Monday, February 7, 2011

In My Room

I was a Beach Boys fan (still am). Their Beach Boys Concert was the first LP I ever bought. Eventually, I bought every LP and 45 that they released during their first 15 years of operation.

I liked most of their songs; I knew most of the lyrics by heart, but I was very self-conscious about one song — one of their big hits — In My Room.

If ever there was a song about teen transgender angst, In My Room was it. I am sure Brian Wilson did not have crossdressers in mind when he wrote the song, but almost any youth with gender issues could identify with the lyrics of that song.

There's a world where I can go
and tell my secrets to
In my room
In my room

In this world I lock out
all my worries and my fears
In my room
In my room

Do my dreaming and my scheming lie awake and pray
Do my crying and my sighing laugh at yesterday

Now it's dark and I'm alone
but I won't be afraid
In my room
In my room

In addition to being self-conscious about the song, hearing Brian Wilson singing those lyrics back in the mid-1960s was kind of embarrassing. It was such a "girly" song that you had to wonder what was going on with Brian Wilson (plenty, as it turned out, but nothing gender-related). This was the same guy who sang Surfin' Safari, Little Deuce Coupe, Shut Down, Fun, Fun, Fun, etcetera, etcetera, and now he was singing a song that you would expect a female recording artist to sing!

And his voice was girly, too! It was almost too much for a transgender kid to take.


  1. I know I, identify with that song.

  2. Although I was born too late to listen them first time around I always listened to my dad's beach boys records (and got a huge amount of stick from people in school because of it). I love the lyrics, the sound of the vocals and the atmosphere of their songs.

    This one always get me in a very reflective / emotional mood. Even just hearing the lyrics in hy head as I read your post.

    IIRC The Wilson boys had a very difficult home life with a very overbearing father. I guess that is the source of the song, but it fits so many people in difficult times...


  3. I think you are right about that song Stana!

  4. Excellent analysis of a beautiful song. Brian Wilson was truly inspired by the muse and it is sad that the drugs and demons kept him off the scene for so long but during his time he left us with wonderful music.

    I have seen various permutations of the Beach Boys perform live about a dozen times over the past 40 years (only once with Brian in the group). Thier music is wonderful and, at least for me, timeless.

    Like so many of the original artists of that era much of their music was so well fitted to the Beach Boys that attempts to 'cover' their music was rarely successful. I cannot think of any attempts to cover "In My Room".


  5. If you're a Wilson fan and have never heard The Barenaked Ladies "Brian Wilson", drop a buck with Amazon or iTunes.

    Even though the track is about the time he spent in psychiatric care, Brian Wilson liked the song so much that he sometimes performs it in his own shows!

    Much like Wilson and The Beach Boys, pre-Page departure Barenaked Ladies had a fun dark side which was obvious if you paid attention to their lyrics, especially on their most popular release, "Stunt".

  6. we had the beach boys album on LP, and would listen to it every christmas while we were decorating the tree. Listening to that album always brings me back

  7. The late Gary Usher was co-writer of In My Room as well as many other collaborations with the Wilsons.