“The Night Was So Young,” from The Beach Boys’ release of Love You, is a mellow, dreamy ballad that finds itself on the latter half of the 1977 album. Reminiscent to songs from the group’s iconic Pet Sounds, this song tell the tale of a matured Brian Wilson discussing his feelings of loneliness after what seems to be an argument with a significant other. The narrator beckons to a distant lover that the night is still young, and there is still time to meet up and make amends, instead of spending a sleepless night. These feeble attempts at reconciliation are seemingly unrequited, and it is soon 3 a.m. as the narrator goes to his sink to drink milk and consider his options. Throughout the song it is suggested that the narrator wishes to travel to his lover’s house, but is unsure if this is a good idea. As the song fades out, it is possible to conclude the lyrics “And then I think, why should she hide?” allude to the narrator breaking down and driving over to her house at three in the morning.
This narrative is accompanied by the gentle sounds of church organ and post-surf guitar that provide an airy sound, while the multiple harmonies layered over the lead vocals create a fuller tone throughout. The lead vocals aren’t as soothing as they are a tad unsettling, but they fit in this particular piece comfortably. The drums are light and sporadic rather than rhythmic, creating a beat that is just barely there, but is present enough to create atmosphere within the song. Listening to this song, I feel as though it’s set by a cool, foggy pond, with crickets chirping and the water lit by nothing but moonlight. The song itself is like this setting – eerie, but comforting, calming, and still.
This song is one of my personal favourites from the album, because it captures the light, airy feel that Love You provides throughout the majority of the album. Have a listen to the song below: