Just a few days ago, the legendary Beach Boys sonic mastermind Brian Wilson released At My Piano, a new album that collects Wilson’s solo-piano renditions of his own classic songs. Today, Wilson has shared an altogether new song. It’s called “Right Where I Belong,” and it’s a collaboration with Jim James, the My Morning Jacket leader whose own songs certainly bear the stamp of those old angelic Beach Boys harmonies. Wilson wrote “Right Where I Belong” for the soundtrack of Long Promised Road, the forthcoming documentary about Wilson’s checkered life and career.
Brent Wilson — no relation — directed Long Promised Road, and the documentary is built around Wilson’s conversations with Rolling Stone writer Jason Fine. Apparently, the director and interviewer had the idea of getting Brian Wilson to write a new song for the film. Talking to Rolling Stone, Brian Wilson says, “I was thrilled when Brent and Jason asked me to compose a song for the film. I enjoyed working on the song with Jim; he was the perfect collaborator.”
On “Right Where I Belong,” Jim James supplies the backing harmonies and occasionally takes over the lead. Mostly, though, the song has Wilson singing in a much-changed voice, going into a reverie about being a teenager and keeping himself afloat by writing songs. James can really hit those Beach Boys-style high notes, and there’s a heartbreaking simplicity to Wilson’s lyrics: “I love myself, I love my willpower/ Will get me through again/ If you stick with it, baby, things work out/ You’ll find the way to win.”
Jim James is a longtime Beach Boys devotee who has opened for Wilson on tour and covered Beach Boys songs in the past. Talking about the collaboration, James says, “In my heart and soul, Brian Wilson’s music has always held a place of such divine importance. It has always been there with me in celebrating life’s greatest triumphs and has also sustained me through some of my darkest hours. His spirit and life story have taught us all to never give up and to always listen to and honor the spirit of each of our own unique creative souls. So it was truly such an honor to create and collaborate with Brian on brand new music for this incredible upcoming film about his life.”
According to Rolling Stone, there’s already a campaign to get “Right Where I Belong” a nomination for the Best Original Song Oscar. Listen below.
The Long Promised Road soundtrack is out 11/26 on Lakeshore Records. Long Promised Road is in theaters and on VOD right now.