comes from Pet Sounds, and it is an indictment of the stubborn isolationism Trump has championed since he built a campaign around other-ing minorities. "I know so many people who think they can do it alone / They isolate their heads and stay in their safety zones," the song begins before pondering how to get through to people who seek to hide themselves away from everything they find unfamiliar or scary in the world.
"Now how can I come on, and tell them the way that they live could be better?" the song, which Love has a writing credit on, asks. "I Know There Is An Answer" is a '60s masterwork, an ode to living and let live, while still doing your best to spread positive energy in the world. For a band like the Beach Boys, who grew out of the Californian counterculture of surfers and beach side beatniks, Trump's politics seem to oppose everything the band stands for even in its current incarnation.
The Beach Boys were never overtly political, and that is part of their enduring appeal. Their sound crosses party lines. The Beach Boys sang for everyone — the kids on the beach, the social pioneers who marched on Washington, and the repressed parents in the suburbs. For Love to take a band so grounded in the best of America and attach it to the ushering in of Trump as president would not only tarnish the legacy of the band, but his own legacy as well.
Just because Love doesn't look back fondly on the most creatively fruitful days of the Beach Boys does not erase his involvement. He was on the forefront of the rock-and-roll movement, he sang the words, "I know there's an answer / I know now but I have to find it by myself" — he knows the band's true spirit is one of inclusivity, not exclusionary nonsense. With Wilson no longer a part of the Beach Boys, it is up to Love to decide the future of the band, and you have to look no further than their discography to see that future should not include Trump.