The Beach Boys

Sun, Surf, Schizophrenia, Stagnation, Stamos
*special introductory paragraph
*Lost and Found! (1961-62)
*Surfin' Safari
*Surfin' U.S.A.
*Surfer Girl
*Little Deuce Coupe
*Shut Down, Vol. 2
*All Summer Long
*Christmas Album
*Summer Days (And Summer Nights!!)
*Pet Sounds
*Smiley Smile
*Wild Honey
*'69 (Live in London)
*Landlocked: The Unreleased 1970 Album & More
*Surf's Up
*Carl and the Passions-So Tough
*In Concert
*15 Big Ones
*Love You
*Adult Child
*Surfin' Rarities Vol. 1
*M.I.U. Album
*L.A. (Light Album)
*Keepin' the Summer Alive
*The Beach Boys
*Still Cruisin'
*Summer In Paradise
*Stars and Stripes Vol. 1
*Endless Harmony
*Ultimate Christmas
*Hawthorne, CA
*Good Timin: Live At Knebworth England 1980
*Endless Bummer (The Very Worst Of The Beach Boys)
*Songs From Here And Back

The Beach Boys were one of America's finest goodtime harmony pop-surf-rock bands, climbing to the top of the early `60s charts on the strength of such hits as "Surfin USA," "Surfin Safari," "Surfin," "Surfer Girl," "Butthole Surfin," "Surf Punks," "Surfin the Web," "Surf Surf Surf," "Surfuckyousir" and "Surf Laundry Detergent." However, head songwriter Brian Wilson developed a mean case of paranoid schizophrenia right around the time he began trying to create more "serious" compositions, which is why people generally only talk about Pet Sounds these days. After that, he totally lost his grip on reality, holed up in his room with food and pornography (seriously!) and left The Beach Boys to the devices of his two brothers Dennis and Carl, his asshole cousin Mike Love and their pal Al Jardine. It worked for a little while, but not a long while! As we enter the summer of 2002, Brian is feeling a bit better, Carl and Dennis have both passed on, Al Jardine is starting up some new beach band that is poised to topple Staind right off the FM dial and Mike Love is STILL dragging a bunch of people you've never heard of around the world as "The Beach Boys," showing about as much respect for the band name as Paul Revere of the revered Paul Revere and the Raiders has shown for the name Paul Revere and the Raiders.

Reader Comments (Adrian Denning)
There's a great part in the Beach Boys 'Endless Harmony' video where Terry Melcher, just realising he's called Phil Spector a crazy piece of shit RIGHT THERE ON VIDEO! and just realising he's called Phil Spector ABSOLUTELY INFERIOR TO BRIAN WILSON!! that this look of absolute fear crosses his face. Everyone should buy the 'Endless Harmony' video/dvd just for that moment, really they should.
Being the youngest of a music-loving family, I was surrounded by lots of good tunes while I was growing up. I remember Endless Summer in the 8-track and on the turntable when I was young. For some reason, somewhere along the way, the Beach Bums were relegated to oldies status and prime purveyors of wimp rock. Then, in the winter of my junior year of high school, I heard "Wouldn't It Be Nice" on a radio station and I was actually impressed. Wistful teenage love lyrics, a great bass line, a rockin' DAD plays accordion! Who would have thought accordions would be a part of a rock classic?!? Next time I got the chance, I went to the local music store and bought ALL the Beach Boys they had (Endless Summer, Pet Sounds, and some $2.99 tape I found in the discount rack). Endless Summer had some great songs ("The Warmth Of The Sun", "Don't Worry Baby", "I Get Around") but Pet Sounds was indescribable. I actually blame this album for making me fall in love with someone. Pet Sounds convinced me that Brian Wilson was a genius; the only problem with him was all those goofy surf songs he wrote. I'm glad I eventually discovered that there was life for the Beach Boys AFTER Pet Sounds because I would have missed some good music and I would still think the Beach Boys are weaker than Coors Light.

And, yes, I eventually came to love those hokey surf songs.

Lost And Found (1961-62) - DCC 1991
Rating = 4

Father Wilson, Murry they say, was an emotionally abusive bastard (typical of the day, I'm told, what with undiagnosed post-traumatic stress disorder driving World War II veterans to take all their aggression out on their children) who wanted to live vicariously through his musical offspring. He made them practice constantly before introducing them to a producer who said they could record some tracks in her living room or some crap, and here are those tapes! Right here on this album! It sucks, but they were pretty young, I suppose. Brian was 19, Mike 20, Carl 15, Al 19, Dennis 17, David Marks wasn't in the band yet but he would have been 13. Bruce Johnston was a few years away, but he would have been 17. They liked Dick Dale a lot and he was 24. Joey Ramone was 10.

Even at this early point in life's stamina, The Beach Boyz wuz fukin bitchass down wif da harmonizin n strategizin. But vocal harmonies will only take you so far when your lead vocals are quivery, out of tune and constantly threatening to make the mic erupt into ear-piercing amp feedback (just TRY to sit through "Judy" without your ears growing little skin flaps that shut closed and lock until the song is over and the waves in the air are less vomitous and disturbing.). And aside from a couple that appear to be sung by Brian Wilson, a young man with a very nice full-bodied, friendly voice ("What Is A Young Girl Made Of" is simply ADORABLE - especially considering it's an awful song!), every vocal on here sounds like amateurish garbage. Nasal Mike Love has never had the most beauteous voice in society, but back in '61 when his ego was only about 15 times that of a normal human being (as opposed to the quadruple digits it would soon reach), he sounded just hideous. Voice quivering everywhere, missing every high note, sounding like he'd stuffed his nose with earplugs to keep the stench of Brian's reeking B.O. from interfering with the formation of the powerful neuron connections that would one day bring "Kokomo" into the world (though when he did bass vocals, he sounded good! Go figure (skate).).

For the collector, you have the amazing chance to pick up such fantastic early non-album generic crap tracks as the Idjit-Goes-Hawaiian "Luau,", punch-drunk "Judy," surf nothing blah instrumental "Beach Boy Stomp," a capella so dull you'll wish you'd been there to stand on a ladder and unleash a stream of urine into their mouths "Lavender," "What Is A Young Girl Made Of?" (I was sure there'd be something in there about the lymph vascular system - FIE!) and "Barbie" (Angel Barbie, My Angel Barbie! It's just like Heaven when you completely steal every element of the song from another major hit single of the day).

Whew! Pardon me a moment while I rest my Play-On-Words organ.

Whew! Now pardon me a moment while I rest my Play-With-Turds organ! WHEEE!!!! (*squish squish squishy squirt!*)

To be fair with you, most of the worst songs were written by the producer people. The actual Brian Wilson-written songs on here are mostly (though not ALL) okay. Especially since a full SIX of these 16 tracks are their early singles "Surfin'" and "Surfin' Safari"! "Surfer Girl" is also on here, interestingly enough. But all of these craps was SO amateurish. Irritatingly amateurish. I know "Surfin'" was a hit, but man what a stupid song. But hey - why harmonize the chorus when you can just have five guys all slowly, surgically sing every syllable in the exact same key?

Getting back to the matter at hand, this album's pretty bad. But at least it's not all muffled and impossible to hear like the earliest Beatles recordings. This diarrhea- filled kiddy pool is Crystal Sparkling Clear!

Add your thoughts?

Surfin' Safari - Capitol 1962
Rating = 6

If you're a fan of this album, enjoy your life as a gay man!

No please, the jokes are getting ribald. The Beach Boys' sound still hasn't quite Gelled on this, their debutt album. The lead vocals are still pisspoor (I'm told that Mike Love sings most of them, and lord knows he was too busy beating the shit out of his wife to take singing lessons) and you can barely hear the music at all. At the time, the Boys played pretty rudimentary beach music anyway. Guitar had that Chuck Berry feel, but learned - not FELT, you know? It's like they don't FEEL it yet. You gotta FEEL your music. It's not about whether the songs are actually any good. You just gotta close your eyes and FEEL it. That's the only way to become a conduit for the derivative 12-bar blues rock of the Gods, like Keith Richards is.

The focus is on the great harmony vocals, but it's hard to listen past the uncomfortable lead singing to enjoy them. Mike sounds so uneasy and unpracticed, he takes what are basically nice enough little fun beach songs and turns them into an unpleasant, anxious listening experience like the kind that the Nazis used as a torture device in the Vietnam War in Korea. Still, you have to give Brian Wilson credit for writing nine original songs on their very first album! Let's all hear it for Brian! Yay, Brian! And among these are TWO classics ("Surfin' Safari" and "409," which keeps popping up in an ad on Yahoo! this week, much to my tasty delight), ONE additional hit single ("Surfin'," their one-shot song about the "surfing" fad whose success pretty much defined the band's image for all of eternity), one filler track that I for one love and find to be much more musically intriguing than the early-rock-by- numbers of the rest of the album ("Heads You Win - Tails I Lose"), two KICKASS cover tunes (the great surf instrumental "Moon Dawg" and Blue Cheer's classic "Summertime Blues" in what MUST have been the version that The Who covered at Leeds because the vocal harmonies are exactly the same and they sure as hey weren't in the Eddie Cochran version!).

But does these hits make up for the rest of the album? Does they? A miserably depressing "goodtime" song about a guy who loses his girlfriend to a stronger guy at the county fair, with her snottily calling him a "loser" in the song's fade-out? A ridiculous, darn near ASININE song about drinking root beer? A grotesque cover of Herb Alpert's Sominex jingle "Little Girl (You're My Miss America)"? A cutesy squeaky pellet of a song whose only redeeming quality is Brian Wilson falsettoing the words "Cuckoo! Cuckoo!" (if you want an even more adorable song about a cuckoo, PLEASE do yourself a nicety and buy the reissue of The Monks' Black Monk Time with bonus tracks. GREAT ALBUM.)?

And there are two other songs but I'm bored about discussing them, so you're going to have to buy the album for yourself to hear "Ten Little Indians" (a hilarious "Weird Al" Yankovic-like parody of "One Little, Two Little, Three Little Cabbage Patch") and the song with the weird unnatural chord sequence that's about some piece of clothing called a "shift." Because I have NO INTENTION of talking about those in - HEY! WHO STOLE MY LIQUID PAPER (SCREEN VERSION)?

BOTTOM LINE: Nice top you got on there, honey. But I'd rather see your bottom.

BOTTOM LINE #2: Weak lead vocals and some filler still fail to completely destroy the debut Beach Boys recording album. Thank you, Nick Venet!

But you know me, I'm always thanking Nick Venet for everything.

Reader Comments (Adrian Denning)
As good as 'Please Please My Bank Manager' by the threetles, that's for sure, although with far worse actual songs, overcome by far better sounds and harmonies. I dig it. (Michael J. West)
Hey, no fair. It seems to me you gotta judge an album in the context of its times, and by that I mean that albums in 1962 were not intended to be anything but a hit, its b-side, and filler, so as to exploit the single's success. So that makes SURFIN' SAFARI waaaaaaaaaaaaaay better than the average 1962 long-player. And successfully enough that whassisname, the guy who was in the band for this album and none of the others, has lived the rest of his life off just the royalties from this thing.

I will now negate the above statement by not giving this album any higher than a 6, either. It's really not all that great, but such promise!

Add your thoughts?

Surfin' USA - Capitol 1962
Rating = 7

Their best album yet!!!! (out of 2). Already, they've gotten over those Freshman scaredycats and now sound like the most confident, note-perfect and FUN FUN FUN (though that song isn't on this album - sorry if I confused you for a moment) beach blanket bingo rock and roll band in the history of Liverpool (though historians have tried to bury the issue, most of the Beach Boys' early material was actually about surfing in pools of liver).

What you have to understand and forgive is that Capitol Records were even more of a bunch of slave-driving pricks 40 years ago than they are today. Because they COULD, they forced the Beach Boys to release an album every 4 or 5 months while keeping them out on tour pretty much nonstop. This not only resulted in Brian Wilson having a nervous breakdown pretty early on, but it also resulted in a whole lot of mediocre albums. When you give a guy no time at all to create his original wares, you'd better feel damned lucky when he's still able to come up with songs as unforgettable as "Surfin' U.S.A." and "Shut Down," not to mention such gorgeous "filler" tracks as "Farmer's Daughter" and "Lonely Sea" (which is more melancholy than anything Del Shannon ever did).

(Well, I mean except for that ONE thing).

The most surprising and unexpected thing about this album is that a full 5 of the 12 songs are instrumentals! Who the hell listens to the Beach Boys for instrumentals???? That's like listening to Eric Clapton for any reason at all! Moving onward, other reasons to enjoy this second official Beach Boys LP include such new additions to the Brunswick Musical Stew as saxamaphones, electric pianos, boogie woogie pianos, xylophones and fuel- injected stingrays, which zoom through the studio knocking over all the instruments every couple of minutes.

Let me address a couple of important points here. The first is that Chuck Berry sued the Beach Boys for stealing his "Sweet Little Sixteen" and turning it into "Surfin' U.S.A." This was a valid thing to do, just as it was valid for Killing Joke to sue Nirvana for turning "Eighties" into "Come As You Are." This doesn't change the fact that "Surfin' U.S.A." and "Come As You Are" are fanFRIGGINtastic classic songs with completely different moods and elemental foci than the songs that they stole their riffs from. I mean, those "Everybody's goin' surfin'!" vocal harmonies are GENIUS! You've been there! You know what I'm talkin' `bout!

The other thing I have to point out is that for many, many years, I thought the first line of "Surfin' U.S.A." was "If everybody had an ULCER across the USA.." Imagine my hilarious self-awareness when I suddenly realized they were saying "If everybody had HEMORRHAGIC PANCREATITIS." I must have felt like a real asspipe!

The third thing I wanted to mention is that whenever I sing the verse to "Shut Down" to myself, I end up turning the third and fourth lines into "But Obi-Wan set me straight of course/He said `Go to Yoda and he'll show the force," a couple of zany, off- the-wall lyrics from "Weird Al" Yankovic's "Yoda" (parody of The Kinks' "Lola.")

The fourth and final thing is that lately I keep getting the urge to answer the phone, "Cheese Whiz Jim!" Should I do that, do you think? Or will it just confuse Ari Fleischer every time he calls me up to borrow my soundproofed silver van with the really loud radio and sliding door on the side that he and George drive around when they want to take photos of teenage girls and offer them weed?

My fifth point is to state my strong belief that every prisoner on death row should be put down IMMEDIATELY. Innocent stray dogs aren't allowed ten years of appeals - so why do we give that right to human shit? I give the death penalty an 8 out of 10.

Reader Comments (Adrian Denning)
How can they enjoy a Monkees sounding organ in 1963? Or are you talking about ( cough, GAY!, cough HOMO! ) Mike Love again?

Ever hear that story about how Bruce invited the guy from nineties Beach Boys sound-a-likes The High Llamas over to talk about producing a new Beach Boys album? Bruce and Mike were at the airport to meet him. The guy has just flown over from England, lands, and gets met by Mike Love who immediately calls him a faggot. (Michael J. West)
I hate the song "Surfin' USA." Sorry. But I do. It's always been a bit of a bore for me, something Brian shoulda passed off onto his favorite receptacle Jan and Dean.

But I love "Shut Down," I love "Lonely Sea," and I don't know what else is on this album. But I don't think you can find "Lonely Sea" anywhere else can you? That alone makes this one at least worth a 7/10.

Also I compliment you, Marky Mark, on switching over to the curly quotation marks. Didn't think we'd notice, did you, you scurvy reprobate? (Joe H.)
Agreed with the 7! Most people would write this album off, almost as much as Surfin Safari but this album has some excellent tunes that blow away anything off that album, IMO. Most notably "Lana", "Farmer's Daughter", "Lonely Sea" and "Shut Down". All classic songs! I love "Lana" the most, because it has such an excellent and beautiful melody. I never hear it mentioned for some reason! "Farmer's Daughter" also has a great melody and a beautiful Brian vocal, same with "Lonely Sea". "Surfin USA" is the main classic on here, but man is it overplayed! I still love the Brian parts a lot though ("Everybodys goin' surfin!"). Unfortunatly, too many guitar instrumentals, although i enjoy "Stoked" and the attempt at "Misirlou". "Finders Keepers" has more lovely falsetto from Brian (which i can never get sick of!!!!) and "Noble Surfer" has an equally lovely vibe solo. The rest isn't really worth mentioning, which is why i give it a 7. (Steven Fouts)
Actually, Mark, Chuck Berry was in prison for violating the Mann Act when "Surfin' USA" came out! The lawsuit was initiated by the publishing company rather than Berry himself. Your point about "Surfin' USA" being a true BB's record rather than a rip off is well made, however. Chuck recycled himself many times over. Speaking of Chuck Berry, it is high time you reviewed some of his albums! You are running a rock and roll review website, right?

Thanks for listening.

Add your thoughts?

Surfer Girl - Capitol 1963
Rating = 6

The Beach Boys continue their stream of 25-minute tossaside LPs by enjoying a Monkees-sounding organ ("I'm A Believer") that most likely has a name, and makes them sound like they're having fun in the arcade on the beach, rather than on the beach itself. Which may have been the case with Brian Wilson, who had never surfed even once in his life until some ridiculous NBC special in the mid-`70s. One of the songs has a saxophone too, perhaps played by a young Clarence Clemons while racist Mike Love was off being a complete prick somewhere.

The hits on this sub-half-hour cotton sock include the very pretty ballad of whiches title is are the cover's album. And the bouncy "Shut Down" rewrite "Little Deuce Coupe." And I don't know if they were hits, but "Hawaii" and "Catch A Wave" are catchy as two young beach songs could ever possibly hope to be - almost as fantastic as "Honalei - High above the Rainbow's End" and "Catch A Booger (In Your Mouth)."

Oh my good god - I just laughed my butt off at a web site! Go look at - hilarious!!! But make sure your butt is stapled on tight!

But about the album - the most important track on here regarding the future of the Beach Boys would have to be Side B, Track 1, entitled "In My Room." Not only does this gentle, almost darkly somber ballad feature the most hypnotizing vocal harmonies on perhaps any song they ever did - it's also a frightening foreshadowing of the schizophrenic isolation in which Brian became immersed in the early `70s. Granted, he didn't really trust his lyrical instinct and generally co-wrote with other people (Car songs? Roger Christian! Other songs? Usher! Asher! Heck, I think M.C. Escher may have co-written a couple too! Honey, can you check "Johnny Carson"? NO, not his BALLSAC, dammit! Get the hell out of that sauna!) but the moods brought forth were his - HIS. And even way back in '63, he was seeking the solace of his room because the world was asking too much of him.

And by "the world," I of course mean the soul-sucking monsters at Capitol Records. Which is why there are so many half-assed bring-me-downs like the awful boring failures of "The Surfer YAWN" and "Your Summer YAWN" and the shameless ripoffs of "South Bay SUWANEE RIVER" and "Our Car MONEY THAT'S WHAT I WANT." And another thing - the song titles suck. Who names a song "The Surfer YAWN," for crying out loud?

Take it easy,
That Guy In Memento

Reader Comments (Michael J. West)
I don't know dick on this album except the oldies station staples. I'm just commenting because Mark told me to.

Oh, wait. I got one. The Beatles ripped off the concept of "In My Room" when they wrote "There's A Place," but no one ever says anything because they're the fuckin' Beatles and we love the fuckin' Beatles even though sometimes they ripped stuff off. Like the Beach Boys song, "In My Room." Which is on Surfer Girl. (Amanda Kenyon)
For years, I didn't know the words or title to "Little Deuce Coup" (hell, I barely knew what deuce coup was) and the lyrics always sounded like "little two scoop." It didn't make sense at all, but I never paid any attention to the rest of the lyrics and didn't really care. Maybe they were singing about an ice cream cone. Who the hell knew. (Joe H.)
I'd give this album a bit higher of a grade then most people, because it was the first album that made me fall in love with this band! The "In My Room"'s and the "Surfer Girl"'s and the "Hawaii"'s is mostly what done it. Especially "In My Room". I instantly fell in love with that gorgeous melody when i first heard it. "Catch A Wave" is also a definate highlight, with those incredible harmonies and instantly catchy melody (and dreamy harp playin too). The rest (besides "Little Deuce Coupe") are mostly neglected, but honestly there's not one song on here i'd call bad (though "Rocking Surfer" isn't too interesting). "The Surfer Moon" is a quite evokative song with great Brian Wilson vocal, "Your Summer Dream" is a pretty ballad with another great Brian Wilson vocal, "Our Car Club" is catchy as hell, "South Bay Surfer" IS a blatent and semi-obnoxious "Suwanee River" rip off but it still has the "Suwanee River" melody so it's still catchy, "Surfers Rule" has dumb lyrics but the fun is still there, and that falsetto part at the end still blows me away, and "Boogie Woodie" is cool boogieish piano instrumental that i dig. I'd probably give it a very very high 8 overall, because it's still not a classic like it could of been (just mix the best songs from here and from Shut Down Vol 2 and you got an awesome classic right there) but it's still the first album that the Beach Boys showed their talents and where Brian broke away and won creative freedom and called the shots (with amazing results). (Brendan S. McCalmont)
Just to clarify something, 'In my room' is about Brian being beaten up by his dad. 'There's a place' is about John being dumped by his girlfriend in the pre-Yoko Ono years, but sure, sometimes the Beatles did rip-off stuff. SGT Pepper is just a big reworking of 'Skiffle', IMO, I actually haven't heard this album but the title track whcih I like. Bugger it, I have to get Beach Boys albums. I've got all the Beatles albums.
LMAO! is hilarious!! Thanx!

As for "Surfer Girl"? Eh...not as hilarious.

Add your thoughts?

Little Deuce Coupe - Capitol 1963
Rating = 6

If this album were a woman, it would be a woman where four of her twelve boobs were on earlier women. This is a CAR-oriented album, aside from "Be True To Your School," which isn't about cars; presumably they intended at some point to overdub the word "Car" over "School" and didn't get around to it because Murry Wilson was busy bashing Brian in the side of the head until he went deaf in one ear. Some say it happened when he was a child - I choose, much like a Christian, to believe whatever the hell I want to believe, whether it goes against common sense or not. But about the Beach Boys. Their early sound was basic Chuck Berry-style early rock and roll combined with the vocal harmonies of `50s doowop bands and The Four Freshman and barbershop quartets and what have you. And it was the vocal harmonies - led by falsetto Brian Wilson and bass Mike Love - that made their best music so amazing for the ear to behold. Unfortunately, even decent harmonies can't save half-assed songs rushed through the wringer by a hungry record company machine.

As such, three out of the six great songs you'll find on here are songs that you likely already own - "Little Deuce Coupe," "409" and "Shut Down (Turn Off, the b-side of The Little River Band's "Lonesome Loser" Single)." The other three are worth owning, but at what cost? At what cost, I beg of you?

The answer is five billion dollars. For "No-Go Showboat" alone. Anybody who doesn't like that song has the evil of a thousand demons coursing through their very soul. As for the bad songs, they're bad. And bad for the Beach Boys means bland Four Freshman-style slow nothing ballads and "rockin' rollers" that sound identical to previously recorded Beach Boys songs, but with one chord changed.

I hereby declare today Warm Voices Rearranged day. My friends Gregg Turkington and Brandan Kearney have written a book of Anagram Record Reviews and I demand that you go out and purchase it right now. It's funny, it's cheap (at MOST, 12 dollars) and Gregg was kind enough to do one for me PERSONALLY! It's not in the book, but it's GOOD! Go see the "Mark Prindle" review page and look for Gregg's "review" of Only The Good Die Young -- consider it a free sample of the kind of genius you'll find in Warm Voices Rearranged by Gergg Turkkinggville and Brenda Karter. (btw, "Warm Voices Rearranged" is an anagram of "Anagram Record Reviews" - SEE??!??!?!! THEY'RE GOOD!!!! THEY KNOW WHAT "TIME" IT IS!!! OR SHOULD I SAY WHAT "EMIT" IT IS!!!! AHAHAHAHAHAH!!!1 HAHAHAHAHAHHAAHAHAH!!!! AHAHHAAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHHAAH

Is my intestine supposed to go all the way down my pant leg like that?

Reader Comments (Steven Knowlton)
Not to diminish whatever abuse Murry Wilson handed out, but he didn't make Brian go deaf. That was a result of nerve damage caused by an infection he had as a baby.

I think a really interesting moment is the liner notes on the extra "Pet Sounds" LP issued with "Carl and the Passions" where they say the album is issued in mono "just like Brian originally mixed it." Of course he had to mix in mono; stereo doesn't work unless you've got both ears! But the pathetic thing is the way that note sounds like Brian's dead already. (Michael J. West)
The absolute low point of 1960s song/album recycling. Way worse than Beatles VI. But that may just be because, although I did mention before that I hate "Surfin' USA," it's not absolute pap and silly bullshit like "Be True To Your School." That song reminds me of every high-school football coach I ever knew in Winston-Salem, especially the one who got furious and canceled a pep rally due to "lack of school spirit." Huh? Oh, the album. It's a 4 at best, and only because I like "No Go Showboat" and "Shut Down" so. (Joe H.)
I'm not a big fan of this one. Too much filler to me, though there's still some great songs. The previously released songs already rule ("Shut Down", "Little Deuce Coupe", "409", and "Our Car Club"), and there's some other great songs as well. "Ballad Of Ole' Betsy" is a very nice ballad, "Be True To Your School" is a catchy hit single (dumb lyrics, however), "Car Crazy Cutie", "Spirit Of America", and "No-Go Showboat" are great songs, "Custom Machine" has it's moments, but the rest i really could do without. "Cherry Cherry Coupe" is actually a re-write of "Land Ahoy" (a Surfin Safari outtake) and i prefer that one more. "A Young Man Is Gone" is "Their Hearts Are Full Of Spring" with the lyrics changed, and i prefer the version of "Their Hearts.." on the Smiley Smile/Wild Honey 2-fer. I'd give it a really high 6. (Alex Stevenson)
this ain't no 6 out of possible 10 record. OK? some newbies may have some kind of bullshit CD full of all kinds of crap. the 1963 vinyl rocks and you can suck my tailpipe if we disagree. i always liked the BOYS car tunes. shit, if Brian went in the ocean he'd be harpooned and that would REALLY suck.

Add your thoughts?

Shut Down, Volume Two - Capitol 1964
Rating = 6

This is totally what you're saying right now: "Hay Mark, You didn't review Shut Down, Volume One." Well, what you're saying is the truth, and I have nobody but myself and The Beach Boys to blame. Because the first volume is a compilation featuring The Beach Boys, Some Other Bands and That One Band with The Guy. In a poor excuse for bad ideas, somebody decided to declare THIS album the sequel of THAT album, which, for a modern-day comparison, would have been like The Ramones taking End Of The Century and naming it Rock `N' Roll High School, Vol. II, even WITHOUT Brian Eno or Todd Rundgren taking part. (Which would be NO FAIR, even though both of those artists are completely inferior and I know that for a fact because I own Headcandy and TR1: The Individualist, which I'm told are the finest albums by each artist).

But back to the subject of today's lecture: Black Holes. A black hole is an area of strong gravitational force created by a champagne supernova in the sky. Likewise, The Beach Boys album mentioned above has a lot of Brian's false(teeth)tto and lots of songs where the words come out of one speaker and the music comes out of the other, which I find fairly amusing since Brian Wilson can only hear out of one ear. "What happened to the music?," I'm certain he says to himself every time he listens to it. "Aw jeez, I. Oh God, I'll never be as good as Paul McCartney," he likely continues. "WHY AM I SUCH A FAILURE??? I TRY SO HARD BUT IT OH GOD STOP TORMENTING ME!" he continues. And, regardless of my seemingly lackadaisical attitude, I'm not mocking him or his disease. He has paranoid schizophrenia, you understand. That's a very, very bad thing to have. But more about that later!

There is no real advancement per se on this album, but it DOES contain the greatest early Beach Boys song ever, objectively speaking - "Fun, Fun, Fun," which influenced not only the completely non-classic Ramones song "A Real Cool Time," but also the amazingly shitty song "I Wanna Puke" by a young, crappy Mark Prindle (see, that "good" song ends with the "hilar"iou"s" line, "And we'll have fun fun fun til I vomit in my Dad's Chevrolet!"). Likewise, this album includes two of their best-ever ballads, "Don't Worry Baby" and "The Warmth Of The Sun." And those harmony vocals hit mesmerizing highs on the incredibly spiteful Ray Davies-style character assassination "Pom Pom Play Girl."

But the bad stuff is as quarter-assed as ever: I know he was a cute young man and all, but there was NEVER any indication that Dennis Wilson was good enough to deserve a DRUM solo. It's just a straight unaccompanied surf beat for two minutes! "This Car Of Mine" is nuthin' but a basic magaysic, "Keep An Eye On Summer" seems to me a rather extraneous ballad compared to the other two and Oh Dear Christ On A Television, the spoken word piece "'Cassius' Love Vs. `Sonny' Wilson" did not need to be released. The joke (such as it is) involves Brian Wilson making fun of Mike Love's nasally voice, and Mike making fun of Brian's falsetto. Somehow, I imagine the real-life Mike Love being a bit more mean-spirited than "At least I don't sound like Mickey Mouse with a cold!" - more along the lines of "Brian, you fucking insane prick - what the fuck are you trying to do, destroy our careers? Stop dating that fucking spade, stop writing your fucking ego music and come up with some fucking hits, you mental incompetent."

You see, I believe everything I read, and that factionally questionable bio Heroes And Villains told me that Mike is a foul-tempered, wife- beating, money-grubbing racist who verbally berated Brian during the most difficult period of the young man's life. And if a questionable bio says it's true, hey who am I to question authority - and let's face it, Mike Love DOES look like a bastard. Look at the guy! He's bald! Name me ONE bald person who doesn't deserve to be buried alive out in the desert.

See? It can't be done!

Reader Comments (Michael J. West)
"'Cassius' Love Vs. 'Sonny' Wilson" is a stupid track, no doubt. But it does merit release, because it wins the all-time award for Ironic Foreshadowing in a Rock Song. Heh heh.

Oh, also I love this album. Because of something else I disagree with you on, Marky Poo. (May I call you Marky Poo? Thanks.) And that's that there's MAJOR advancement here: Brian's Phil Spector influence really comes into its own on "Don't Worry Baby" (which Brian wrote for the Ronettes, incidentally, before Phil rejected it), which also uses the Gold Star Studios house musicians. Same is true, though to a lesser extent, on "Pom Pom Play Girl."

Also, somebody please explain to me how "Warmth of the Sun" is a tribute to JFK (which Brian said it was).

Also also, my dad is bald. You insensitive prick. (Joe H.)
Capitol has been hounding Brian and the band for way too many albums. Little Deuce Coupe only came out like a month after Surfer Girl and this one came out like 6 or so months after Surfer Girl i think. Thus, both albums are full of a few great songs, and mostly filler, because Brian just wasn't capable of writing that many songs in that short of a period! He's only human, afterall. The songwriting increased a lot on here though, unlike Little Deuce Coupe which was stagnant and a step below Surfer Girl in quality. "Fun Fun Fun" and "Don't Worry Baby" are really good hit singles, especially the latter which is a dang beautiful song. "Keep An Eye On Summer" is also a personal favorite, with a damn amazing falsetto vocal from Brian as usual. "Warmth Of The Sun", "This Car Of Mine" (with a cute Dennis vocal), "Pom Pom Play Girl" and the "Why Do Fools Fall In Love" cover are all great tunes, but the rest is insignificant. The most blatent of the filler stuff is the stupid skit "Cassius Love Vs Sonny Wilson", "Shut Down Part II", and the pointless drum instrumental "Denny's Drums" (although it was quite ahead of it's time though!). The "Louie Louie" cover is interesting, though still insignificant. I'd give this one either a very very high 6 or 7, overall.

Add your thoughts?

All Summer Long - Capitol 1964
Rating = 7

Before I discuss this record, I really must bring up an important topic: Did you ever get a boner because you thought you were looking at a woman's nipple but it turned out to be a man's nipple? I did once and I got so angry, I took a scissor, chopped off the nipple and threw the rest of the guy into my Piel Large Handbag with Organizer, whose product features include the ability to open to a full organizer, a large main compartment with a center zipper, an inside zip pocket and rear zip pocket and an adjustable shoulder strap. It comes with a five year manufacturer warranty, it's made of NAKED leather (boners not included!) and its dimensions are 11" H x 4" W x 12.5" L - Buy NOW and SAVE!

The amazing harmonies continue! And each member has his own personal liner notes on the back, giving a special sneak peek into their unique personalities. The "burn the candle at both ends" party boy Dennis Wilson talks about his "fast life of driving my Sting Ray and XKE" (like a one-man Dead Man's Curve!); early egotist Brian Wilson brags about his inspirations and ideas and about how "the fellas have worked so well with me"; brand new member Al Jardine discusses "tranquilizers before every meal" (???), Carl Wilson just thanks everybody in the world and Mike "No Glove No" Love sounds a heck of a lot nicer than everybody always says he is! But none of this has anything to do with handbags or music. And you KNOW that. I'm not fooling anybody. I'm just stalling so I don't have to talk about the songs. But you know what critically despised, untalented musicians always say: "Talking about music is like dancing about architecture." So I'll write a ballet about designing a building - how goddamned hard is that, you pricks???

But "Itchload" might get bored if I go too long without talking about music, so I'd better get to the album now. Lord knows I don't want "Itchload" to get mad at me! Prick.

Classics include "I Get Around" with its weird, stop-start, drumless distorted guitar riff that somehow gets called "a gem of pop music" by people who I guess don't notice the weird, stop-start, drumless distorted guitar riff. Great song! But certainly not a "normal pop song" by any stretch of the Armstrong. Further classics include "Little Honda" - a song about a scooter later covered by Yo La Tengo! That's Spanish for "I Have It"! Well, I had the pleasure of seeing that very band play a live concert way back in '93-'94 and let me tell you something - if "It" means "anything positive at all," then they need to brush up on their Spanish! Further classics include "Wendy," a kind of half-ballad, half-pop rocker thing that I personally don't like all that much but the Descendents did! They covered it! And how about "Hushabye"? That great `50s -style doowop lullaby was so beautiful, the Beach Boys covered it on their All Summer Long LP! Eh?

Look, all these albums sound the same. They weren't even really "albums" in the sense that you and I know them. They were singles and filler, singles and filler - that was all they were meant to be. UNTIL! (very shortly) UNTIL!

I will now describe how each song sounds, for the benefit of absolutely nobody since people who own it already know what they sound like and people who don't own it will have no idea what I'm talking about. The intro to "Wendy" sounds just like The Ventures and nobody cares. "Do You Remember?" is a rewrite of "Little Honda" with the stupidest nostalgic lyrics since Ryan Adams' "The Summer of `69ing Old People" and you'd have to be autistic to give a flying friggidydoo. "Carl's Big Chance" is the theme to Sesame Street and this information will save lives. "We'll Run Away" is a bouncy waltzy 50sy ballad, and I'm the first person in the world to ever notice. The title track is bouncy with great harmonies, which is a really helpful description, don't you think? "Girls On The Beach" is identical to "Surfer Girl" except, where "Surfer Girl" is great, "Girls On The Beach" is a piece of shit. Otherwise, the songs are note-by-note identical. "Don't Back Down" is an oddball surf song that I don't like but am afraid to say I don't like because I know somebody will send in a reader comment saying, "Didn't you notice how creative the song construction is?" Why yes, I did. And I thought, "My, what creative construction he used in piecing together this song with the shitty, emotionless melody." "Drive-In" is a hoot of a bouncy surf number highlighted by the most poorly overdubbed lead vocal since Moses overdubbed the fourth commandment after flubbing a line in the original version of The Bible.

But none of these songs mean shim compared to the REAL highlight of the album, and the reason that it has been revered by fans worldnation for weeks today - "Our Favorite Recording Sessions." It's a collection of "hilarious" bloopers that are about as funny as oh I don't know. Hell, a pink guy.

Reader Comments (Michael J. West)
Hey! I never noticed that the "I Get Around" riff was drumless 'cuz it's so groovin, but you're right! Wicked!

I'd also like to point out that the Beach Boys were not the first to do "Little Honda," though it is a Wilson-Love song. It was originally done by the most clever Beach-Boys impersonators ever, a one-off called the Hondells. For a Honda commercial. And their version kicks the Beach Boys' version's ass.

Also whoever did "Hushabye." Seems as though if the Beach Boys didn't do it first, they didn't do it best. Even when they wrote it. "Wendy," however, may have been the most perfect song they ever did, and I still almost cry when it gets to the "ooooh" part under Mike's lead vocal. Man that's gorgeous.

And somehow I like "Our Favorite Recording Sessions." Why? (Joe H.)
The main classic for the early surfy rock Beach Boys. "I Get Around" is the best song on the album, of course, and it's a new step in the direction of Brian's brilliantly growing production talent. The harmony arrangements are out of this world too. The title track and "Wendy" are also should-be classics, and "Hushabye", being a cover song, has some absolutely gorgeous harmonies in it, and totally kills whatever worth the original had. I don't see why you have so much hatred over "Girls On The Beach" though! That song has some absolutely beautiful harmonys in it, "Surfer Girl" rip off or not. "Don't Back Down" is also an awesome surf rocker, one of the best and last they'd ever do. I'll never see what you're talking about when you say it has a "shitty emotionless melody"! Maybe it's Mike Love's vocals. It's a good thing Brian would top himself and go into an even better direction one album later though, because songs like "Do You Remember", "Drive-In", "Little Honda" and "Carls Big Chance" show Brian was starting to grow out of normal surf-pop/rock songs, but luckily Brian gave those songs some subtle creativity that made them better then an average Beach Boys song ("Do You Remember" with its awesome groove, "Drive-In" with unusual chord changes, and "Carls Big Chance" with a far more sophisticated Spector-ish production for a surf instrumental). "Our Favorite Recording Sessions" is usually called obvious filler, which it might be, but i think it's cute and interesting for a Beach Boys fan like me (it's kinda like hearing studio banter from bootlegs), so i dig it. This album i'd give a 9, but i don't pull it out often as the band would go on to bigger and better things from here.
Boy oh boy. Those Hawthorne dadd-i-ohs are starting to grow out of their denim shorts, and then some. Yeah, this is where they really come into their own as a recording act, with some ace tunes, and Brian's frighteningly brilliant innovations. Fillers still present, but hey, the prime cuts sure as hell make up for the tiny amounts of spam.

Add your thoughts?

Concert - Capitol 1964
Rating = 9

For years, people have asked me why I like this album so much. The arguments are that the fake applause sounds more like a jet engine than a group of human beings and that 8 of the 13 songs are covers of sub-Brian Wilson material. My argument is this:





There is not a single Mack on this album. Every single track is a Peterbilt or a Kenworth. And the mood of the performance can best be summed up in the title of the first song - "FUN FUN FUN!" I find this convenient, for I couldn't have written such a clever sentence if the first song had been "Little Deuce Coupe." That phrase doesn't sum up anything. Had they chosen to package the album inside a car, perhaps it would have been a different story. But as it is, we can all breathe a sigh of relief that the first song, like the rest of the album, is "FUN FUN FUB!"

Now let me expand on the Peterbilt/Kenworth argument by actually making any sense to anyone besides myself and Mark Springsteen, who lived down the road from me when I was a kid and taught me how cool Peterbilts and Kenworths were, and how much Macks sucked cock.:

Point A (Exhibit A): How much could you dislike ANY album that features "Fun Fun Fun," "Little Deuce Coupe," "In My Room," "Hawaii" and "I Get Around"?

(Gross!) Point B(lanky Steve has a booger!): Mike Love sounds friendly! And gives some of the most entertaining vocal performances of his life in his portrayal of a bunch of insane, confused Texans ("Long, Tall Texan") and a partying, growling Igor ("Monster Mash").

Point C: Kooky stage patter! They make the crowd "yell summ'm" before Carl kicks ass on "Let's Go Trippin'!" They joke about graduating "grade school, middle school and hair school - I MEAN! High school!" (a joke that makes no sense at all, quite frankly, but what do you expect from five guys that high on crystal meth). Dennis destroys the sanctity of The Four Freshmen's "Graduation Day" by shouting "DAY!" at the end before the other guys come in for the harmony. They even present an instrument-by-instrument introduction to "Little Deuce Coupe," revealing that Al Jardine's guitar is completely silent in the mix!

Point D: They pay tribute to their favorite bands! Not just the Four Fleischman, but Chuck Berry (a speedy honky version of "Johnny B. Goode"), The Rivingtons (the hilarious, unforgivably catchy "Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow") and Jan & Dean ("The Little Old Lady From Pasadena" is as great as any Beach Boys song - what a great tune!).

And finally Point A: Every member gets a vocal solo! Dennis does "The Wanderer"! Brian does "In My Room"! Al doesn't do one and neither does Carl!

I admit that last argument wasn't as strong as the others.

Reader Comments (Adrian Denning)
I'd like to hear Paul McCartney or any of those Beatles guys sing falsetto like Brian does here "LIVE IN CONCERT, DIRECT FROM HAWTHORNE!" He couldn't, could he, you see? Why? Because Paul and those 'crazy' Beatles lads were from Liverpool.

Besides, Brian is like a supernova all over this album of mouldy oldies. Hey, did you hear that Beatles live album from 1964? ( okay, so there wasn't one, but lets imagine.... ) Sounded like a girl screaming for thirty minutes. I'd still give it a four out of ten though, because you know, Ringo has a big nose, and it IS the Beatles! Certified five star artists and incapable of breathing without being acclaimed as genius...... Jesus Christ, no wonder Brian went loopy. Oh right, his father. Mike Love. Eating shit off a plate! I get you!!

You know the initial reaction amongst American musicians when The Beatles debuted nationwide on TV with 'I Wanna Hold Your Hand'? The teenage girls were delirious in delight, but others couldn't understand what the hell was going on.

PS. I like Mike Love. Especially his poems. That's not funny, is it? (Steven Knowlton)
Mark, where have you been to not get the "hair school" joke? Didn't you see Grease, with the climactic ballad "Beauty School Dropout"? Hair school is where you go when you can't hack it in high school. Are you sure you grew up in the USA? And not North Korea, where the state of hair care hasn't progressed past 1958? (Judging by Kim Jong Il's bouffaint).

Add your thoughts?

Christmas Album - Capitol 1964
Rating = 6

It's a very sweet idea, and it even works for a while. What we have here are five GREAT new Beach Boys original Christmas songs played surf/beach style - and I do mean great; they clearly put as much thought into these vocal lines as they did with even NON-holiday songs. But then they start doing all these boring old Christmas carols and you'd might as well be listening to the Moron Tabernacle Choir for all the "fun" you're having. I'll give them "properties at a reasonable rate" for the unbelievably complex vocal harmonies they do in "We Three Kings of Orient Are," but jeeeesus chRISt is that a depressing piece of music. Then the blandness really sets in with Bing Crosby-excitement solo vocal ballads like "White Christmas," "Blue Christmas," "Brown Christmas," "Flesh Christmas" and "Periwinkle Easter," without even the COMMON DECENCY of guitars backing them up. First five? Guitars! Last 7? Interminable (a word that sucks and should never EVER be used, incidentally) horns and strings. The concept was to make one happy rollicking Christmas side for the kids (which they did! And it's great!) and one slower, more serious side for the adults (which they did! And I'm gonna have to assume that adults were different 38 years ago because it has the effect of 40 or 50 sleeping pills on me. I die every time I listen to it!)

Let me bring an end to another wrong clich‚. Nothing rhymes with "orange"! Yes it does. "Porridge" rhymes with "orange." So does "storage." But they don't have N's!!!! So fuckin what, they don't have n's? Does "fame" rhyme with "vain"? Fine, go tell Ray Davies that "Celluloid Heroes" doesn't rhyme because "fame" doesn't have an "n." Does "been" rhyme with "dream"? Fine, go tell Paul McCartney that "Eleanor Rigby" doesn't rhyme because "dream" doesn't have an `n." "Porridge" and "storage" rhyme THE FUCK out of "orange" and if anybody ever tries to tell you different, belittle them and act really superior. And if it's your school teacher, call her a "monkey" and ask her, "Who wrote your lesson plan? A FOUR-year-old?"

Reader Comments (Michael J. West)
This is my favorite Christmas album, even if I did buy the budget exploitation version that they had at CVS for four dollars. The fact that their versions of "Frosty the Snowman" and "We Three Kings" don't make the oldies station's holiday rotation is blasphemy. The pope said so.

Still and all, "Little Saint Nick" does make the oldies station, and it is the best one on here anyway. Whoever says it's not is lying.

9/10 at least.
A perfect "orange" rhyme (ask Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. Ohwaityoucan'tonaccountofhe'sdead):

Door Hinge

Add your thoughts?

Today! - Capitol 1965
Rating = 8

Ahhh yeah, Oasis rules. Today! Is gonna be the day! It's gonna be the big ol' day! Buy now! You should somehow! And a shooby dooby doobity doo! Let me tell you something - those guys keep getting better with every album they release. I especially love Revolver.

But on to Brian Wilson's old band The Beastie Boys and their 1965 CD Today!. This was the first record Brian put together after having a nervous breakdown on a plane on tour and telling the boys that he wasn't going to tour anymore because he wanted to devote all his time to songwriting and album production. It was a brilliant move that made their albums gooder automatically.

Brian was really hot on famous producer Phil Spector's "Wall of Sound" production style so he STOLE the crap out of it to give this album a really neat, thick, orchestral sound. If you're unfamiliar with Phil Spector's "Wall of Voodoo," let me susplain it a bit. What Phil did was record like eight billion tracks of piano, horns, guitars, organs, drums and strings, put heavy reverb on them so it sounds like they're all being played in a really big room, then cram them altogether in the mix so that you get really clear lead vocals backed by a throbbing symphonic muffled ball of cotton playing chords and notes, with an occasional bright instrument like a high-pitched lead guitar or harpsichord rising above the din. It's a really neat effect that even works on The Ramones' End Of The Century, even though nobody likes that album but me. So that's the kind of sound Brian gets here.

Most of the songs are great too, even if the first few all seem to have awfully similar vocal melodies. Tune in today for some great surf guitar ("Dance Dance Dance"!), a lot of terrific piano pop with occasional girl group influences ("Don't Hurt My Little Sister"!), the same swell vocal harmonies as always (all of them!) and two of the greatest Beach Boys compositions of all time -- the haunting ballad "Kiss Me Baby" and an early, experimental run-through of the soon-to- be-legendary-and-for-damn-good-reason angst rocker "Help Me Rhonda."

The only "ingredients" in this "tasty brew" that don't "tempt my palate" are a couple "dishes" of uninnovative `50s doowop balladry and "Bull Session With The `Big Daddy'," a two- minute "bowl of intenstinal bile with a spoon in it" in which nothing happens AT ALL. The guys chit-chat about getting some fast food, answer maybe one interview question and then get faded out. Question: WHY????????

Question 2: What did Mike Love like to chew on before gigs?

Answer to both: Brian's Nuts!

Reader Comments (Joe H.)
This album is the first time Brian showed what talents he really had. Sure All Summer Long had "I Get Around" (among others) and Surfer Girl had "Surfer Girl" (among a few others like "Catch A Wave"), but the songs on this album like "Kiss Me Baby", "When I Grow Up (To Be A Man)", "Please Let Me Wonder", and "In The Back Of My Mind" are amazing songs that reach closer to Pet Sounds-level then people think. There's not a song on here i dislike, i love them all (except "Big Daddy" of course)! Even the two that seem like throwaways ("Good To My Baby" and "Don't Hurt My Little Sister") are just as infectious as any beautiful piece of Beach Boys pop. Contains more Brian falsetto too, so you can't beat that. I must confess that i like the version of "Help Me Rhonda" (or "Help Me Ronda", as it's spelled for this album version) better then the single version, which most people call superior to this one. I love the harmonica, the clicky sounding tambourine, the weird false fade-outs and drop outs, and also a more "wall-of-sound" Phil Spector-ish production. The other strikes me as overproduced, but maybe because i heard this version first. Other highlights are the incredibly excitable and upbeat "Dance Dance Dance" and "Do You Wanna Dance" (no wonder they both have the word "dance" in the title). "Bull Session With Big Daddy" is really pointless and stupid though, which ends the album poorly, unfortunatly. Overall, i give it a 9!
In the words of Duncan Stewart - "Great". 9/10.
Just a little tidbit. On "Bull Sessions" when Brian says that Captitol exec. Dick Rising was a great help that is their version of the Beatles dirty messages i.e. tit tit tit, fish and finger pie. There wasn't anybody named Dick Rising working for Capitol at the time.
If only the whole album would've had the same standard as the first five tracks. Then I would possibly prefer it even to Pet Sounds. But it just gets weak after Rhonda. But at the start, great arrangement, catchy songs, catchy lyrics, brilliant vocals. Sometimes I wish bands today had the same honest approach towards pop music, but then I guess I wouldn't be into the BBs. Only today's (no pun intended) phonyness and pretentiousness could make a record like this so enjoyable to me. One thing that did get me a little disappointed though; for some reason I always assumed Brian was doing the vocals to the opener. From a musical point of view I suppose they're not incredible, but I thought maybe Brian really wanted to sing it, instead of giving it to Mike. It made it endearing somehow. But apparently not. Oh well. 7-8/10.

Add your thoughts?

Summer Days (And Summer Nights!!) - Capitol 1965
Rating = 8

There are so many great singers in this band! Mike Love does a real gas of a job with the Motowny "The Girl From New York City," the sound effects- laden surf/boardwalk anthem "Amusement Parks U.S.A.," the gorgeous double- bass-quintuple-ascension-and-high-piano-plinking "Salt Lake City" and the classic rewrite of "Happy Trails" (later covered by Van Halen!) entitled "California Girls" (later covered by Van Halen's David Lee Roth!). He's always great singing those happy notes- aplenty surf-style melodies that Brian writes so often. Just a normal midlevel voice, much less nasally here than in the early days, and a real hoot of goodness.

Then there's Al Jardine, Gock Rod. Al's voice is a little higher and saltier than Mike's, but still sounds killer on the re-gendered Crystals classic "Then I Kissed Her" and especially the hit single version of "Help Me Rhonda," which should be playing on every stereo in America right now because it's such a great song. "She was gonna be my bride and I was gonna be her man/But she let another guy come between us and it shattered my plans." You feel the pain, right? I do! "Baw baw baw baw!"

And don't forget to purchase a ticket to ride over to Carl Wilson's very first lead vocal (or so it says in the liner notes here) "Girl Don't Tell Me." And I have to second the emotion expressed in these very same liner notes that it's amazing that he never sang lead before because he has a great voice. Kind of a cross between Mike's normal guy toddle-oo and Brian's falsetto. Or rather, like a fatter version of Brian, slightly lower in pitch, as if more food is in the tummy. Sounds great! I'm trying very hard to learn the difference between these guys' voices and I recommend that you do the same because chances are good that when you meet St. Peter (Penis) at the Pearly (Semen-Drenched) Gates, he'll say you can't get into Heaven if you can't identify the lead vocalist of "Summer Means New Love."

But don't let that holier-than-thou prick fool you - "Summer Means New Love" HAS no lead vocalist!!!! It's instrumental! Up YOURS, Guy In The Bible! Which reminds me of a hilarious Emo Phillips joke. "What has four legs in the morning, two legs in the afternoon and three legs at night?"

A horse! It has four legs in the morning, then you whack off two of its legs in the afternoon, then you glue one back on at night." HAHHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!

But back to the vocalists. You'd be a goof to forget about Brian Wilson's falsetto, a fancy musical term meaning that he's singing really high notes but "falsely." Or rather he's singing at an octave much higher than his normal voice would reach on a cloudy day. I'll be blunt - he's singing like a GIRL. Like Frankie Valli or Lou Christie. And just like those two fine minstrels, Brian's falsetto can start to sound really whiny and irritating after a while. Not on "Let Him Run Wild" though! But then I suppose it would be pretty hard to ruin a pop song as beautiful as "Let Him Run Wild" (which would have fit in PERFECTLY on the soon-to-be-discussed Pet Sounds). And don't even get me BEGUN on the cheery "You're So Good To Me," which he sings mostly in his normal voice until the woman inside bursts out for the complete Four Seasons ripoff chorus.

Dennis has a voice too, but not on this album. Look for his voice elsewhere.

Musically, this album hits all the same high poppy, sad, surfin', doowoppy, soulful notes as Today!, but produced much more cleanly and less Wall of Soundy. Same great mix of rock and orchestral instruments too. The only mistake is "I'm Bugged At My Old Man." You can tell by the lyrics that it's supposed to be a joke, but - see - three members of this band, including the author of this track, had an incredibly abusive father. So it's somehow not funny to hear Brian's quivering, uncomfortable lead vocal tell "jokes" about his father locking him in his room and ripping the phone out of the wall. The "response" doowop vocals sound just as uncertain, as if the boys fear Murry could burst into the room at any time to bash them all deaf in one ear like he did to Brian. This song should have been left in the quickly sickening brain that thought it up. The rest of the album is GREAT though! And you can find it on a CD alongside Today!!!! A "two-fer"!!!

Man, I loved that funny little "two-fer" in Caddyshack. "Hey!" said Rodney Dangerfield. "That kangaroo stole my ball!"

Jesus, that didn't even approach making any sense.

Reader Comments (Michael J. West)
Now, everyone and his Uncle Rajeev knows that Pet Sounds is the greatest and most acclaimed Beach Boys album. But, if you're looking for the most essential Beach Boys album, the one that runs the gamut of everything the Beach Boys did best, it's gotta be Summer Days (and Summer Nights). Surf music, big production music, doowoppiness, Chuck Berry's all right here.

Of course "California Girls" remains the centerpiece of the album (why don't you mention that one?), despite how much is crammed into it. I loved that song when I was about six, hated it when I was twelve because I'd loved it so much at six, then loved it again when I heard how dense the arrangement was.

And yet, "Help Me Rhonda" is the real best one on this album, and possibly my favorite Beach Boys song of all time. Certainly the one with the best, biggest, most cool production, begging the question: "Less Wall of Soundy? What the Hell are you talking about?" Of course I haven't heard Today! all the way through, so no more talking.

10. (Devin Lawrence)
I have no insight. Summer Days is better than many online critics think, but that doesn't mean I could be a better critic than them. [Paste funny, original, potty joke here] (Joe H.)
A slight step down from Today since there's 2 songs i don't care about like the "Then I Kissed Her" cover, and "The Girl From New York City". You can also tell the guys (*cough*Mike Love*cough) was pressuring Brian to stay true with the main Beach Boys formula that got them successful, and at the same time Brian was still experimenting and trying to write more uncommercial, subtle stuff. "You're So Good To Me", "Salt Lake City", and" Amusement Parks USA" thus are more lightweight then the stuff on Today although they still contain some great complex arrangements and awesome melodys. "Summer Means New Love", "Let Him Run Wild", and "California Girls" are amazing songs though, and are all a further step in Brian's quickly evolving genius. "Help Me Rhonda" alone combines both the lightweight and the ambitious side, however, which is probably the reason why it's a Beach Boys classic number 1 hit (same with "Good Vibrations"). It appears Brian also didn't have enough material to fill a record, so "I'm Bugged At My Ol' Man" (which i think is hilarious), "Girl Don't Tell Me" (sorta resembles "Ticket To Ride" like people say but i think it's a great song and the first time Carl shows his gorgeous voice), and "And Your Dreams Come True" (more amazing harmony arrangements from Brian, can't beat those) could of been songs Brian came up with at the last minute. Still a great album! Doesn't really flow as an album, but the songs are all really great! I give it a really really high 8. (John)

Ok, thanks for that incoherent rant. Back to more of your reviews of albums I've otherwise never heard more than the lead single of in my life.
I've been reading your reviews for quite some time and love this site. Yesterday i was reading your beach boys reviews and noticed that you said that in the booklet for this album it says that carl's first vocal was on "girl don't tell me'. So today i'm going through my beach boys music and come across a song that was unreleased but predates the aformentioned "girl don't tell me" by a year. Its "all dressed up for school." You probably don't care but i thought I'd just point that random thing out for no real reason.
Personally I find this to be a pretty weird record for being the Beach Boys. Weird in a bad way. It just seems so indifferent. I can't find a single song on it that I truly like. Possibly the "Help Me, Rhonda" bit, but I can already get a different version of it on Today!, which is way better. The good ones, like "Salt Lake City" or "Girl Don't Tell Me" are just good, not great. As for "California Girls", it's not bad, but it feels like I could easily name 20 BB songs that are without a doubt better. To put it in a simpler way; Summer Days etc. is a dull album if you ask me. A weak 6.

Add your thoughts?

Party! - Capitol 1965
Rating = 8

The Beach Boys are throwing a party! Bring Your Own Hairpiece! Out come the acoustic guitars, bongos, cover tunes and overdubbed morons pretending to be at a party. This record is so much better than it has any right being, thanks to a fantastic set list which has the Beech Boys lending their beautiful voices to three Beatles songs (Dennis sings "You've Got To Hide Your Love Away"!), the Everly Brothers' "Devoted To U," a second rendition of my beloved "Papa-Oo-Mow-Mow" and many, many thousands of other songs. The singing is great - close your eyes and it almost feels like you're right there, in your home, listening to The Beach Boys' Party CD. Unless you're playing it in your car or while piloting a 747, in which case close your eyes and it almost feels like you're John Denver.

That wasn't nice. But neither are those JERKS who think it's funny to make fun of Bob Dylan's lyrics as Jardine the Sardine tries to present an earnest, respectful reading to "The Times They Are A-Changin'." And if you think THAT's not irritating, try listening to a seemingly stoned off his drunk mind Brian Wilson singing unhilarious parodies of his own "I Get Around" and "Little Deuce Coupe" (which, just incidentally, isn't anywhere near as funny as my OWN parody, "Little Brown Poope"). And "Hully Gully," being a song that sucks, sucks. But all the others are great, and what's really cool is that the CD is TIMELESS. Go into any inner-city ghetto at about 11:30 at night, stand on the corner and just count how many cars drive by with The Beach Boys' Party blaring out the window. If any car ISN'T playing it, yell at them "KKK Forever!" because that's code for "Kan, kan, kan you please play that Beach Boys' Party album forever, please kind sir?" Then you guys can hang out together.

Reader Comments (Tom Joyce)
Beach Boys suck. Barbara Ann rules. It's one of the greatest songs ever written, by Chuck Fassert. The fact that you only mentioned the song like ONCE in the whole page, in the review of an irrelevant piece of crap, makes me sick. If you'd the reverse the ratio of Beach Boys and Barbara Ann mentioning instances on this page, you'd still mention the former ass-sucking instance one time too many. (In fact they still suck ass, I'm just a clumsy writer.)

Thank you. This has been an excercise in futility and pointless bickering. Send 5 dollars for the full course on videotapes.

Add your thoughts?

* Pet Sounds - Capitol 1966 *
Rating = 10

I've spent my entire life declaring this album overrated, and that's not right. I shouldn't have done that. There are many other "critics' faves" that are more deserving of that title, such as Patti Smith's Horses and Samir Sablini's Bellydance with Samir Sablini. But you must understand - having first become familiar with the record as a young boy growing up in the enigmatic Mound Builder civilization of the Mississippi Valley, I've always approached the album with the ears of a child. Usually these two that I found on the train track in '79.

Ha! How long has the world ached for such lively ear humor?

The problem with my listening manner is that this album is NOT a children's album. It is far too sophisticated, mature and - yes, I'll say it and you can argue if you'd like - EZ LISTENING for the younger version of me to get much out of. This is NOT the peppy, surfy Beach Boys from a year earlier. This is easy listening music - slow, orchestral, mellow and, as Brian himself will admit, mostly built upon a songwriting approach that has more in common with Burt Bacharach than the Beatles.

But there are a couple of aspects of the album that FINALLY made me realize what a wonder of nature it really is, in spite of my obstinate, argumentative, drunken, belligerent, publicly urinary attitude towards it. The first is that many of the songs feature some of the craziest and most difficult to pin down chord changes I've ever heard. The second is that every song seems like it's been stainpakingly built second-by- second in the studio for maximum instrumental impact, meaning that it almost sounds as if Brian recorded the guitars, bass and drums, then went through the tape second-by- second shouting, "Okay, three seconds of tympani. THERE! Now bring in the bells THERE! Have the mandolins come in in the background right THERE! Latin percussion? Wait.. Wait.. THERE!"

And the entire record is like this, smoothed over and coated with such glistening unexpected stringed instruments as harpsichords, tympani, clarinets, barinet saxophones, both string and electric bass in the same songs, vibraphones, violins, violas, cellos, bongos, ukuleles, flutes, English horns, Glen Campbell waving his penis in the air 90 miles an hour making a "hoooooo!" noise, tenor saxophones, bass clarinets, trumpets, glockenspiels, accordions, French horns, organs, harmonicas, theremins and something called a `piano,' which I'm pretty sure is one of these things with all the keys - oh, what do you call it, one of those - ah yes! A keychain.

All thirteen of these songs (fourteen if you count the one printed on the label that goes "KIHHHHHH!") sound as if an incredible amount of thought and work went into both the composition and production, and to be honest, it's not at all difficult to picture its composer going insane from too many hours of intense concentration and self- imposed pressure. If you're emotionally unbalanced to begin with, you CAN'T single- handedly construct an album this creatively rich and unbelievably SMART without putting far more strain on your brain than you are likely to be able to handle. Brian survived, please understand, but not when he tried to repeat the feat a year later. NOT THEN! (*scary foreshadowing music pounds out of your computer speakers, runs into your bedroom, memorizes your credit card number and jumps back in the speakers to buy stuff on ebay*).

Hit singles include "Wouldn't It Be Nice," "God Only Knows" and "Sloop John B" (all of which RULE!). Other tunes that you may have heard of even if you haven't heard them include "I Know There's An Answer," "Caroline No" and "I Just Wasn't Made For These Times." Lyrically, the whole piece reeks of really, really strong emotions like youthful longing, unconditional love, shame, fear, romance, existential confusion and sorrow about every child's inevitable loss of innocence. These feelings are musically supported by.errr. ballad after ballad after ballad after ballad.

But they're GREAT ballads! Not at all simple or predictable. Very intelligent, complicated songwriting (except for that damned three-note descending vocal hook that you'll find in about 75% of these songs as well as at the end of each verse in Weezer's "Buddy Holly"). But you CAN'T go in to your first listen with high expectations that you're going to hear some incredible heavenly album the likes of which you haven't heard before. Because, at least in my case, you'll wonder how an album with exactly ONE different mood and song styling has managed to make so many critics' Top Albums lists over the years. Pet Sounds has a genius that completely crept up on me slowly as I got older and learned more about what goes into putting a decent song together. And, speaking as a person who has written hundreds and hundreds of songs in my day (mostly hit singles for other bands - are you familiar with Patrick Hernandez's "Born To Be Alive"? Me too! Man, I wish I'd written that one.), I'm telling you that this is not an album that your ordinary everyday shlub (Linkin Park, Van Dyke Parks, Parker Posey) could have created. It's neat. And you notice more and more with each listen.

How could you not? All the songs are so darn SLOW, you'd have to be DEAD not to notice something new with each listen!

Bill Idjerint

Which reminds me - there is a reporter at the New York Times named "Nat Ives." What kind of parents would name a child "Nat Ives"? Read the name to yourself a few times if you don't immediately catch what I'm talking about.

Reader Comments (Michael J. West)
Of course it comes as no surprise if I say that there is little left to be said about Pet Sounds that hasn't already been said by someone else. But guess what? I got one anyway.

Despite the fact that this is some big deal, this massively innovative and influential album that everyone else in the world has spent 35 years building on the features of, what really amazes me at long last is that this is still, after four decades, as idiosyncratic as any album gets, including Freak Out!. People may have been inspired by the things Brian did on Pet Sounds, but no one was ever able to full-on copy what he did. I'm not really sure they ever even tried. I mean, personal songs, weird production technique, and complex melodies aside, listen to the arrangements alone: the basslines that sound like someone plucking rubber bands, and the harpsichord vamps, and the one-note organ lines, and the Hawaiian-sounding guitars, and the bass harmonica in "I Know There's An Answer," and the fact that the horns have harmony arrangements that sound like vocal arrangements, all mixed down together in mono with the Phil Spector small- nation', what a quirky piece of music, really! But it's damn near perfect, too, and oh so completely fantastic. Completely deserving of every accolade it gets. (Amanda Kenyon)
I guess I just totally do not get it. The album is good, yes, but I just can't see it as a pop legend of the same caliber as Sgt. Pepper (which I am CONSTANTLY hearing it compared to, and people even say that McCartney ripped off Wilson, and I just don't see it). Maybe it's because most of the Beach Boys songs I hear on the radio are the earlier fluff tunes like "Surfin USA" and such, but I really can't help considering them to be nothing more than a '60s boy band with a pretty damn talented songwriter (for a boy band). I do like this album, though. It has "Sloop John B," "God Only Knows," and "Wouldn't It Be Nice," for God's sake. Those are great songs. It's just that they're not quite enough to pull the Beach Boys out of the boy-band slot I've stuck them in. (Devin Lawrence)
Pet Sounds is beautiful and fun; that's all I need to know. (David Dickson)
Glad to know you like this one, Mark. Truth be told, I'm rather fond of it too--it's got more decently constructed songs on it than anyone has any right to expect from a cheese pop band, albeit the most legendary cheese pop band in American history. Despite the essential grungeite in me, I can't help bobbing my oversized head to stuff like "Wouldn't it Be Nice", "Sloop John B", "I'm Waiting for the Day" and "Here Today". Like most of the people here, I kinda think it's overrated, but that's just because it's been critically dubbed the second-best album of all time far too often for it's own good. Even considering its historical importance, you DO have to admit that there are a few fart songs on here, specifically, "Let's Go Away for a While", "Pet Sounds", and "I Just Wasn't Made for These Times"--they're just atmosphere and nothing else. Still--a good album. Possibly the best one of 1966. Viva Clan Wilson. (Joe H.)
An amazing album. Absolutely one of my favorites, and i'm glad you finally realized its brilliance! So obviously, yes i agree with the 10. You said the album can be quite samey before, but i don't think every song on this album sounds the same! Every song is produced pretty much the same but the songs here do have it's own style, weather it be a baroque-rock type like "Waiting For The Day", James Bond-ish spy type with brass and crazy guitar sounds like the title track, the elaborately complex but gorgeous "Lets Go Away For Awhile", or just plain pure pop like "Sloop John B" and "Wouldn't It Be Nice". There's so much experimentation and innovative studio tricks that amaze me, and not to mention the lyrics! People don't usually mention these lyrics, but these lyrics on this album are quite awesome. "You Still Believe In Me", "God Only Knows", "I Just Wasn't Made For These Times", "Here Today", "I Know There's An Answer" (though the "hang on to your ego" chorus on the early version i like more) are all incredible lyrically. Thoughtful, intelligent,'s all there in spades. It's indeed the same guy who wrote such silly surfing and car songs just a few years earlier but people mature. Times change. The Beatles also went through the same transition from "Love Me Do" to "Eleanor Rigby". So why does the Beach Boys get tagged "boy band" and the Beatles don't? Is it the name? Is it hype? But i digress. This album is brilliant. Lots of new sounds you've never heard in 1966 too. Like what the hell is that sound at the beginning of "I Know There's An Answer"? Or that weird sound on the break of "Here Today"? Or that incredibly unique and beautiful sound they got for the intro to "You Still Believe In Me"? Not to mention the first time a theremin was ever used on a rock record for "I Just Wasn't Made For These Times". I could go on, but i'll keep it at that. All i can say is i'm glad this album is being revered as much as it has these days. It's such a shame as it is that a large amount of the Beach Boys catalouge is ignored, and they're known as a silly novelty surfing band to most people instead of the American version of The Beatles (which is how I see them), so i think they deserve any ounce of praise they can get, as far as i'm concerned. Especially thanks to Mike Love further tarnishing the bands legacy. (David Coram)
1) The sound at the beginning of "I know there's an answer" is, I think, guitar and piano played simultaenously.

2) This is the album that changed the direction of my life. As a classical performer my career was founded on pooh-pooing anything "popular", as all my colleagues do/did, then someone furtively played me Brian's 1995 "I just wasn't made for these times" disc and I totally and completely went for it. It wasn't long before I was on to Pet Sounds and I am here to tell you that apart from "I'm Waiting For the Day" and "Sloop Jon B" (which doesn't belong here) it's the best written and best performed song cycle in the history of music. The title track and all the stuff near the end (particularly I wasn't made and Caroline, no) are just mind-bendingly well put together. It all makes me sway gently inside.

All the other albums have one really great song you could take away and make a great compilation with. This needs two taking away to be perfect.
I discovered this album just a year or so ago, and relatively late in life, mind you. I just turned 46. I am a life-long Beatlemaniac and was always aware of the Beach Boys, of course, but never was much of a fan. The surf/sun/cars/girls/sand between your toes stuff just never did a lot for me.

But when I started listening to Pet Sounds, I found the melodies insinuating themselves into my consciousness. They won't leave. They've even crowded out Coltrane, and God Only Knows how much I love Coltrane. There's just not much not to like about Pet Sounds.

Incidentally, I have also heard the Pet Sounds Sessions box set... very interesting and worth a listen for sure for Pet Sounds fans.
This is way too overrated. slow mediocre melodies(“Sloop John B” being an exception) drowned in dated orchestration aint exactly the best listening experience. Give me “Herman’s Hermits Greatest Hits” any day! besides their awful cover of “Dandy” every song is a winner. Why they so underrated for? (Matt Byrd)
PET SOUNDS IS ONE OF THE GREATEST ALBUMS OF ALL TIME!! Pet Sounds, more so than anything by the Beatles, is pure genius. The orchestration is sublime, as well as the few, well-textured intrumentals. The lyrics are proufoundly sad, they are possibly a bit too.... yearning? for me, but they do fine, they do VERY well. I gotta say, Mark, you really hit the head of the nail with this review. Pet Sounds, Blonde On Blonde, and Born To Run, these are the absolute top three albums of all time! In my humble opinion..... but why do two of those have only 8 little cirlces!? Well, because I'm probably wrong.

(a couple weeks later)

Oh jeez, I(, I hope I signed in right) had to comment again ( is me too), this album is the best! Bloody, bloody brilliant! I'm not even British and I'm saying that! I just read the Pitchfork magazine review of the Pet Sounds reissue......... and I actually think I'm pissed off! That damn reviewer missed every point possible! I think I hate pitchfork, I'm not even going to capitalize their name, bastards.
Maaaaan...... Pet Sounds makes my ears cum. "That's Not Me" deserves kudos from the gods above, below and in between, for making Mike Love(less) sound like a human being, as opposed to a "Terrible C***" (C.) Richard E. Grant. The most perfect of all perfect 10's. Now i'm off to clean myself up a bit. Toodle pips.
You might be wondering why I'm sending emails on $%@!&^ Beach Boys albums at 2 am, ET, on a frickin' Friday night. Well, I'll tell you. It's because of two dashes--

The thing aboot this album that really sticks in the craw is the fact that a good number of the tracks on here really sound like something from a particularly tourist-esque James Bond movie, complete with commentary from Mr. Albert Broccoli himself. Neat-o. Highlights include the four hits, "You Still Believe in Me" nasal football player extravaganza "I'm Waiting for the Day," lost Mary Poppins classic "I Know There's an Answer", cute lil' hit of mine "Here Today" and my ass.

Y'know, one often wonders in this world if one should just join the rugby team, gain ninety pounds of muscle and forget all this "bein' smart" crap. Sure, everyone goes to you for the math answers and the differential equation glory, but do you have second-degree burns on your johnson? DO YOU HAVE SECOND-DEGREE BURNS ON YOUR JOHNSON!!?!!&&$# NO!! NOT SO MUCH AS AN ABRASION!!! AND GOD--DAMN! IF THAT AIN'T THE ASSFREGGGGIN' MEANIN' OF LIFE until the days of office space and general depressing comedy by the makers of Beavis and Oh wait, the Beach Boys~? Yeah, that's exactly what Brian Wilson was thinkin' at the time when he wrote Pet Sounds, that fine foxy insane man, him. Thank God I wasn't drunk when I wrote this. Otherwise, we'd be talking about the actual "Mr." Johnson from Sesame Street.

FUCK. . . my HEARTBORKEN. . . EMOTIONS. But God bless the Beach Boys. They dull about 6.8% of the pain. 9.5 and don't stop thinkin' about tomorrow's shot down in flames. Yesterday's literally gone, yesterday's literally gone. . . (It's 12:15 over here.)
It's a little late for all this, but....
PET SOUNDS, best album of all time, no question.
PARTY! -- best comedy album of all time.
Mark, U'r a BIG middle-period fan & cut the Boys A LOT more slack than I do. FRIENDS is 1 of the worst albums ever, but all the rest from SMILEY SMILE thru at least CARL & THE PASSIONS have some GREAT overlooked stuff on them -- "Gettin' Hungry," "I'd Love Just Once to See You," "Passing By," "I Can Hear Music," "Our Prayer," "Cabinessence," "This Whole World," "It's About Time," "Til I Die," "Surf's Up," "Marcella," "California Saga," "The Trader," "Good Time," "Johnny Carson," "Good Timin'," etc....
GOOD VIBRATIONS BOX SET, immensely frustrating, Dspite all the great stuff on it & the great sound -- the (early) stuff that was LEFT OFF makes me crazy.
& what did U think of Brian Wilson's SMILE reconstruction from a couple years back? I thot the fairly-new previously-officially-unheard stuff was pretty good, but Brian's voice (on the obvious classics) is SHOT!

The only beach boys album I have. I have it in mono too. Big wall of sound, excellent production, harmonies... Yes, the majority of these songs rule. My favorite is "I Just Wasn't Made for These Times". I spent most of my music life being a beach boys hater, thinking they were basically a bunch of pretty boys who made faggy music. Hearing this album for the first time a year ago changed all that (I just couldn't stop hearing about it). Can't quite decide on a final rating, but this is a very accomplished album. I also love the story of Brian wanting to create the best album of all time after hearing "Rubber Soul" or something like that.

Add your thoughts?

Smiley Smile - Capitol 1967
Rating = 7

This is where Brian's paranoid schizophrenia unfortunately began to take over his life. He was racing against Paul McCartney to create the perfect pop album (tentatively entitled Smile), but he spent so much time recording snippets of weirdness and remixing "Good Vibrations" and "Heroes And Villains" over and over again that Sgt. Peppers beat him to market and completely destroyed his will and self-esteem. Smile was put away somewhere unfinished and the band scurried to make an album as fast as possible to replace it. Not surprisingly, most of the songs sound half-assed and unfinished. Some of them even collapse into stoned laughter halfway through. But the best songs - "Heroes and Villains," "Fall Breaks And Back To Winter" and "Good Vibrations" - are astonishingly complicated, with some of the most bizarre and brilliant multilayered vocals (and in the case of "Fall Breaks" - scary, disorienting noises) you will ever hear. If the real Smile (which apparently was to focus on the importance of humor in our spiritual lives) was destined to sound like song after song of THIS hard-brain-thinking tuneage, I'm awfully tempted to join the crowd that calls it the ultimate "Lost Classic" (aside from the Devotions' "Rip Van Winkle" single, which I lost when I was about seven years old. But don't worry! I bought a new copy on ebay!).

But let us not dwell on what might have been. Instead let's shake our heads in pity at these bits and pieces of unfinished work all haphazardly stuck together in a drugged-up insane haze. Gone are the billion instruments of Pet Sounds, replaced by the scary organ and tinkling noises of "Wind Chimes," the bass, jug drum and moronic tape speed manipulation of "She's Goin' Bald," the piano and stupid giggly voices of "Little Pad," the simple organ chords and rhythmic tapping of "With Me Tonight," the loud distorted goofball children's keyboard, tappy noises and atrocious vocals of "Gettin' Hungry," the minimal organ drone of "Wonderful" and the piano tapping of "Whistle In." These are extremely EMPTY songs musically speaking, which makes the excellent harmony/overlapping vocals sound all the more impressive. If you like them Beach Boys harmonies, you'll probably be able to enjoy a good deal of Smiley Smile.

Two final important notes. (A) When I was a kid, I had a dog named Smiley. He hacked and coughed a lot, much as I'm sure the Beach Boys did while taking bong hits during the production of this album. (B) I grew up loathing the song "Good Vibrations." And why? Because I fucking DESPISE Sunkist Orange Beverage! Those goddamned commercials made me associate one with the other, so I grew up malfunctional, believing that Brian Wilson's genius piece of psychedelia was about a bunch of assholes diving off of cliffs and drinking shittyass orange cola. It took forty-five years of electroshock therapy and fourteen lobotomies before I finally realized how incredible the tune is. How's about that theremin, you people who've heard the song? How's about I don't even bother to describe how the song goes, you people who haven't heard the song?

Speaking of bad cola, I haven't touched Mountain Dew since that hot muggy summer day when I drank a can, got onto a tire swing, spun around in a circle for about 10 minutes and vomited all over the place. Granted, this took place on the grounds of the church where my mother used to work, so it's possible that my body was simply reacting to the abhorrent presence of Jesus Christ.

I can't drink grape juice or eat white chocolate either, again due to childhood vomiting instances. Whiskey and Screwdrivers are also out. See, it's just really hard to eat or drink something after you've tasted it on the way UP. Because after that point, it just tastes like VOMIT to you!

At least, that's how I live my life. I'm dreading the day that I puke up a bunch of oxygen.

Which is why I'm slicing these GILLS into my sides as we speak! Do fish bleed this much at first too?

Reader Comments (Andrew R.)
When I was 11 my dad made me a burrito with mushrooms and cheese. Two days later I was thinking of it while puking. After that I could never eat mushrooms again. But sometime last year I discovered a new-found fondness for mushrooms - I started eating them on my pizza and soup and thought of them as just something that grows out of the ground (or makes people trip). Get over yourself and start eating white chocolate again, you may find you like it (grape juice sucks, though). (Michael J. West)
Well, I for one am glad to see a 7 rating on Smiley Smile, because I think history has been unfair to it. People are far more likely to judge it for what it isn't (Smile) than for what it is. And what it is is a pretty nice, if uncertain and occasionally disturbing, slice of Brian's muse. His The Madcap Laughs, if you will. In fact, I think I've just made the best, most sturdy comparison you could make for this album: portrait of the artist on the verge of psychological and creative collapse. Which is why it teeters over that line between brilliance ("Wind Chimes") and madness ("Gettin' Hungry"), and pure insignificance ("You're Welcome"). In fact, "Fall Breaks" does all of that, all by itself. Well maybe not insignificance...but still, the point is, Smiley Smile is better than it gets credit for being.

And can I just say, I can't stop loving "She's Goin' Bald"? (Joe H.)
Well, i love this album! It's no where near what Smile was but i don't like to compare it to Smile. It wasn't and isn't supposed to be a substitute for Smile. It was basically a quick throw together of some tunes and really weird, underproduced demos of some Smile songs. But why is the album so eerie and dark and have a totally different mood than Smile? Smile was mostly hilarious, idiosyncratic, beautiful, and a genius creation (if finished)! This is confusing, disturbing, and just plain bizarre! Not only does Brian sound crazy on this but the whole band does! They must of been doin' a lot of drugs at the sessions! It's still quite beautiful though, and i think it further shows how amazing their voices were. They make a half assed album, and yet the melodies and voices and sometimes the eerie moods still totally make the songs sound really damn good to me, although they were obviously capable of much more at that point. "Heroes And Villians" is brilliant however, and shows how amazing Smile would of been if finished. There's another version that was intended for Smile, but i think this version is a lot better, and more cohesive (not to mention more commercial, IMO). The harmonies are amazingly complex and brilliant, and especially the chorus part, which is gorgeous and hypnotic, and hopefully is one of the many things that should prove the Beach Boys weren't some "boy band", they were incredibly amazing singers and Brian (and the underrated Dennis, too) was one of the best songwriters and producers ever. "Good Vibrations" is also a classic, but nowadays i find "Heroes And Villians" to be even better. The other songs don't come close to sounding this produced and brilliant, but i love it almost the same way i love The Madcap Laughs. "Little Pad" has a strange intro with some stoned laughing but otherwise it's a lovely song and makes me wonder what Brian would of done if he completed the song with more parts and lyrics and stuff. Same with "Whistle In", "Gettin Hungry" (awesome fuckin' song, actually!), "With Me Tonight", though what's there is still lovely. The Smile songs are done inferior to the Smile versions but done completely different, especially "Wind Chimes" and "Wonderful", where originally they were innocent and glorious sounding, here they sound really creepy, bizarre, and low key. "Vegetables" is the only song i don't like much on here, because it's done a lot better on the Smile version. Here it's a lot more uninteresting, since it's just bass and vocals mostly. "She's Goin' Bald" was also taken from a Smile fragment, called "He Gives Speeches", and here given the Smiley Smile treatment with silly lyrics, bizarre sped up vocals and a few short extra parts thrown together. I'm glad you like "Fall Breaks And Back To Winter" a lot, because i think it's further brilliant use of complex harmonies with some creepy organ and stuff and not just some silly piece of rubbish, or whatever those "hip" kids thought back in 1967. Overall, i'd give this a real high 8 or low 9. Just a really entertaining album because of how weird and off the cuff everything sounds, and i enjoy stuff like that! I'd rather have a complete Smile of course, but there's no reason to blame the band for this. Brian just was not capable of finishing it in time. Just enjoy what is there. (Eric Sweenor)
Absolutely freakish. Kinda disturbing, too. You get to hear Brian Wilson go totally insane on record. The Woody Woodpecker noises on "Fall Breaks..." say it all. Probably the most interesting Beach Boys LP, however. 7/10, I guess.
Is it just me, or is "Little Pad" a really cool song? I think the laughter in the beginning is pointless, but everything afterwards? I love those sounds in the squishy middle thing. And the melody with the ukelele? Can't be topped! I do suppose it's just me though.

Matthew Ward
Am I the only one who friggin' loves this album? It's just so whimsical and fun... gives me the same feeling that listening to some of the best Syd Barrett stuff does. Obviously, it's not “Smile” and doesn't even try to be. But it has good versions of several Smile songs--it's hard to lose with an album with Heroes and Villians, Wind Chimes, Wonderful, Vegetables and Good Vibrations on it. And some of the non-Smile stuff like “Little Pad” or “She's Going Bald” is nearly as good—these songs are just so weird and cool. I like the nearly non-existent instrumentation—it makes everything sound really minimal, and helps focus on the harmonies. I'd give this one a nine—slightly weak 9, but it's still one of the best Beach Boys albums.

Add your thoughts?

Wild Honey - Capitol 1967
Rating = 8

Say! Do you ever get the feeling that you're never going to finish your Beach Boys reviews? That they're just going to drag on and on and on and you're never even going to make it to their `70s material? Well, my name's Mark Prindle and I'm beginning to feel that way right about this evening! It might also be a result of sickness. I'm sick. And I don't just mean sick of George Bush's bullshit either!

(seven months later)

Okay, I'm home from the internment camp, so let me continue. I'm sick. It's a sinus thing. My SINUS is being a big MINUS and oozing an endless stream of bloody mucus down my nose and throat. Luckily, it's the Thanksgiving Holiday, so I don't have the "misfortune" of having to take a few days off work. CONVENIENTLY, I got sick over a four-day weekend. Thank "goodness." But the space between my upper lip and my nose is completely dried out due to my constant wipings with ass wipe material (there are those who say I should be using Kleenex to wipe my nose, but I figure if a handful of live fire ants is good enough for my ass...). Even worse (by "Weird Al" Yankovic), I'm listening to all these albums I bought in Australia and unfortunately associating them brainwise with being sick. Hawkwind and Sparks especially - both great bands (except for Sparks' later - and shitty - material), but I'll probably never want to hear them again because I know they're just going to remind me of swallowing gallons and gallons of snot.

There are those who say I should be drinking orange juice instead of snot, but I figure "Fight Fire with Fire" (by Alternativica). Now that I've gotten us back onto the topic of music and misery, I'd like to speak a bit about The Beach Boy's Wild Honey. So let me turn on my new advanced "Voice Input" technology and free my hands for other things like knitting a cardigan.

This album sounds like muffin the be no not muffin muffin delete go back delete fuck no thing no thing the Beach Boys have ever nun bun fuck how do you delete erase done before.

It has an especially bass-heavy mix under which are buried a bunch of excited Carl Wilson shouted vocals and loosely harmonized backup voices. They've NEVER used a vocal approach this unpracticed before, but it sounds great with this music, which is the OTHER reason this sounds like nothing they've ever done. It's a bunch of groovy sustained piano lines! It's been said that this was meant to be a "soul" album, and you can see that in some of the songs, but it's definitely more along the lines of Lovin' Spoonful white person piano pop, with slight Stevie Wonder aspirations indicated by the occasional horn line. Very upbeat, happy and totally enjoyable. Just a bunch of really solid melodic pop songs with very little of the experimentation that drove Brian out of his patootie the previous year. It's too bad his brain was too damaged to say, "Hey! I can make a really good album without overworking myself to exhaustion! Maybe I DON'T need to lock myself in the bedroom with a stack of drugs and pornography for four years!"

Reader Comments (Joe H.)
I think this stuff is really rockin'! It's nice to see them rock out like this as a band, which they haven't done in years or this rockin' for that matter. They continue the sparce production of Smiley Smile too, though this time it's appropriate and not confusing! My favorite is the soulful "Here Comes The Night", which has some amazing harmonies on the chorus! Too bad they shit all over it in 1979, but here it totally cooks! I also love the catchy and exciteable (especially Carl's enthusiastic lead vocal!) title track, with an awesome use of the theremin once again and a great organ solo that sounds very much like what average psychadelic pop bands were doing at the time (which is why it hit the top 40). "Darlin'" is usually the highlight of this album and it is also another excellent rock popper (that hit the top 20, which was successful for the Beach Boys concidering the time it was released). "Aren't You Glad", "I Was Made To Love Her", "A Thing Or Two", and "How She Boogalooed It" (which is actually kinda weak, concidering it was the first time the other dudes in the band took a stab at songwriting without Brian besides a few of Carl's instrumentals) also show a more rocking and soulful R&B influenced band, which is quite interesting compared to their earlier albums! "Let The Wind Blow" and "Country Air" does contain some awesome harmonies though, "Mama Said" is a fragment from Smile that i guess Brian used to fill up the record a bit, and "I'd Love Just Once To See You" is also a delightful acoustic tune about the growing isolation and solitude that will soon take over his life, although the ending is cute. I'll give this album a 9, since there's not really a song i dislike on here, though "How She Boogalooed It" is really nothing special at all, and i prefer the "Mama Said" fragment being part of "Vegetables" on the Smile version.

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Friends - Capitol 1968
Rating = 7

If you've ever longed to feel like you've joined a creepy brainwashing cult, now's your chance! From the moment Mike Love's zombie-sounding peacenik voice begins the album with "As I sit and close my eyes, I feel peace in my mind, and I'm hoping that you'll find it too," my head immediately fills with visions of a guru leader locking me in the basement, feeding me acid and selling my children into sexual slavery. And I don't even have children! (But if I did, I'd likely be upset if somebody sold them into sexual slavery). The whole album just reeks of fucked-up-the- ass Eastern philosophy as related through drugged-up rock stars. As such, it's Brian Wilson's favorite Beach Boys album.

Supposedly, this album is supposedly supposed to create a mood of peace and tranquility, but that's certainly not what I get out of it! "Meant For You" lures you into the insane cult and the rest of the album is a spooky ride through the insanity of late-60s hippie hell. First you try to keep your brain from exploding as the title track's chorus features five voices rising higher, higher, higher until you manically scrape bloody lines into your own face. Then "Wake The World" brings in LSD-addled Brian Wilson alternating a catchy tuba chorus with a REALLY creepy "mesmerizing" Sesame Street-for-pedophiles piano verse. "Be Here In The Morning" continues the insanity with an out-of-control falsetto vocal, screwball chord changes, a klunky waltz beat and loony vocal effects in the chorus, which revolves around a moronic shout of "Ah-ah!" and about five million voices harmonizing one word together. And it continues like this for the next 20 minutes. Maybe I'm just more paranoid than most, but the whole fucking album makes me want to lock my doors and never go outside again!

This is NOT peaceful music - it's corruption and schizophrenia masquerading as peaceful music. Regardless of Mike Love's Transcendental Meditation b.s., everybody in the world knows the guy is completely incapable of handling his temper. You can almost imagine him strangling a prostitute with a wire hanger as he sings the frighteningly cultish ode to "Anna Lee, The Healer" (unless that's Al Jardine - in which case replace "strangling" with "giggling and lightly poking at). Not to mention -- if this was supposed to be a "peaceful" album, why do all the vocal harmonies sound like they're pulled from a psychopathic horror movie? Oh! That's right. The chief songwriter was in the grips of paranoid schizophrenia.

Musically, you'll find very soft, odd piano mush without a hard edge to be found. But the hippyish weirdo attempts at gentleness end up sounding like Charles Manson after they're filtered through Brian's sick mind. Also, there's lots of horns and violins and things.

And it has Dennis Wilson's first two songs! And they're GREAT! His voice sounds more mature than the others. Unlike the wavery Carl, falsettoed Brian, scraggly Al and whatever Mike, Dennis sounds like an adult. An adult who can write some really fan-frigging-tastic songs with awesomely dramatic chord changes. Try to tell me "Be Still" doesn't sound EXACTLY like the stuff Pink Floyd was doing on More and around there. TRY IT!

(Did you try it? I stopped paying attention for a second there.)

To be honest, I only find ONE of these songs peaceful - Brian's bossa nova (or so I'm told) "Busy Doin' Nothin'," which honestly DOES sound like an overstressed man cheering himself up. Happy, groovy acoustic guitar picking and strumming, along with some kickbutt oboes or something. But that's IT. If you're looking to "feel good," don't buy this one, for Christ's sake. There are some amazing songs on here, but what makes them amazing is how SICK and WRONG they are - the most famous example of course being "Transcendental Meditation," an upbeat rocker with a disturbing dissonant break and nervous yelp between each eerily harmonized verse. Why on earth is the ONLY rocking song on the album called "Transcendental Meditation"????

You know, it's amazing how many questions in life you can answer with the phrase "Brian Wilson's schizophrenia."

Like this one - What is the first song on Brian Wilson's copy of Sonic Youth's Sister album?


Reader Comments (Michael J. West)
Really? THIS is Brian Wilson's favorite Beach Boys album? Wow. I mean, it's good and all, but I mean--really? His favorite? Really?

Aw, and I like "Meant for You!" AND "Be Still!" You're a harsh mistress, Prindle. But you are right about "Busy Doin' Nothin" being very nice (that was what you were saying, right?), and most especially about Dennis Wilson, who developed into one HELL of a songwriter. I miss him. (Joe H.)
I can see why this is Brian's favorite Beach Boys album, as it'd be my favorite Beach Boys album too, if not for the existance of Pet Sounds, of course. I love every damn song on this album. Even the strange "Transcendental Meditation". My favorite being "Busy Doin' Nothin'", because that song has such a brilliant melody. I wish "Meant For You" was longer, because that sure is the most gorgeous 40 second song i've ever heard. "Diamond Head" is also a brilliant Smile-esque instrumental, which manages to be bizarre and beautiful at the same time. Dennis's songs are also fantastic, and i wish he was more known as a songwriter, because he truely had so much talent and gift for writing gorgeous music that unfortunatly went overlooked. The title track is also a underrated classic. Why wasn't it a hit? I give this a 9.
Well, this is certainly the most unique take on the Friends album that I've ever read! I don't know if I quite agree with it, but I can relate to it to a certain extent. I first purchased it in the late 70's, when Warner/Reprise released it a "twofer" with Smiley Smile. Now, that one is definitely the band's psychotic album. But, hearing Friends right next to it made me feel that some of SS's dry, definitely disturbing giddiness was just under the surface on Friends.

But, still, I can't help but wonder if your opinion is biased too much by your knowledge of the band's personal history. More objectively speaking, one could look at it as the band's attempt to deny reality (which is why the turbulent hippie generation rejected the album at the time -- the sentiments expressed were "irrelevant."). But I prefer it to think of it as the Beach Boys sincerely trying to find some peace and tranquility in the middle of all the chaos surrounding them (or, in Brian's case, inside him). In that sense, the album has grown considerably on me over time, because that's a feeling that everyone can relate to. That the Beach Boys were still trying to express optimism in the midst of turmoil was admirable. Even if the attempt failed, that doesn't invalidate Friends as one of the more sincere artistic attempts from the group.
A beautiful album. 10/10. As Denny later remarked, "Loneliness is a very special place". Agreed, my friend. This is such a glorious listening experience.

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Stack-O-Tracks - Capitol 1968
Rating = 8

Have you ever been all excited about getting to do a Beach Boys song at one of them Chinese karaoke places with all the Chinese people doing their little Chinese songs, and then had your dreams shattered to pieces when you realized that the musical accompaniment was a soft piddly crap rendition by some jerk? To a person, we all have.

That's why Stack-O-Tracks comes as such a godsend. It's the original Beach Boys backing tracks of 15 different great songs! So not only do you get the chance to pretend you're all five of the Beach Boys (six if you count Bruce Johnston, and seven if you count David Marks) singing in harmony with yourself, but if your mouth is on the fritz (cavity) one day, you can just sit back and revel in all the really neat things that Brian put in the mixes that you'd never noticed before because of all those voices clogging up the Expressway To Your (h)Ear(t). And you'll do this - "!!!!!!!"

However, let me add that this is only a great listening experience for people who know these songs already. And I don't just mean the classics either. The album also has stuff like "Darlin'," "Salt Lake City" and "Catch A Wave" that you're gonna want to sing along with and not just stand around going, "Gee. Strumming." Because the vocal melodies are spectacular! You know, when you just look at all of Brian Wilson's best songs, like "Wouldn't It Be Nice" and "In My Room" and "Our Favorite Recording Sessions," it's really hard to NOT agree that the guy was some kind of genius. The stuff he came up with was so SMART - and CATCHY! And I don't throw the term "genius" around loosely.

(Note to self: Remove "List of Fifty Billion Geniuses" from web site before posting this review).

(Except Pam Dawber. Leave her.)

Reader Comments (Adrian Denning)
It's great fun trying to sing all the parts, at the same time. I usually fall over and can't speak for a week.

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20/20 - Capitol 1969
Rating = 7

This is a hard one to put your finger on, and not just because the disc is packaged inside an active beehive. It's an odd one because it's made up of old rejects living in the past, bizarre cover tunes standing in the present and new songs pushing the band's sound forward into the sleazy cocaine violins-and-electric-piano sounds of the `70s. So there's no unified sound to any of it - you go from the nostalgia surf cheer of "Do It Again" to the sexy sweaty lust fuck orgasm vagina of "All I Want To Do" (featuring a REAL tape of Dennis Wilson FUCKING at the end! I'm serious!!! It says so in the Dumb Angel bio!) to Bruce Johnston's easy living swingers pad instrumental "The Nearest Faraway Place" to the slightly threatening meditation mood vibes of "I Went To Sleep" (with flute! It sounds like the Moody Blues!!!!) and back again until winding up with two great lost SyCaDelicIous Smile tracks. Come on! What is this? Make every song sound the same or shut up, assholes.

Brian (Wilson) is fading out of the picture fast, only co-writing FIVE of these 12 songs. His slack is picked up by his brother Dennis, who wrote three songs on here, two of which are just GREAT and along the same lines as the ones he wrote for Friends. Actually, one of them is a Charles Manson song, I'm led to believe. Dennis was kind of being stalked by the Manson Family at this time (seriously - this part isn't a joke). Rumor has it that he enjoyed the free sex, but Charlie freaked his shit RIGHT up. Dennis later denied that he'd spent much time with Charlie, but it wasn't TRUE!!!!! I WAS THERE, MAN!!!!!

I wasn't really there.

Ah! See??? Now he's even got ME denying it!!! The power of suggestion, my friend! The power of suggestion!

Don't blame me if you like some of this album ("Cabinessence," "Never Learn Not To Love") and despise other parts of it ("I Can Hear Music," "Cotton Fields"). That's NOT MY FAULT. If you'll recall, I went on Real People in 1978 and made it clear that I had nothing to do with the up-and-down quality of this release. I was on between the chicken that played Tic-Tac-Toe and the guy who got hit by lightning eleven different times (he later committed suicide to escape the endless neurological pain, btw - I WAS THERE, M. oh who am I kidding, I'm never there when anything interesting happens.

(*hops in car and drives away, 30 seconds before the Loch Ness Monster crawls out of the ocean, goes to the snack machine, gets a Whatchamacallit and disappears back into the deep*)

Reader Comments (Michael J. West)
What kind of half-witted halfwit doesn't like "I Can Hear Music?" Really! I mean, if nothing else, Carl sings it so beautifully! Leave it alone, you monster.

Oh. And anything with "Cabinessence" on it is worth the money. Anything.

(I like "Do It Again" and "I Went To Sleep" too.)

Huh? Oh, the album. If Friends was a 7, 20/20 has gotta be an 8, right?
This is one of those rare albums where the 2nd half is better than the first half (same with Surf's Up). The first half is spotty, with awesomeness like "Do It Again", "I Can Hear Music" and "All I Wanr To Do", and some mediocrity like "Bluebirds Over The Mountain". "Be With Me" is pretty underrated though. The second half is awesome, every song starting with "Cotton Fields" is totally The Beach Boys still at their prime, with even some Smile songs like "Our Prayer" and "Cabinessence", which are 2 of the most mindblowingly beautiful and confusing (well the latter at least is certainly bizaare) songs they've ever done. "Time To Get Alone" should of been a big hit for the guys in a perfect world. I guess overall i really like this album more than i thought. The only songs concidered below-average for Beach Boys standards is "Bluebirds" and "The Nearest Faraway Place", which actually is kinda nice anyway. The material is mostly really good and i really enjoy this album! I give it a low 9.

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'69 (Live in London) - Caribou 1976
Rating = 8

They brought a horn section on tour with them? That's nuts! Who does that? NOBODY does that, that's who! And Bruce Johnston? Who the hell brings Bruce Johnston on tour with them? Hall and Oates? Fat chance of THAT! Can't go for that! No! No can do! The guitars are kinda messy on here, but most of the harmony vocals are keen and the set list is both great and intriguing. For example, why the HELL did they bother trying to recreate "Good Vibrations" in a live setting? Doesn't work. And why did they use a guitar to do the intro to "Wouldn't It Be Nice"? And why is "Sloop John B" sung as if it's a goodtime boogie rocker? The narrator now sounds like a really happy guy all excited about how broke up he feels! Try explaining THAT one to an autistic.

What else is on here - "Wake The World"? "Aren't You Glad"? "Their Hearts Were Full Of Spring"? Come on, where's "Surfin' USA"? "Help Me Rhonda"? What were they trying to do, convince somebody they weren't completely irrelevant? If so, "Bluebirds Over The Mountain" was certainly no way to do it. That song is an atrocity, and always has been. If you haven't heard it, acknowledge that your life is at least a couple of percentage points happier than those of us who have.

Mike Love surprisingly has some pretty funny lines on here ("We're gonna take a little bit of Britain back with us. probably wring it out of our socks," "This next song is one that we do a capella. Which means `Nude.' No, I'm sorry. Lost my mind for a minute there."), but his voice is so much more jaded and tired-sounding than on the original young excitable live album from a half-decade earlier. The music business is a cruel place, even for great bands like Ebn-Ozn.

My final synapses is as follows: Good live album!

Oh, sorry - that second word was an action verb. I feel very strongly that it's good when an album lives.

Reader Comments
Great F*ckin' live album....I actually get chills listening to overdubs!!!!.......In answer to your question of why are they using a guitar in the intro to "Wouldn't It Be Nice",.............. because the original record has a guitar in the intro! Whadja think that was? A keyboard??? You'd better go back to: WESTERN STUDIOS SATURATED IN REVERB AND ECHO 101 class............................damn rookie!

(sorry Mark, I needn't be so cruel....but y'know)

Matthew Ward
I got this album on cassette when I was a teenager, and loved it. I recently got the CD version (paired with the first live album), and I was kinda curious to see whether it would stand up to my memories. Actually, I think I like it even better now—it's prolly my favorite BB release after Pet Sounds. It kicks serious butt—great setlist, tight performance, and it's unusually “live” for a live album. It was released the the mid 70's by the band's ex-record company without their permission—usually a bad sign, but in this case, the way the album was released pretty much precluded the band from going back and doing overdubs. And although I dislike Mike Love as much as the next guy, I find his stage pattern genuinely funny here, especially the part about wringing the UK out of their socks, and the gently sarcastic little “yeah” he says after the girls scream after he says “Carl Wilson sings very prettily... his timing is perfect.

I also love the fact that it's the opposite of an oldies show—the oldest tunes are “California Girls” and “Barbara Ann” from 1965—no surfing or car songs at all, with most of the tunes coming from the the more “adult” albums that started with Pet Sounds. See, although they had really lost their popularity in the US, they were still huge in London (screaming girls and all). It's like an alternative reality in which the Beach Boys were more like the Beatles—a band that managed to grow up and take their audience with them.

I'll admit some bias here too: the second half of the 60's (Pet Sounds through 20/20) is by far my favorite Beach Boys era, so songs like “Darlin'” “Do It Again,” “Wake The World” and “Aren't You Glad” really turn my crank... and then there are 3 Pet Sounds songs and Good Vibrations too. Lots of great stuff! I'm even reasonably partial to the dreaded “Bluebirds Over the Mountains.”

The funny thing is, I think most of these versions are actually better than the studio versions—they have a lot more energy. For example, compare the version of “Do It Again” here with the studio version—the latter ends up sounding pretty listless in comparison. I think that this was just about their best live incarnation—Dennis, Carl and Al were still playing their respective instruments without a lot of help from backing musicians, but the keyboards and horns fill out the sound, and Ed Carter is a strong presence on the bass (Bruce Johnson was never really a bassist, and I think by this time they had realized that it was better having him as vocalist/keyboardist and leaving the bass in more professional hands). I agree that it was always a challenge for them to pull off “Good Vibrations” live, but this is my favorite of several live versions—they emphasize the R&B roots of the song, so it's more like an alternative version than an attempt to recreate the studio original. They also avoid the generic boogie-woogie arrangements that would mar a few of the versions of the oldies on “In Concert” a few years later. The singing rocks too—they manage to sing with a lot of live power, and yet stay on key most of the time. The live “Their Hearts were Full of Spring” is just awesome—it's crazy what these 5 guys could do with their voices, even without Brian around.

All in all, this really was their live peak, and it's great that it was captured on record.

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Sunflower - Caribou 1970
Rating = 7

Interestingly, (and I use the term "interestingly" about as loosely as today's modern inner city white youth wears his huge dumb looking pants) this was the album that made me go out and buy all the other Beach Boys albums, yet it really doesn't sound all that great to me now! I mean, it's GOOD, sure. An interesting approach too, that of combining `50s-style doowop vocals with mesmerizing, hypnotic hippy beauty. But with increased band democracy (four Dennis songs, two Bruce, one Alan and only five co-written by Brian) comes the unpleasant reality that the band members don't really have any sort of unified vision for the band AT ALL. Dennis seems to want to go in a harder, funkier rock direction, Brian's trying desperately to find peace in meditation music that's MUCH more relaxed and sleepy than the stuff on Friends, Alan - oh who knows what the hell Alan wants to do, his song's all full of bird noises, and then there's Bruce, who should be writing songs for Barry Manilow or the Carpenters, not the Beach MuthaFuckin' Boys. His songs are almost like lite-jazz or something! Rock so soft it should be called "soap-stone." Ha! That one was for all the geologists in the audience!

Geologist A: "Well, I didn't find that very funny at all!"

Geologist B: "Well, that's not a very GNEISS thing to say!"

Geologist A: "Ha ha!"

Geologist B: "Ha ha ha! Hee"

Geologist A: "Ha ha!"

Geologist C: "See that crusty stuff around my crotch? I fucked a corpse."

Reader Comments (Adrian Denning)
what? WHAT??

That's all I have to say. Also, Mike Love. Check the guys beard on the cover art! What a man!! ZZ Top would piss themselves for such a beard! (Michael J. West)
I just got this one yesterday (really!) so it may just be new-record afterglow, but Sunflower strikes me so far as the absolute best of the post-Smile period. "Forever," which has become flaccid ever since they had this whole thing with it on Full House (you know you watched it. Liar.), is still the best song (yay Dennis!), and "Add Some Music To Your Day" is gorgeous no matter what anyone else says. But you know what's really impressive? Bruce Johnston! That fuckin' hack wrote "Tears in the Morning" and co-wrote "Deirdre!" I haven't been all that impressed with him until this one! Who's the cruel cruel bastard who let this album (an easy nine btw) go out of print? (Joe H.)
This album kinda took me a while to get into, but i think i get it's greatness now. I don't really like the production on most of this album though, because it sounds so murky and distorted on a lot of songs, kinda like a late 60's Stones album (it works for the Stones, not for the Beach Boys!). The songs on here are all great though! It would be wonderful if such songs like "Lady", "HELP Is On Its Way" and "Loop De Loop" were on it (since they were done around the same time) but what's here is very good. All 3 of Dennis's songs are awesome for instance, and the first 2 show a more rocking side of Dennis, which wasn't seen before besides "All I Want To Do". Every single Brian penned tune absolutely rules too. "This Whole World", "Add Some Music To Your Day", "Cool Cool Water" are the main highlights on the album, and the lesser known ones like "Our Sweet Love", "All I Want To Do" and "Deirdre" (actually a rare collaboration with Bruce) are quite beautiful. Dennis's 3rd song "Forever" is also a beautiful tune and became a classic for Dennis and the band overall. I give the album a 9.
"Our Sweet Love" sounds exactly like "God Only Knows."

I like this album. A lot.
sunflower stands almost equal with pet sounds. to give it a 7, is on a par with giving abbey road a 7 compared with revolver, or ditto highway 61 revisited, compared to blood on the tracks. inexcusable!!!
Just like you, Markypants, I bought this album and then went out and bought all the other late 60s/early 70s stuff. I, too, realized a while later it's not the 9 or 10 I originally thought it was. A 7 is right on the money: worthy, yet flawed.

If there was any justice in this world, "This Whole World/Add Some Music To Your Day" would have been released as a double A-side, topped the charts for 15 weeks, and won the Grammy for 1970's Record of the Year. That, and Matthew Sweet would be playing in stadiums.

Oh, well...I quit.
Mark, I'm upgrading my earlier review of "Sunflower" to a 9 since you downgraded The Cure's "Disintegration" from a 9 to an 8. Well, that, and I've recently grown to like "Sunflower" more. It's genius!

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Landlocked: The Unreleased 1970 Album & More - Bootleg.
Rating = 8

America taught me something important that day -- it said to me, "Mr. Prindle, Don't believe anybody because they're all shits and liars." See that? That one thought alone incorporated mislabeling, all-or-nothing thinking and possibly even overgeneralization. And that's America's Cognitive Problem -- its inability to please me at all times and on all issues.

This particular instance can be described as thus: I traded something or other to some guy who had a bootleg of the never-released 1970 album by the Beach Boys called Landlocked. Or I bought it at a record show, I can't remember which. So this happened, which was fine. Where the problem arose was in which place to I visited All Music Guide ( and it described another version of the never-released 1970 album by the Beach Boys with the same title but entirely different song listing!!!! So I no longer know what's right or believe what's wrong; hence, as an "album review," this poem I'm penning is doomed to failure, unlike all my others which have flown high with golden oats and silver beltbuckles. My only recourse is to describe each song in intimate, loving, black-stockinged detail, in hopes that you too will someday encounter the very same bootleg artiste that created this mish-mash of balderdash. Pish posh!

"Out In The Country" is just like that first song on Friends, but slightly less terrifying. Peach happiness nice. Have I even reviewed that album yet?

"Good Time" wound up on Love You. Move along! Nothing to sea hear!

"Lady" has violins, bendy guitar, acoustic and a great Dennis Wilson-sounding vocal and melody. Was this Dennis? Must've been. Nobody overproduced their tunes like that guy. And goodness! If you get a chance, pick up the rare-as-fuck album he released, plus the completely nonexistent second album he recorded, both of which I own copies of thanks to ebay and the kindness of strangeassness.

"When Girls Get Together" is on Keepin' The Summer Alive. I'm bored. "I Just Got My Pay" SHIT. "San Miguel" "Over The Waves" some stuff that I know damn well was meant for Adult Child and thus probably not for Landlocked, further darkening my overall opinion towards bootleggers, all of which are 100% badness 25/8. Then some other crap. Look this is just a waste of everybody's time. This review sucks. I'm the worst reviewer ever. (ALL-OR-NOTHING THINKING) All of my reviews are just a bunch of gross jokes with no insight at all. (OVERGENERALIZATION) That lame re-spelling of "see here" as "sea here" sums it all up: all I ever do is waddle in self-indulgent wordplay. (MENTAL FILTER) I get nice emails from people every week, but they're just being nice because they want me to review their shitty favorite bands. (DISQUALIFYING THE POSITIVE) My readers think I'm an arrogant asshole with nothing of worth to say. (JUMPING TO CONCLUSIONS: MIND READING). It won't be long before nobody at all reads my reviews anymore. (JUMPING TO CONCLUSIONS: THE FORTUNE TELLER ERROR) I'll lose the tiny bit of self-confidence I have left, my wife will leave me, I'll have to move home with my parents and I'll end up a 40-year-old bald crybaby, paralyzed in bed, even afraid to kill myself. (MAGNIFICATION, or CATASTROPHIZING) All I do is write a piddly web site that nobody likes. (MINIMIZATION) I feel so intellectually impotent, it's obvious I should never have returned from my site "retirement." (EMOTIONAL REASONING) I should at least have reviewed Frank Zappa by now like I've been claiming I would for three years. (SHOULD STATEMENTS) I'm a worthless failure. (LABELING AND MISLABELING). And it's my fault that somewhere some poor trusting kid spent his hard-earned money on a Cows album -- and hated it. (PERSONALIZATION)

Whoops! Time for a Triple-Column!

Reader Comments
Hey! I spent my hard-earned money on a Cows album and thought it was great! (Joe H.)
While the whole "Landlocked" thing is confusing and basically just a bunch of unreleased tracks from an early version of Sunflower that got rejected by the record company for lacking a "hit single" (thus is where "Cool Cool Water" came in, although it was a flop), the Landlocked bootlegs contain some excellent material, some of which should of never been neglected and pushed to the side to be discovered only by Beach Boys fans. These songs are "HELP Is On It's Way" (which is on the Adult Child bootlegs too, because i suppose Brian wanted to recycle it for the album), "Lady" (heavenly beautiful Dennis song which should of been a classic, and is better then a handful of Sunflower songs in my opinion), and the equally gorgeously beautiful Dennis song "Forth Of July", which was really a Surf's Up outtake. There's also "Loop De Loop", "Soulful Old Man Sunshine" (which both should of been hits!), "Awake" (a beautiful demo of just Brian on his piano), and the superior early version of "Big Sur", with those heavenly Beach Boys harmonys missing on the Holland version. Basically it's just a bunch of outtakes scattered from '69-'71, and also rough mixes of songs on Sunflower or on other albums ("Good Time", "When Girls Get Together", and "Susie Cincinatti" were all recycled), but there's plenty of material for a lost Beach Boys songs for a lost Beach Boys album. I think Sunflower is kinda flawed the way it is, so i tend to make my own version of Sunflower using a few of these tunes from the era.

Add your thoughts?

Surf's Up - Caribou 1971
Rating = 8

Surf IS up, indeed! Conceived with this feller named Jack Rieley in an attempt to make the Beach Boys seem more "hep with the times," Surf's Up is a bizarre, laughable, strange and above all SOCIALLY CONSCIOUS Beach Boys album continuing the whole "democracy" concept forced upon them by Brian's loss of touch with reality. No Dennis songs, strangely, but the other guys pull through, even though the album doesn't really sound like the Beach Boys much at all. That's what you get when the man behind your sound hides weeping in the guest cabin to avoid a visit from Paul McCartney!

Sample tracks on this platter of food for the ears, that you shove in there and hope that your ear canals somehow eventually lead to your throat and down to your stomach, include: Mike Love with he and Al's wah-wah-pedaled surf update "Don't Go Near The Water (It's Polluted Because I Bathed In It With My Disgusting Hippy Beard)" and hilarious Lieber & Stoller parody "Student Demonstration Time (Hey Young People, I Swear We're "Hip With The Times," Please Stop Not Buying Our Albums)," Al with his minor-key acoustic Simon & Garfunkel/John Lennon soundalike "A Welfare Song (Are You Fucking Kidding Me, You Spoiled Rich Pecker?)" and supercatchy cheery "Take A Load Off Your Feet (This Is A Song About Feet. I'm Not Joking. The Entire Song Is About Taking Care Of Your Feet. I'm Extremely High. Listen To My Deep Words About Feet.)" and of course Bruce "Willis" Johnston's light rock piano anthem for 35-year-old marijuana smoking free thinkers, "Disney Girls (Is Your Wife One? I'm Going To Ball Her While You Sit In The Living Room And Cry)."

There's not a bad song on here. Some are merely GOOD, but the whole thing is so diverse and fun, it would probably be incredibly entertaining even WITHOUT the four pieces of genius that adorn side 2. But man, those four pieces of genius. Cripes! Three Brians and a Carl. Brian has flipped his wig completely, contributing a church hymn about a sad tree suffering from pollution, revisiting an absolutely melodically BRILLIAFUGCKINGNT lost Smile track called "Surf's Up" and, most disturbingly, utilizing an extremely unnerving peaceful/threatening musical dichotomy to announce to his fans that he KNOWS he has lost his mind. "I'm a cork on the ocean floating over the raging sea/How deep is the ocean? I lost my way/I'm a rock in a landslide rolling over the mountainside. How deep is the valley? It kills my soul. I'm a leaf on a windy day/Pretty soon I'll be blown away. How long will the wind blow? UNTIL I DIE."

Not that that's anywhere near as intelligent a thought as "I do them when I'm down in the tub/With avocado cream they'll take a rub/They wrinkle like raisins if I stay too long/I wouldn't want to do it wrong," but in this life, one can't fulfill all of one's desires in the exact same moment.

You know the crazy thing is that you'd think those lyrics would be from the foot song, but they're from this bonus track called "55-Year-Old Vagrant Women (Free Mustache Rides)."

Reader Comments (Michael J. West)
I'd just like to say that I heard this album all the way through only once, about five years ago. After that I put "'Til I Die" and "Surf's Up" on a tape, and still believe that they're all you need. Two wonderful, wonderful songs. I have nothing to add. (Joe H.)
The last 3 songs are amazing pieces of music, and it's a shame the rest of the album pales in comparison with these 3 amazing songs. "A Day In The Life Of A Tree" and "Till I Die" are both brilliant songs, and are produced by Brian, which shows he still had his brilliance, though he didn't want to use it anymore at that point. Both songs are also extremely personal and heartbreaking, as they portray the kind of dark, depressing feelings he felt at the time. I wish he sang on "A Day In The Life..." though. "Surfs Up" is also a genius song, and fully a candidate for best Beach Boys song ever. Those group vocals at the end are the most brilliant thing i've ever heard! Other stuff is mostly good too: "Long Promiced Road", Carls first song, is really great (and "Feel Flows", Carl's other one), "Take A Load Off Your Feet" is funny and catchy, and "Disney Girls" is a great Bruce song as well. The whole thing is quite great overall, but "Student Demonstration Time" didn't need to be on here. "Help Is On The Way" or "When Girls Get Together" would of been better instead, which were outtakes from around the era. I give it a high 8.
An 8? Oh, I can't agree with that one. I like to huff like any other guy, but I don't go reviewing CDs after I do it. Just kidding...huff, then review. At any rate, if I was so inclined to review this album, I'd give it a 7...well, maybe an 8, I, how about a 7.8?

There are a couple more crappers on this album than on 'Sunflower', however, you have "Til I Die" and "Surf's Up". The presence of these two songs alone would boost the ratings of even the Light Album (I haven't read that far down, but I venture to guess you gave it a 1 or 2, Mark). "Feel Flows", "A Day In The Life Of A Tree", "Til I Die", and "Surf's Up" are what really make this album great. Those last two...Brian Wilson is a genius.

I wish the Beach Boys would have taken various, carefully selected (not just randomly selected) tracks from 'Sunflower' and 'Surf's Up' and made one album. What would that track list look like? It would look like this:
-Slip On Through
-This Whole World
-Add Some Music To Your Day
-Tears In The Morning (I love this song, so be quiet)
-Forever [shakes fists at the memory of "Full House"]
-Cool, Cool Water
-Don't Go Near The Water
-Long Promised Road
-Feel Flows
-A Day In The Life Of A Tree
-Til I Die
-Surf's Up
That would be a 9 right there, baby. A 9!

A side note: I got into this late 60s/early 70s era of the Beach Boys after hearing "Feel Flows" in the movie "Almost Famous", but I am not gonna post that on here because I don't want my indie cred to completely disappear because I have tons of it. [insert foghorn here]
Hi Mark,

Though I love the title track, am I the only one who thinks its coda is a ripoff (a great one, but a blatant ripoff) of "A day in the Life"?

Add your thoughts?

Smile - Bootleg
Rating = 8

More of a curiosity satisfier than a fulfilling listening experience, this latest release from the fine folks at Bootleg Records collects a whole bunch of unfinished snippets and half-songs from the Smile sessions, ties `em all together with overused "Heroes & Villains" segments and presents them as evidence of what could have been. From what I can tell, Smile would NEVER have been as great as Pet Sounds, but it could have easily with no effort whatsoever been better than Smiley Smile. First of all, as most people already agree, that album's omission of "Cabinessence" and "Surf's Up" is unconscionable. But beyond that, there are TONS of interesting, catchy little musical doodles, collections of siren noises, guys telling jokes through French Horn nozzles, xylophone/vibraphone prettiness and short verses of vocal harmony loveliness on here that could have at very least been used to piece together a really confusing Zappa-like tour-de-force of limited attention spanism. (No offense to people from Spain.) (Except the really stupid ones, like their President.) And come on, the version of "Wind Chimes" on here is about one billion times lovelier than the fiddlefarts version they chose to give us on Ripoffity Ripoff.

So go down to your local Record Bar or Turtle's today and tell the clerk you want "All The Money In The Register." That's what cool people call Smile by the Beach Boys.

Cool people also run around Israel with fake bombs strapped visibly across their chests. If you don't do that, don't even THINK about trying to join my "Cool People's Club."

Reader Comments (Michael J. West)
Okay. By now I think I've got approximately enough Smile outtakes and such in my apartment to warrant a separate library, so I'll pretend like I'm someone who knows shit about shit.

I played a friend of mine these tracks one year on my birthday (January 29th HINT HINT), and he shook his head sadly. "No," he said, "it's not brilliant! It's the sound of someone who tried to go too far!" Looking back on it, I can halfway understand what he meant--I think that Smile was doomed to collapse under its own ambition, really. But how could anyone go too far, and yet do it so brilliantly, huh?

In other words, there is still enormous potential to all of these recordings to make up one of the greatest albums of all time if they were finished, polished, and mixed properly. I won't deny that it's weird stuff, but some of it is just too, too good. Brian's sanity aside, the greatest tragedy the Smile sessions ever saw was that nothing was ever done with "Child is the Father of the Man," the most gorgeous thing anyone in the band ever came anywhere near. Including "God Only Knows." That french horn that you hear oh-so-faintly over the piano intro (in the interest of full disclosure, though, on most copies of Smile you hear EVERYTHING oh-so-faintly) has been haunting me for almost a decade.

But that's only the cream of a very, very rich crop, isn't it? What about "Do You Dig Worms"? What about "Holidays?" Or the "Woodshop Song?" And can you really have too many versions of "Our Prayer" and "Cabinessence?" WELL??!!

One other thing. I was talking in my SMILEY SMILE comments about Brian Wilson audibly straddling the genius-insanity line. Now, I don't know about you (Mark specifically, and Rich specifically, and the general "you"), but no matter the artist, I don't think you could find a better representation of straddling-the-line than "Mrs. O'Leary's Cow," which is the coolest, most imaginative, and most disturbing thing you've ever heard, all at the same time. It was done, dontchaknow, with no sound-effects recordings at all, just strings and organ and a temper-tantrum of production work. What might have happened if THAT had seen release? What kind of influence would it have on Frank Zappas and Residents? I just, just don't know. (Joe H.)
I more or less agree with the above comment by Micheal West. If this album was mixed, finished, and properly released, this would be a pure masterpiece. Brian might have been going too far and recording every creative idea his brain had at the time, but not every single Smile outtake was going to be released! There was going to be a reasonable tracklisting and an album flow that made sense, but Brian just didn't finish it in time. Most people don't realize that!

Plus you can't deny the genius of some of these songs. Come on, most of this stuff was recorded in 1966! Even anything on Revolver sounds amaturish compared to the production work on stuff like "Fire", "Cabinessence" and "Heroes And Villians". This stuff is just way ahead of it's time, and it's such a shame this album couldn't be finished. Hearing the remains of "Wonderful", "Surf's Up", "Wind Chimes" and "Vegetables" clearly shows a masterpiece, which makes me really wish Brian could of finished it.

What's there is kind of frustrating and confusing, but only because the album was never edited or mixed properly! Brian had lots of ideas, the main idea being that "Heroes And Villians" was supposed to be the albums centerpiece with different pieces of musical ideas threading the song and album together, and other ideas like "The Elements", which was supposed to have songs about Earth ("Vegetables") wind ("Wind Chimes") and fire ("Fire"). That's a really crazy concept right there! I can't think of any other band striving for something so innovative like that in 1966! So for all those reasons, i have incredible respect for this album, even though it's unreleased and unfinished. People tend to write off the Beach Boys just because the stupid media put so much hype on it at the time and it ended up being aborted, but if you listen to the remains of these songs, it's pretty fuckin' obvious Brian was on to something brilliant here.

I made my own tracklisting that just compiles the more finished songs and that works alright to me, since even the unfinished remains of most of these songs are still gorgeous as hell. I couldn't possibly rate this, overall though because there's just no album tracklisting to speak of! Just countless bits and pieces taken from the sessions, and that's not what the album was supposed to be. It does work as a "interactive" album though, where you could pick your own tracklisting for the album, which i think is quite a cool idea, though unintentional of course. (Rick Brown)
Now that Brian Wilson has finished and is performing Smile live in Europe, all you have to do is listen to any of the many high quality audience/soundboard bottlegs to realize that Smile is way better than we have imagined. A Cantata in 3 Movements, no less, that is so damned moving I challenge anyone to listen to it without getting at least a little tear in their eye. 11 out of 10!
Well, now we've got "Smile" in as close to canonical form as we're going to get, and we know the truth - this album is a masterpiece. I can't believe, given the historical weight that it must bear, that it can even come within shooting distance of living up to its legend, but it oh-so does. I thought Wilson was reduced to sponge baths and being tucked in at night, then he goes and gets this thing done, fully blowing my mind in the process. I'm forced to re-evaluate everything in my fucking world, now. Thanks, Brian! (Derek Nicholson)
I waited with absolute orgasmic imatience for the new Star Wars films and felt like I had been suckerpunched when I was finally rewarded for my stupidity. Because of George Lucas I lost all faith in hype and bullshit being spoken by bullshit artists about their grand bullshit visions and all that bullshit about gestation and realize they are just jacking off in the studios and soundstages of the world and was ultimately very unhappy ( that is an awesome run on sentence ). Then one day Brian Wilson decides to finish and release his over hyped underheard masterpiece to the world and now I feel like, oh I dont know......SMILING. Thank you Brian for turning me from the dark side of the farce and making me have belief in the world of art again. I found out by listening to Smile that everything is not geared towards selling Pepsi. It is gorgeous and well worth the wait. (Ben Doleac)
Just writing because, as you are probably aware, Brian Wilson finally got his shit together and ACTUALLY RECORDED SMILE. As in the Beach Boys album that was supposed to come out 37 YEARS AGO. I've got it, and it's quite good - not quite "Pet Sounds", but it's still a remarkably good record even without considering that the mastermind is a 63 year old paranoid schizophrenic with a voice that's starting to fail him. I'm sure he had a lot of help putting "SMiLE" together, but the triumph is his - and it's a wonderful thing to hear after all this time. You may well own it, and I would recommend that you review it - I'm not sure that it's album of the year, but it's pretty great, "Heroes and Villains" sounds better than it ever did, the whole thing beats hell out of all the "SMiLE" bootleg tapes that have been made over the year, and whether you concur or disagree it would be interesting to hear what you've got to say about it.
Since you haven't added Brian's 2004 release of SMILE. Allow me to add my thoughts on it here.

Too bad it is a 1967 album recorded and released in 2004. Of course, in 1967, the Beach Boys didn't want to make it, didn't understand it, and Brian was incapable, given his condition, to complete it.

By 1967 standards, it is a masterpiece. Period. There are no fillers here. It all flows and it all fits together. It is perfection. This is the logical next step from Pet Sounds. Just as Sgt Pepper was the logical next album after Revolver.

And, by the way, Brian is, rather was, a musical genius.

I torture myself playing the 'what if' game. What if it had been released (as conceived) and produced (as it is here) in early 1967, before Sgt. Pepper? Would Sgt Pepper been different? How would the pop music scene been different? Would Smile be the greatest pop album, followed by Sgt. Pepper? Of course, there is no arguing who was better, The Beatles. But what if Brian didn't break down, what if Mike and the other's didn't fight his vision, what if. what if.

But the dilemma. It was produced in 2004, Brian is a sixty plus, and Carl & Dennis are dead. So what do we make of this album? What would Sgt Pepper be if it was shelved in 1967 and Paul recorded and produced it in 2004, without George and John? Would it still be the greatest pop record ever? Obviously not.

At the end of my first listening to Smile, I wept. It was the masterpiece we were promised over 30 year. Although Brian's backing band's harmonies were perfect, they weren't the Beach Boys. Brian's was voice was great considering that he has been through. But, Carl and Dennis are dead and it is 2004.

I just have an overwhelming feeling of sadness.

Add your thoughts?

Carl and the Passions-So Tough - Brother 1972
Rating = 7

The Beach Boys don't sound like the Beach Boys at ALL anymore. This is yet another attempt to keep up with the times, but the times being what they were in 1972, the Beachles were probably kneedeep in alcohol-soaked blow and each others' wives when a better man (Gordon Lightfoot) would have concentrated on his craft (anal expression). The result? In the words of world-famous web site maintainer Rich Bunnell, "I can't tell whether it's a great album, or just really really bad."

The truth is, in my opinion, ..

Just ponder that turn of phrase for a moment.

Okay so the truth, in my opinion, is that it's a little of both. Within eight lengthy tracks, this album gives you the opportunity to hear the Beach Boys perform a jazzy piano Steely Dan Jackson Browne song, a kooky stilted rock boogie of the Guess Who variety, a GOSPEL song (incidentally, stare all you want but the Beach Boys aren't negroes), a "The Band'-sounding drunken redneck waltz, a Crosby, Stills & Nash hippy-harmonized echoey piano tune and two slow ballads that sound about as much like "Surfer Girl" as Peter Gabriel's Us sounds like it has even one actual melody on it anywhere.

The times didn't want the Beach Boys. They had appealed to a certain type of person in the early 60s, and those days were long over. Which brings up an interesting point - J. Lo, Pink, the Backstreet Boys, Puff Daddy, Christina Aguilera, Britney Spears - NONE of these popular celebrities are going to have careers five years from now. Because they appeal to a certain demographic - that of a teenaged girl (or really pansyassed teenage boy). When these fans grow up to be women, they will have no use for their silly old pop stars. And the new batch of young kids will CERTAINLY have no use for them because they'll be a bunch of old bags, replaced by a new batch of pop stars. These pop stars may think that they're "artists" who can live large and waste all the money they want, but they're NOT artists and many of them are going to be bankrupt when the income dries up and nobody buys their godawful shitty albums anymore. Pink is not, and will never be, Madonna. Puff Daddy is not, and will never be, Michael Jackson. These "artists" are today's equivalent of Debbie Gibson and MC Hammer - but with even LESS creativity. Watch them fail. And LEARN from them. Celebrity is fleeting - don't pursue it.

I suppose you can tell by the album title exactly how much input Brian Wilson gave this time around. Jesus, this album is NUTS. NOTHING on here sounds like the Beach Boys! And I REALLY can't tell their voices apart at this point. With the beards and 30th birthdays came a collective lowering of the band voice. Plus Jack Rieley had brought in all these NEW band members to give them some crazy "ethnic" feel, like at an ethnic Beach. Heck, for all I know, that's Rocky Pamplin singing lead on "Oh My Dear Brother."

Oh sorry, Rocky Pamplin was a member of the Beach Boys organization who was (*forms circle with thumb and forefinger of right hand, jams index finger of left hand in and out and in and out of the circle until huge blast of finger semen squirts out all over the geranium*) Brian's wife behind his back. Rocky also fought Mr. T and this big Russian guy.





























.God I hope I did that HTML right. After all that buildup - to let you down.. You'd probably KILL ME! You'd probably hunt me down and KILL ME! You'd probably call information, find out my street address, cleverly sneak into the building by pretending you're delivering a pizza, grab my keys out of the umbrella stand, unlock my door, stealthily sneak up the staircase and swizzle my balls around in your mouth with great sKILL, ME!adowlark Lemon of the world-famous Harlem Globetrotters.

You ever get the feeling that I don't find music criticism all that interesting?

Reader Comments (Joe H.)
I think this is a really underrated Beach Boys album. The two Dennis songs on here are honestly the most gorgeous pieces of music i've ever heard. "Make It Good" and "Cuddle Up" is so incredibly emotionally powerful and amazingly beautiful, it brings me to near tears everytime i hear them (and i don't cry that easily). "All This Is That" is also the most brilliant Beach Boys song that wasn't written by Brian or Dennis. That ending "jai guru dev" part is just...i hate to repeat the same word...but it's just so damn angelically gorgeous! Just something about those Wilson brothers that had such endless amount of talent and beauty in their souls that i've never heard done the same way by anyone else, and won't as long as i live. "Marcella" and "You Need A Mess Of Help To Stand Alone" are excellent Brian contributions that are a little bit more rockin' then what he's done on Surf's Up. Unfortunatly this album is so short, and weakened by the 3 other tracks on the album (nothing special about "Here She Comes", "Hold On Dear Brother" is okay, and "He Come Down" is more or less a fine authentic gospel song, but too overlong unfortunatly) that people like to write this album off. It's an extreme pity though, because those last 3 songs are definately brilliant. I give this 'un an 8. (Nick Sergakis)
The russian man is....YAKOV SMIRNOFF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Stephen Fouts)
What If....

Carl Wilson had left The Beach Boys and been replaced by William Shatner?

The 1972 album CARL & THE PASSIONS would probably have been titled SHATNER & THE PASSIONS .

Add your thoughts?

Holland - Caribou 1973
Rating = 8

Another mostly non-Brian Wilson album, Holland finds the Beach Remainders continuing in their experimental whirlwind of anti-beach music, with a bunch of deliciously melodic tunes riding on tasty piano riffs, flavorsome steel guitar licks and appetizing background vocal harmonies, recorded in scrumptious stereo and displaying a yummy variety of tastes and textures, from the muffled emotional souffl‚ of the long-lost Wilson/Parks-written "Sail On Sailor" through the oddball piano/pounding noise/doowop/David Gilmour-sounding guitar pyrotechnic casserole of "Steamboat" into the harmonica-driven Dylan-style waltz pizza "Big Sur" before a heaping helping of Mike Love's hairy ballsac on a plate of greens is brought in to recite the scary flute poem "The Beaks Of Eagles" and a fine happy banjo aperitif with a billion voices, yet another pedal steel and the bass line from "California Girls" put to bizarre ALTERED effect in "California" as an old man next to you sits drooling into the beautiful chorus and gorgeous, questioning second half of "Trader" soup, the little kids' table is having a food fight with the Elton Johnalike piano ballad (interspersed with ELP synth solo) "Leaving This Town" French fries, the Mexican butler is shouting "Aye yi yi!" as he slips in a pile of Dennis's schmaltzy piano ballad "Only With You" pudding that's resting in the middle of the banquet hall, and the entire roof caves in due to somebody on the floor above shoveling too many mashed potatoes into a broth of Brian's unfunky, unpretty "Funky Pretty," leaving only the vultures, rats and roaches to pick at the first evidence of the new "Adult Child" Brian Wilson - his insane, bizarre fairy tale "Mt. Vernon and Fairway," in which a tiny creature called the Pied Piper (whose voice sounds a darn lot like a South Park character) delivers music to a young prince's radio until the prince's mother hides the radio like the mean-spirited bitch whore that she is.

I'd like to thank Microsoft Word's Grammar Check function for somehow failing to note that that entire paragraph was one huge run-on sentence. I have a hard time figuring out how to review albums that don't have one overarching sound to them. Holland is kind of all over the place, see. And a lot of people hate it. But, by describing every single song on it (using a selection of brilliant "food" analogies, helping you to visualize each track so perfectly that you now know EXACTLY how they all sound even if you've never heard any of them), I was trying to explain that, even though you may have heard bad things about it, it IS a melodic, strange, innovative, interesting and (I'll just point out again) "experimental" record. Without Brian, they could easily have turned to shit but they didn't! Not immediately anyway. "Sail On Sailor" and "Trader" in particular are should-be classics, "Steamboat" and "California Saga" are as peculiar as ANYTHING Brian dreamt of in his philosophy (class), and Brian's out of true fairytale will make you really, really glad you never developed schizophrenia.

Yeah, I know! I was all like hoping I'd end up losing 20 years of my life to an incapacitating mental disease too. But not anymore! Thanks Brian!

Reader Comments (Joe H.)
Agreed with the 8. My favorite song is "Funky Pretty", which i think is one of the most underrated Brian Wilson tunes of the 70's (although admittedly, there's a lot of them). "California Saga" (especially "California"), "Only With You", and "Sail On Sailor" are the other main highlights. The rest are good, but too experimental to the point where they left behind the instantly catchy hooks and complex vocal harmonys behind a little. "Leaving This Town" i really don't even like that much. Still a great album, although short, and i get the feeling that something is lacking in some of these songs.
I've always loved this album, especially the way Sail On Sailor sounds like it was played just a tad too slow, or the tape was running an inch to fast. But a quick consumer-historical note here- the fairy tale Mt. Vernon and the Fairway was actually a bonus 7" that came with the first pressing of the album. Here's a picture of the cover (same on both sides):
Mr. Fulton shouldn't worry too much, well artistically anyway, everything is kosher. A marvellous achievement. Alan tries to be Ray Manzerwotshisnamedoorsdude on "Beaks Of Eagles" but it still rings my bell. Actually "California Saga" should have been officially credited as one whole song with 3 mini sections credited to the writers, that way we could have got an OFFICIAL 10 minute Beach Boys song that would have given them groovy early 70s "Long Mysterious Technical Passage From Former Pop Group Now Grown Up" style kudos, a-la The Kinks, and all the other marvellous 60s pop groups, now matured into wonderful 70s rock bands. At the same time, it would have (possibly) saved us from the bombast of "Here Comes The Night" 6 years later, I say "Probably", of course, as Michael is such a hard manchild to please at the best of times....... All in all, a fabtacular album. 9/10.

Add your thoughts?

In Concert - Caribou 1973
Rating = 8

Their third live album is a double double album and a double double album indeed. The songs are played well thanks to extra musicians, and there's no funny banter, Jack Peed.

I'm assuming, obviously, that your name is Jack Peed. If it is not, I ask that you understand that had I known that was the case, I would have written something different. Probably describing the album in some way.

Which reminds me of a joke: What's the difference between Mike Love and a 55-pound bag of sewage?

About a hundred pounds!

Add your thoughts?

15 Big Ones - Caribou 1976
Rating = 4

And by "Big Ones," I can only assume they're using the Aerosmith definition, "Embarassing Late-Period Shit Recorded By A Bunch Of Washed Up Old Drug Addicts Who Don't Even Like Each Other." In a sickening attempt to cash in on the success of their all-oldies Endless Summer compilation of the previous year, they've dragged Brian out of bed and yelled at him to write some classic goodtime beach songs. Unfortunately, though the album's soul is rooted in nostalgia, its body is lodged up Jimmy Buffett's ass. Over half of these tracks are covers of `50s/early `60s classics, but (aside from the ridiculously cheery, lopey "Rock And Roll Music" and Goffin/King's "Sorry, The Album Cover's Way Over There") they're all poorly arranged, drunkenly timed and lousily recorded (the music is WAY too quiet - you can barely hear it over the oft-scraggly-and- unlistenable vocal). The other half of the recorded record (w)rec(k) is comprised of worthless doowop originals, with the notable exception of "It's OK" and "Tried To Phone Ya," which hark back to earlier wonders of Brian Wilson goodness and songs.

At the time, there was a big to-do about Brian being back for the album, contributing five songs and producing the entire LP, but he was still really sick and there's no way to cover that up. His production job is the absolute PITS! Good ol' Pits. Let's hear it for Pits!

Actually, I read a recent interview with Brian Wilson in which he dopily blurted out that he's especially fond of this record. The interviewer ignored the point and moved on, somehow not acting on the obvious cry for help or doing what any decent human would have done - that is, phoning up Dr. Eugene Landy and begging him to come back and fix Brian's shitty taste.

You would have to be REALLY forgiving to thoroughly enjoy more than, say, four of these fifteen tracks. You would also have to be so much into the sound of early rock and roll that you're able to enjoy it at half the speed, a quarter of the energy and maybe a hundredth of the songwriting ingenuity. And -- no offense to Jerry Lee Lewis or anything -- but most of us would rather fuck our cousins than welcome such a prospect.

Every single band member has a full beard, for Christ's sake. What possible reason could you have for buying it?

Reader Comments (Joe H.)
Hmm, well, i don't think it's as bad as you say it is, but i don't like a majority of it. They're arranged quite fine to me actually, it's just that they're just so mediocrely arranged and every song sounds so slick and incredibly dated and so "70's". Plus there's just absolutely no creativity and pep on this record that made the very next record, Love You, such an absolute joy, so it's mostly a bore to listen to. No energy or creativity that made the band's earlier cover songs rival the original versions! Also Dennis and Brian's voice do sound like crap on here sadly, from years of drug use i suppose, though Love You would show that they still have a charm to them. I do enjoy a good amount of the record to give it a 6 though! "Talk To Me" has a gorgeous lead vocal from Carl, "Chapel Of Love" is a nice cover version, "In The Still Of The Night" has some Brian falsetto of old and a lovely lead from Dennis which is always good, and "Just Once In My Life" is a pretty good performence by Carl and Brian as well. All the originals on here are also enjoyable, especially "It's OK"! That's a pure catchy as hell "fun in the sun" Beach Boys song just like in the 60's! I love that "find a riiiiiide!" part by Dennis too! The only song i dislike totally on this record is the "Rock And Roll Music" cover. Totally energyless and poorly arranged. If every song sounded like this i'd understand why people would give it a 3 or 4, but honestly, i find some songs to be pretty enjoyable on here. What isn't enjoyable is merely mediocre to me, but then again the Beach Boys ARE my favorite band so i'm probably just really forgiving.
15 Big Turds. Well, okay, maybe 11 or so, turds. "Just Once In My Life" fits everything into place nicely, The Beach Boys reclaim a song that is rightfully theirs. As for the rest, well, there are a few decent tunes, "Had To Phone Ya" is a lovely piece, "It's Ok" is, eh.... ok. But baby, let's just forget the rest. 4/10.

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Love You - Caribou 1977
Rating = 7

Ceach Boys - Bryan Williams returns and writes songs that sound like a little kid wrote them for other little kids. Schizophrenia on an album. "Johnny Carson" - "He's the man that we admire/Johnny Carson's no live wire!" He wrote all the songs, and his mind has deteriorated to that of an 8-year-old. He uses an odd low fuzzy synth throughout the whole album, over a piano and an oft-present circus organ. A very circus feel to it. "Honkin' down the goshdarn highway!" "Pat her on the butt" - it's about a baby Side two gets bogged down in unmemorable bouncy pop piano crap with really crusty phlegmy singing voices on occasion (Dennis, I'd have to wager), but side one is so damned weird that you'll call the guys at The Twilight Zone and say "Hey, what ever happened to that show Darkroom?" Do you guys remember Darkroom? Or Alfred Hitchcock Presents? I think it's important for all members of Gen X to get together and talk about TV shows from the early 80s. And our favorite cereals. I know it can be a bit threatening at first to hear rebellious ideas such as these, but every revolution has to start somewhere. This one is starting with the childish, childlike Beach Boys Think You're A Prick album. I like books! Is it a good book? Oh no!

Everybody says "You're not insightful, Mark!" Well, here's a little secret = neither are many of your favorite reviewers = everything they write is based on what they read on All-Music Guide or from somebody else. Check it out and see if you don't see the same thing. It's important for a person to tell the truth. Here's your insight for this album: IT SOUNDS LIKE MUSIC FOR LITTLE KIDS. THE REASON THIS IS SO IS BECAUSE BRIAN WILSON WROTE ALL THE SONGS, AND HE SUFFERS FROM PARANOID SCHIZOPHRENIA. HE WAS ALSO UNDER MEDICATION, WHICH AFFECTED HIS SONGWRITING. THE MATURE STUFF HE WROTE ON PET SOUNDS IS NOT SOMETHING HE CAN DO ANYMORE, BECAUSE HE HAS LOST HIS MIND. HE IS ONLY CAPABLE OF WRITING HAPPY CHILDREN'S MUSIC. SAD YES, BUT IT AT LEAST SOUNDS LIKE HE WAS HAPPY WHEN HE RECORDED IT.

I like my butt. Music critique is stupid. This is a diary I've built around albums. Let's talk about the Fall and the Flaming Lips. Because boy is that "interesting." I can't WAIT to hear why you like "Revolver" better than "Sgt. Peppers'! That is really "exciting" to me! Wow! So you really like "Let It Bleed"? Oh! I have to argue about why I think "Sticky Fingers" is better! That's a GREAT way to spend my time! I will accomplish so much!

Which is not to say I don't appreciate your reader comments. I very much do. Seriously. I very much do. It's the mindless arguments I have no patience for. "You don't like Quadrophenia? You're FUCKED! That album rules!" Hey, thanks! Fascinating debate we've had!

Final note: It's good. If you like fuzzy synths and childish songs with infantile titles like "Roller Skating Child," "I'll Bet He's Nice" and the UPROARIOUS "Ding Dang," look no further than about a foot and a half in front of your nose. If possible, surgically alter your retinas so that you are incapable of making out any visual form past that point. Waltzes, weird harmony vocals, odd blurby synth noises, dippiness, sax, nostalgia, ob-la-di-ob-la-ripoff - trolley bells, ELP synths, nice chord changes, mediocrity, weird tones. Many people love it. And by "Beach Boys Love You," they of course mean "The Beach Boys = Mike Love + You."

Which is pretty much all the Beach Boys have been since 1986, so accuracy in reporting is comin' on strong!

Reader Comments (Joe H.)
I love this album! It's one of the most unique Beach Boys albums in their catalogue, and that's what makes it a classic in my mind. All the melodys are beautiful (except "Roller Skating Child", which is mostly funny imagining Mike Love singing the lyrics in earnest), and all the arrangements are bizaare, but brilliant. Kinda like Smile for the 70's! Most people complain about the vocals, because unfortunatly Dennis and Brian's aged badly (which shows how much "Good Time" is out of place here, since it was recorded in 1970, but it's an awesome song!), or the lyrics on this album but for some reason there's still a charm to both voices. Or maybe it's because the melodys or so good it doesn't matter. The lyrics on mostly the first side of the record do seem childish, but they're usually either hilarious ("Roller Skating Child" and "Johnny Carson"), or so cute they could be kids songs ("Solar System", "Honkin' Down The Highway"). They also are an awesome contrast compared to Pet Sounds as far as pretentian goes. This album sounds like a normal guy recording a bunch of songs he'd written with the Beach Boys on guest vocals instead of a huge, legendary genius that he is portrayed as, which always seemed cool with me! A definate 9!
Actually the crusty wizened voice you're hearing is probably Brian's, though Dennis does sing on "Love You". I know that it's Brian singing on "Mona" and that one with his wife - at that point he was smoking literally hundreds of cigarettes a day, wandering the streets barefoot and utterly lost, occasionally stumbling into brothels and summarily getting thrown out on his ass. So it's rather remarkable that "Love You" came out at all, though his illness shows through more painfully and clearly on this 1977 album than any other. He may still be nuts almost 30 years later but it's amazing that he's not only outlived his brothers but actually has a stable family life and has resumed touring at over 60 years old. Ironic, isn't it, that he releases some of the best work of his career in 2004 (that's 42 years after "Surfin' Safari") while his old idol, Phil Spector, faces murder charges? The wise among us have long known that he was better than Spector anyway.
You're review of Love You sucked. And you also suck at writing. I couldn't follow ANY of your points because YOU must have paranoid schizophrenia. Love you is BRIAN WILSONS (not Bryan Williams you fucking retard) last great album. The lyrics are funny, the melodies are awesome, and some songs like "The night was so young" remind of the pet sounds era and if you don't hear that you're a fucking moron.
If this was a group's debut album I wouldn't have made it past the first listen.... I'd have taken it out of the player and it never would have seen the light of day again. The only reason it got more than one play was because of who the artist was and the acceptable overall quality of all the work that preceeded this gem. So when I read glowing reviews of "BB Love You" I can't help but think "Are you hearing this? Are you even playing the album or are you just copying someone else's reviews?"

"A child writing and playing music for other children..." That's genius! You neglected to say that the children listening took the album off the player and put it away, never to see the light of day again! Children making other children ill.... You know, it's human nature to look at someone else's accomplishments, be it art, sports, literature or music, and compare it to your own ability. Could I run that fast? Write that good of a book? Etc.,etc. Well, for the first time ever I can honestly say "I could have done that!" And I can't sing! Or play an instrument! But I KNOW I can write better lyrics than that, because I got past grade school without being held back!

Thanks for the blunt honesty. We needed to hear it. The honesty. Not the album.
"Ding Dang" is going to be to the next musical prodigy what "Be My Baby" was to Brian Wilson. "Ding Dang" is short, sweet, and to the point. Brutally honest in its lyrics and unbelievably catchy in its melody, I think its safe to say that "Ding Dang" alone puts 'The Beach Boys Love You' at second best to 'Pet Sounds.'

This review is serious. I often dream of standing atop two enormous columns and stomping my feet to "Ding Dang" while millions of people dance below me.
In an earlier post under an older email address (SuprLoud, it’s a really stupid screen name, sue me) I wrote that I was “sure” Brian sang “Mona.” Actually, I’ve read more recently that that song was sung by Dennis, though the words he’s singing are obviously Brian’s (“Listen to the ‘Doo Ron Ron,’ Listen to ‘Be My Baby,’ I know you’re gonna love Phil Spector”). Amazingly, Dennis and Brian had both inflicted so much damage on their own voices by this point that they can be hard to tell apart. For the gruesome details, see any number of Beach Boys biographies.

As for “Love You,” itself, the album is neither a total throwaway nor a lost masterwork. It’s a fitfully moving, disarmingly honest and mostly catchy artifact from an obviously troubled Brian. 7.5 outta ten seems about right – the second side tunes will grow on you if you give them a chance.

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Adult Child - Unreleased 1977
Rating = 9

The ACRA File Service runs as a Windows service on [machine] which is located on premises on server [machine]. The service is scheduled to run every ten minutes. When the Windows service runs, it calls a Web service to obtain a list of offices to obtain lockbox files for, Location A where new lockbox files reside, Location B where all lockbox files are archived, and Location C where to send the file for each office. The Windows service then calls the Coverall.Lib.clsFilesystem.sub_CopyNoDupesOrOld method which copies any files in Location A, that do not already exist in Location B (the method uses the Coverall.Lib.clsFileSystem.fn_bFilesEqual_Binary method to binary compare Location A files against any Location B files of the same size that are newer than 30 days), to Location C. The files are then archived (moved from Location A to Location B). If you receive this message, your hard drive has been erased.

"Don't sit around on your ass - smokin' grass. That stuff went out a long time ago!" That is the SECOND LINE on this LP. This REJECTED LP. This BRILLIANT, HILARIOUS, MORONIC REJECTED LP. Don't think I'm trying to be hipster by giving a rejected album a 9. But also don't think that this is a serious album to be seriously hunted down and listened to with serious ears like (I Don't Wanna Be Buried In A) Pet Sounds (-atary). This is mid-70s Brian Wilson we're discussing. He was a loon, see. But a FUN loon! A fun loon out to make himself and others as happy as possible under the sad circumstances. And the person who can listen to any given 10 seconds of this album without getting a big mocking grin on their face is an unpleasant, hurtful person who should be framed for murder and hung from the injection chair. Here's why:

It's a full-blown Vegas extravaganza! A musical festival of overblown show tunes with violins and horn sections for dancing with a cane and crooning in a tux! Cover tunes include "Deep Purple," "On Broadway" and "Shortening Bread," all performed with complete tongue-in-cheek sincerity (if that's possible. If not, shut it). Originals (or what I assume are originals - I might be wrong, and I admit that, as there are no songwriting credits on this bootleg disc) include "Life Is For Living" (the one that mentions doobs), "Help Is On The Way," (with its uproariously phrased opening verse, "Stark naked in front of my mirror/A pudgy person somehow did appear/Seems lately all I've eatin's sugar and fat/It's gettin' obvious that's not where it's at!"), the sickeningly sexist "Hey Tomboy," in which the band converts a tomboy into a GIRL ("Okay, put on a little lipstick, let's see what it looks like" - "Now let's put on a dress and some makeup!" - "Okay, now shave your legs for the first time!"), the out-and-out PATHETIC "Games Two Can Play" (in which Brian, in all seriousness, recites the verse "Joe South was singing `Games People Play'/ And I like to play games that two can play!") and "Still I Dream Of It," an honestly beautiful old person-style ballad he wrote in hopes that Sinatra or Davis Jr. would sing it. Neither would - THEIR LOSS. Fantastic song! And, like every other track on here, impossible to hear without imagining overweight bearded Brian standing on stage in a lounge, walking back and forth in front of the orchestra with mic in hand, singing with an eye on the stars, mesmerizing the audience with his dapper moves and manly yet sensitive delivery.

But the record company rejected it. A friend of mine suggested that they probably just didn't want to follow up the goofy children's songs of Love You with an equally bizarre attempt to convert America's Favorite Beach Music Nostalgia Guys into "Bri Wilson and the Big Beach Band - Live! At the Palamino Club. NUDE WOMEN! LIVE SEX SHOWS!" If that's the case, the record company can take a cue from Rick Dees and "Eat My Shorts."

It's impossible to believe even for a second that the album wouldn't have bombed miserably and been ripped apart by critics had it seen official release at the time. But 25 years on, this stuff sounds really really REALLY good. No fears or worries, no anxiety or terrorism. No hateful, evil Palestinians and Iraqis spreading fear and pain around the globe while George Bush's America waves banners of peace, sends over airplanes filled with emissaries of hope, and works day and night to create a global community of togetherness and understanding for all of humanity. Just straight, obvious, bullshit entertainment for old people like me, I'm 29.

Reader Comments (Joe H.)
It's such a shame this album was/is unreleased! This honestly should of been a Beach Boys classic, in the same vein that Love You is a classic. It is to me already anyway. Fantastic songs all around, and it's great to hear Brian trying to try a different style, which is more swing/big band or vegasy sound, instead of retreading from himself again, sadly, only months later. My favorites are "Lines", the beautiful "It's Over Now", the catchy as hell "Shortenin' Bread", and especially the gorgeously sad "Still I Dream Of It". Why the hell wasn't that a big hit? "Games Two Can Play" and "HELP Is On The Way" sure don't belong on here, but they still should of been released already! The former is an awesome Friends-like number, which is always a warm welcome for me because it's sung by Brian circa 1968-early 1970s which is rarely heard, and the latter with some hilarious, pure Brian Wilson lyrics. I agree with the 9!

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Surfin' Rarities Vol. 1 - Silver Rarities 1995
Rating = 7

This is the bootleg on which you will find Adult Child. Unfortunately you'll also find a bunch of outtakes that sound like Barry Manilow. Seven of them were recorded for an abandoned "New Album" in 1976 (abandoned for 15 Big Ones. In other words, NOT GOOD ENOUGH for 15 Big Ones. Which is pretty much the same as saying "Not good enough for the sound waves to be converted into solid form and rubbed around in a pile of warm shit."), three are by a drunk, raspy Dennis, one is a REALLY awful FM radio crap song that had been tossed off Holland to make room for the MOTHER fuckin' SUPERIOR "Sail On Sailor," and then the other one is Bruce Johnston in 1971 piling harmony vocal after harmony vocal on top of each other to create a beautiful little jingle for Radio Veronica. Not that Bruce was ever a REAL Beach Boy. Like David Marks was.

But enough about the Beach Boys, let's talk about doin' it. Now I know that a lot of you readers are young people who have never done it, so let me try to put into words what doin' it is like. First, you whip out your rod, which should be ready for action. If you have prepared correctly, your partner's panties should already be soaking wet. Then when you're both ready to go, shove your wood right in there, get a steady rhythm going, concentrate and go harder, faster, harder, faster until you're both completely satisfied.

And that's how you clean a fishing pole. Some people also like to put liquid soap into the panties, and others actually prefer using a towel but I find the fabric can be a bit rough on the wood. Stick with something sheer like a work sock or silk underwear and you'll be the envy of all your friends down at the pier!

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M.I.U. Album - Caribou 1978
Rating = 5

More like M.I.A. Album, if you ask me! Heh heh heh (congratulates self for genius twist-of-phrase). Say! Who here's gay?

So tell me this - out of all the great songs on Adult Child, how on Earth's Green God (green with envy - GET IT???? THE PEOPLE OF EARTH CREATED A JEALOUS GOD???? I AM THE GREATEST TWIST-OF-PHRASER IN AMERICAN BIOLOGY!!!!) did only "Hey Little Tomboy" get chosen for the ACCEPTED album - and WITHOUT the hilarious sexist stuff at the end, where they turn her into a girl? Oh! And wasn't it around this time that they submitted a new Christmas album and it got rejected too? Well, one of those songs is on here too. As are "Come Go With Me" and "My Diane" from what I guess was a rejected - or at least abandoned - 1976 "New Album." So a little from here, a little from there, something sorrowed, something spew (FUC!!! DO THEY GIVE OUT AWARDS FOR TURNS-OF-PHRASE??? IF SO, I'D BETTER WIN FIRST PRIZE OR I'M FALSELY ACCUSING THE JUDGE OF CHILD MOLESTATION!) and you get an album with the same nostalgic feel of 15 Big Butts Magazines but with tighter production. No experimentation at all. Neither adult nor child - just simplistic cheery forgettable nostalgia, until the last few songs which suddenly lurch headlong into late `70s schmaltz with a VenGGGeance. The near- disco of "Match Point of Our Love," the total Breadness of "Winds Of Change" - she ain't good. ALSO! Astute fans may note that the band photo on the back is from the same exact roll of film that birthed the Love You band photo. Suggesting what? Probably that they couldn't get the entire band together for a new photo in the year 1978. Brian's input on this album seems to have been pretty minimal; actually, I read somewhere that Mike and Al basically did this album without Dennis or Carl contributing anything at all.

Did I even say what I liked about this album? I don't think I did. Let's go with the first three tracks (the album-opener in particular is, as far as I'm concerned, a new Beach Boys classic - the insane falsettos, the superhappy chorus - disturbing, but fun!), and then "Pitter Patter," whose melody appears to be SLIGHTLY (just a tad) borrowed from the lost-to-the-world "Still I Think Of It" and, oddly enough, "My Diane," which was no good in its original version but thanks to oh no! I can feel the Finger Revolt of late '02 coming on! R3eqnealnfds ;afkd;ariewakgksanv vjfemiiiiewafm dkgn lksa'jgrhiaemiwafmeipmasjfsadjm fgeiwmhipmf m

Reader Comments (Joe H.)
Not a good replacement for Adult Child, but i do really enjoy all the Brian Wilson material on here (though "Matchpoint Of Our Love" is pretty weak, especially with crappy Mike Love lyrics), especially "Sweet Sunday Kinda Love" and "My Diane". Gorgeous songs! The rest are pointless ("Peggy Sue") or dumb ("Belles Of Paris") or obvious nostalgia retreads (i think you can guess what songs they refered to early Beach Boys songs like "Hawaii" and "When I Grow Up"). Not that bad, but comparing it to Adult Child is sad, kinda like the Smiley Smile and Smile comparison. I give it a high 6.
If "Sunflower" is Jack Kennedy, then "M.I.U." is George Dubya. Phhhttt....... Thank Christ for "My Diane", Denny saves the day yet again. 2/10.

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L.A. (Light Album) - Caribou 1979
Rating =

More like Los Angeles, if you ask me!!!!

That didn't make any sense.

When they say "Light Album," what they mean is that eight of the ten songs are ballads. Gentle ballads with very quiet (if any) guitars, string sections, slow plodding tempos and absolutely GODAWFUL melodies. Examples for when you purchase the album and excitedly place the "platter" on the buttcrackle. Which reminds me of a little story - this one time I was in this CD store on 18th between 5th and 6th that caters mostly to classical music fans (losers), and this young teenaged dork kid with glasses was there with his dork father, and the dork kid kept asking the employees, "Where do you keep your rock platters? Do you have any Rolling Stones platters? Can I look through your platters?" See, his loser father must have taught him that the correct word to use for "LPs" or "albums" was in fact.. STUPID! "Platters"? What kind of asshole goes around calling albums "platters"? I imagine Cousin Brucie from the old Video Jukebox show might call them platters, but everyone else knows damn well that the correct term for an "LP" or "album" is of course "Big Juke." So all you kids who've just recently bought a turntable and are ready to go shopping, be sure and ask the record store employees for a "B.J."

Here are the examples I was talking about before I got sidetracked with my hilarious anecdote. "Lady Lynda" is Al Jardine's lyrics set to one of the most famous classical songs of all time. Point? No point! "Love Surrounds Me"? That's Dennis Wilson's voice shot to hell performing a disco funk ballad nightclub cocaine sex song! "Sumahama"? That's Mike Love doing John Lennon's "Beautiful Boy" as performed by Richard Dreyfuss in the hit motion picture Mr. Opus Goes to Holland. And Carl Wilson's "Goin' South" and "Full Sail" have all the warmth and personality that Carl himself displayed the last time I visited him in the fall of '99. Talk about a standoffish ASSHOLE!

This is not a gentle, moving, lovely little meditation like Sunflower. This is Beach Boys Outbore Manilow. It's rare to find so many songs that do NOTHING all in one place like this. I guess "Goin' South" and that one on side two are okay, but the only REAL saving graces to this LP are the phenomenal songs "Angel Come Home" and the second greatest ever recording (second only to the Adult Child mix) of "Shortenin' Bread." That song alone should be enough to win your heart back, placed right at the end after all the snozers. It's the slowest version of the classic tune you will ever hear, but the beat is just so hilariously clompity-clomp and swaying-back-and-forth that it feels like you're on a high LSD "trip" and a bunch of animated circus animals are performing it for you. The dancing elephants are of course singing the bass "Mama's little baby loves shortnin' shortnin'" part, a choir of happy tigers standing on two legs are singing the "hoot! hoot!"s and the excitable lead vocals are probably by a ferret or a coyote or something - something that really shouldn't be in a circus, but it's there anyway and it's singing to you, and then suddenly the album ends and they all jump out of your stereo and your skin starts melting off and YOU THINK YOU CAN FLY AND YOU JUMP OUT THE WINDOW TO GET AWAY FROM THE NIGHTMARE!

Best, The DEA

Post-Script: Hi! I'm Kelly Clarkson, winner of the 1992 American Idol series! When I heard that the DEA was reviewing my favorite Beach Boys album L.A. (Light Album), I knew that I just had to say a few words in support of the 11-minute disco version of "Here Comes The Night." A lot of so-called "fans" call the song a travesty, a boring attempt to cash in on the latest music craze. Nothing could be further from the truth. The original two-minute version of the song as performed on Wild Honey had its moments, I'll admit, but it's impossible to listen to without thinking to yourself, "You know - this song could really use an extra nine minutes of nothing at all going on." And hey! Looks like The Beach Boys felt the same way! By adding in a veritable cornucopia of disco voice effects and virtual grab bag of bass guitar doing that up-down up-down octave jump thing, they have taken what was once a short filler track and coverted it into a really long throwaway! And I for one couldn't be happier. I HATE good music!

Reader Comments (Joe H.)
A little bit better then MIU, but the production uses the same style on almost every song and it gets really boring as it goes along. It doesn't help that the "Here Comes The Night" disco remake was actually ever thought up or recorded in the first place either. Lets just say i ignore the fact it ever exists! After you get used to the album though after some listens, it becomes apparent that "Baby Blue", "Angel Come Home" and "Goin' South" are actually beautiful songs. "Good Timin'", and "Shortenin' Bread" should show it's brilliance to you right away too, of course. "Lady Lynda" and "Love Surrounds Me" are both quite good as well. The rest is either okay ("Sumahama" and "Full Sail") to downright moronic and bad (just "Here Comes The Night", the original is so damn awesome too! What a travesty to the original). I give this one a 7 overall, it's actually pretty underrated!

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Keepin' the Summer Alive - Caribou 1980
Rating = 5

Wouldn't it be nice if they were younger? Then there wouldn't be so many bad songs? And wouldn't it be nice if Brian Wilson hadn't lost his mind from sucking bongs? You know it seems the more I talk about it - it only makes it worse to listen to it.

Wouldn't it be nice if 1980 had found them in a more creative state? Where half the songs weren't bad `60s nostalgia, and even the good songs weren't all that great? I'll admit the title track is catchy, but "Endless Harmony" is more than retchy - some kind of new age Stevie Wonder treachery! Wouldn't it be nice?

Maybe if we hope and wish and dream and ignore the majority of the record, the cute country of "Livin' with a Heartache" won't seem quite as checkered. "School Days" is for fairies ("School Days" is for fairies), but "Sunshine"'s so happy (But "Sunshine"'s so happy), but wouldn't it be nice?

Wouldn't it be nice if I had bothered to describe what the album actually sounds like? Well, it's not a bunch of lousy ballads, but inconsistent thanks to Bruce and Mike. The best song here is "When Girls Get Together" - But Brian wrote that before he fell under the weather. Wouldn't it be nice?

Good night, Album. Sleep tight, Album. Good night, Album. You're fairly mediocre, Album.

Reader Comments
I think this is my favorite review on your entire website. (Joe H.)
I give it a 6. There's some pretty good songs on here if you just ignore the crappy production (it'd get worse by 1985 anyway). "Sunshine" is my favorite of the new songs, with its sunny, reggae-ish feel and cheery vocals, it just makes me feel all warm inside. "Endless Harmony" is also really good, though the intro sounds very cheesy adult-contemporary. The ending is beautiful though, and makes the song worthy enough. I'm really glad you think "When Girls Get Together" is the best song here, because it definately is. Most people like to lump this song with the other songs, ignoring the fact it sounds fresh, creative, and recorded in 1970, around Sunflower-era, when Brian still was in his Post-Smile prime. It must be the production, though, because compared to the original mix on Landlocked, you'll enjoy its beauty a lot more. Here it sounds like they tried their best to fix it so it sticks on this album, which they wanted to sound "punchy" and "live" sounding. "Some Of Your Love" is catchy, the rest is merely okay. "Goin' On" sounds pretty commercial for its time to me, and i'm surprised it wasn't a bigger hit! (Daniel Powel)
I was just reading this review-Monday morning at work.

Thanks, that fucking cracked me up. (Michael J. West)
Man, I long for the days when I was mail-bombing Rich Bunnell with 17 Beach Boys album reviews in one day. Thanks for talking me into that, Mark.

Anyway. Far be it from me to tamper with such a perfect review, but I just have to point out the most obvious aspect of this album: the cover. I mean...there it is, a picture of the Beach Boys in a bubble, isolating themselves from the real world. And then on the record is the sound of the Beach Boys in a bubble, isolating themselves from the real world. Am I the only one who sees this? (Tim Blake)
Holy crap. Browsed your site a bit and this is without a doubt the best review I've ever read. AHAHAHA. Well done! Bravo! Genius.

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Rarities - Capitol 1983
Rating = 7

Yeah, the only RARITY I hear is the guy who compiled the album RARELY putting anything interesting on it! Ha ahahahe!!! Hrrr hree.

RARITIES? Don't you mean SCARCITIES (of interesting material?). Hee!! Haa haha!!! Ho ! Ho! Ho!!! Merry C

This release is as stupid and suckassballsy a waste of human vinyl as the Beatles album Of The Same Name.

No no, Mr. Editor Man! I mean the Beatles album called Rarities! But I guess that's why we have a ten-second delay on my reviews, so we can correct errors like that before they're broadcast live before a national TV audience. Remember that time in '63 when I called John F. Kennedy a "dickhead with fingers"? You sure saved my ass THAT time!

Only 6 of these 15 tracks are Beach Boys compositions, and most of the album is just slightly alternate versions of songs you can "scam" elsewhere anyway (I think some of them are on that 14 Aberdeen Road Expresssway thing they put out. No, Hawthorne, CA was the name of it Regardless, a title doesn't make a man. A rose by any other name would smell like sheet.) "All I Want To Do" live. Whoop-de-asshole-do. A German version of "In My Room" (*makes jerking off motion, but with pants off and erect ding-dong in hand, for fifteen minutes*). A longer version of "I Was Made To Love Her". A 2-track mix of "Bluebirds Over The Mountain." Come on, what are we, suckers? Suckers for the TRUTH maybe! The truth is that the only RAREFIED tracks on here are covers of The Beatles' "With A Little Help From My Friends" and The Box Tops' "The Letter." Bruce sings the Beatles, Brian and Mike sing the Box Tops. And they're really cool! There's also a really really old boring unreleased song called "Land Ahoy," recorded back in 1962 when that dickhead with fingers was in office.

THERE!!! THAT was the time I was talking about, Mr. Editor Man! This entire review was a flashback!

(blooo! bloooo! blooo! bloooo!)

"Gosh Mallory! I still remember the day you were conceived!"

(blooo! blooo! blooo! blooo!)

(*footage of thirty smelly hippies pulling a train on Meredith Baxter Birney*)

Reader Comments
Good Jesus, are you trying to tell me Jack had FINGERS now???!!! Get da hell outa here! i bet he had 10 as well.... Go on, tell me he had 10, boy that would really crack me up............ Brew ha ha ha! I really like the Swiss (Or is it Austrian?) version of "In My Doom" or sploom or something, oh what the hell................. Got it! It's the Liechtenstein version of "Inna M'Roof" Hoo ya.

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The Beach Boys - Brother 1985
Rating = 1

It wasn't enough that the CIA had Dennis Wilson drugged and murdered in six feet of water so he couldn't reveal what he knew about their involvement in teaching Charles Manson the pharmaceutical brainwashing techniques that caused the Tate-LaBianca murders; Mike Love had to add insult to injury by replacing him with the loudest, stupidest sounding programmed drums this side of Deaf Leopard.

Oh FUCK - I spelled it right!

This album is down-the-drain adult contemporary limp-wristed (slang for GAY, not PARALYZED FROM THE SHOULDERS OUT) synthesized shytpop seemingly geared towards attracting a new audience of 14-year-old girls who have never heard songs before and will thus be unaware that they generally involve actual musical instruments and melodies that don't sound like they were written by a retarded four-year-old.

Oh but what am I saying? Some of the songs feature the SMOOTH SOUL SOUNDS of some white guy playing a shitty saxophone solo. The mix is too tinny to bear, every single "riff" is a series of boring, anti-infectious two- or three-chord repetitions that you have heard a hundred jillion times in the Michael Bolton catalog alone. And NEVER have you even IMAGINED an album with this many fake instruments on it. It sounds like one guy playing all the music on his giant Casio keyboard! Imagine a Kenny G. album with no horn on it and you've got a pretty good idea of the relevance and timeless aural qualities conjured up by this wrongly-entitled dresser drawer filled with urine. "Getcha Back" was a hit, but how much is that supposed to mean when you consider that "We Built This City" was the ninth best-selling single of 1985? This is worthless. If you ever see it at a record store, just pull it out and crack it in two. Nobody's gonna care. I can't even imagine Bruce Johnston giving a shit, and you know how concerned about quality control HE is!

Reader Comments

I apparently deleted his info. Not sure who sent it.
Now, now, now.... 'Getcha Back' rules in a cheesy Mike Love kinda way, but it's Brian on falsetto! Brian, you see!! In his eighty cigs a day voice! How can you resist? Seriously though, i've heard far worse eighties albums than this. I'd give this a 6 or so on the Prindle scale. I'd also give 'Sunflower' a 9 on the Prindle scale.
It ain't THAT bad! Even if I do get images of "Airwolf" and "Dynasty" (Yipes) every time I hear it. 1/10 is a tad cruel, maybe a 6, or even a 7, considering that the guys display SOME degree of harmony here, despite Steve Levine's technical schlock bombast.
In 1985, several years before the hilariously humiliating role as Full House regulars, what remained of the Beach Boys released as self-titled LP (commonly referred to as Beach Boys '85) that is generally regarded as one of the worst albums of all time.

I would like to refute this reputation, as in my opinion this is one of the top 5 Beach Boys records ever. Of course it is ridiculously dated sounding, but it has that same magic quality of KISS's "Crazy Nights" LP that makes me want to invent a time machine to go back to the 1980's and have relentless amounts of sexual intercourse with poorly dressed women with stupid haircuts. By poorly dressed, I mean worse than the arrangements that marr a number of otherwise kick-ass songs on Beach Boys '85. More specifically, I'm talking women who wore horrendously colored Jordache jeans up so high past their waist that their asses looked 27 feet tall. You know, the "mom butt."

Speaking of mothers, maybe I only like this album because my mother had horrible taste in music and constantly played this album on cassette in the family station wagon while I was growing up. Ironically I got my first blowjob in that car. Sadly it wasn't from my mom and it wasn't to this album. It was from a fat girl in a painstakingly awkward silence. Whatever, we all have our follies.

But "It's Getting Late" seriously kicks ass in a most boner-inducing manner. "Crack At Your Love" initially sounds like the introduction to a horrible 80's soap opera that would have probably starred Rick Springfield before going into some classic Al Jardine ass-rompery. "Passing Friend" and "California Calling" also rule.

In the end, yes, this album is dated and not very good. However, if I were actually going to the beach instead of just watching porn at home I would definitely put this on before 'Pet Sounds.' Take that, pretentious music buffs.

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Still Cruisin' - Capitol 1989
Rating = 5

More slow adult contemporary pop with stiff tinny 80s production - no bass! Terry Melcher? What happened to his wonderful ear for Paul Revere And The Raiders? Now he's just some tootsweet trying to make the Beach Boys sound like Peter Cetera. The big booming reverbed programmed drums are back, along with the long-out-of-date synthesizers (isn't it interesting how old `60s and '70s keyboards like farfisas and moogs and stuff still sound really cool, but the `80s ones sound like little kids' toys? They did at the time too!) There are lots of Beach Boys-style vocal harmonies on here but the mix makes them too shrill with which to deal. Not to mention that Mike Love has reverted to the most disgusting, unlistenable nasal talk-sing we've heard since Phil Collins discovered and removed the bicycle pump from his nose (I wrote this review in 2013).

What the album IS, incidentally, is some sort of celebration of the Beach Boys' music that had been used in recent movies. Everything from the dopey 50's-style failure title track (from the timeless Lethal Weapon 2 starring Danny Glover) to the feelgood gum commercial "Let My Love Open The Door"- ripoff "Make It Big" (from the unforgettable Troop Beverly Hills starring the haunting Shelly Long) to three old, GOOD Beach Boys songs ("I Get Around" and "Wouldn't It Be Nice" from the throwaway straight-to-video shit movies Good Morning Vietboobs and The Big Chill, as well as "California Girls" from the treasured Soul Man starring the poignant C. Thomas Howell, and NO I'm not making a hilarious Botch reference!!!! HAHAHAHA!!!! HAHAHAHAHAH!!!! HEEEE!!! LITTLE JOKE FOR THE HUNDREDS OF BILLIONS OF BOTCH FANS OUT THERE!!!!) to a song so exciting I have to start a new paragraph for it.

"Kokomo." The theme of my 10th grade homecoming reunion. At the time, I found the song so offensive, I in all honesty could not stand to listen to it without flying to L.A. to punch Mike Love in the stomach. But time has been kind to the worst song ever recorded, and now I find it sufficiently bad that I can LAUGH at how amazingly rotten it is. Steel drums, accordion, sax solo, really loud synth drums, really not loud acoustic guitar and Mike Love with his nose in a vice on top of it all. THE WORST SONG HIT SINGLE EVER - BY ANYBODY.

(except the Eagles)

It's from Cocktail, by the way, featuring the dyslexic Tom Cruise, who learns all his lines from listening to tapes. I'm serious! Check your Weekly Reader - it's in there somewhere. Even though Tom can't read it.

Then there's "Wipe Out" with The Fat Boys, a vicious gangsta rap band who threatened white mainstream society with their violent urban classic Straight Outta Big Fat Guys Wearing Glasses. The Beach Boys suck shit out of the Fat Boys' Fat Asses on that one, but the rapping is fun. The other three songs are Brand! New! Originals! One of them is subtle beauty marred by hideous production tricks and a dickhead Clapton-style lead guitarist! The other two SHUCK! Al Jardine slows down "Blitzkrieg Bop" and turns it into a reggae and suddenly I'm supposed to like "Island Girl." Brian Wilson and his dictator psychiatrist weirdo try to outwit a dazed public with a tired forgettable car song cleverly entitled "In My Car." It goes "There's a world where I can go to when I'm feeling blue - In my ca-a-ar! In my car! (In my car!).

No it doesn't! It doesn't do that! You'll be hearing from my lawyer!

Roger Waters

Reader Comments
ugh! I agree with you mark ! time has not been kkind to beach boys album still cruisin! let describe to know what you are talking about:

1.shitty soft rock production!
2.drum machines!
4.leathal weapon 2 ! yeah my favorite movie! good to know that you are into movies! mel gibson before the passion! danny glover! and joe pesi blabbing about!
5.the fat boys shitty cover of the twist ! ugh!

all in all I get this a 2/10

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Summer in Paradise - Brother 1992
Rating = 1

NO WILSONS ALLOWED! This is Mike Love, Bruce Johnston and Terry Melcher pretending to be the Beach Boys and ripping out the most dreadful entry in their catalog. Melcher's fake mid-80s synthesized everything is back in superforce - A YEAR AFTER NEVERMIND CAME OUT - and the songwriting is beyond absurd. Lots of rancid nasal vocals with heavy delay/undersuck/bassy effects on them, plus "hilarious" low bass voices saying "off-the- cuff" things like "It's a LOVE thing" and "That's where the girls are" like the kids will likely dig, we hope (at least the 5-year-olds). And every other song is QULEARLY an attempt to remake "Kokomo." Same production style, same mellow verses and faux-surf choruses. Just BAD BAD melodies and STUPID STUPID lyrical matter. A woman with magical powers! Two adulterers meeting on an island and FUCKING, followed by the stirring pronouncement, "It wasn't wrong, it wasn't right, they were just two ships passing in the night." Whatever, Mike. Sounds like self-justification to me. Next time, how about a song about how it's okay to beat your wife if she deserves it?

Worst of all - they RUIN "Hot Fun In The Summertime," "Under The Boardwalk" and "Remember `Walking In The Sand.'," Mike decides it's a good idea to remake "Surfin'" as a pathetic 80s fake-hard-rock crap thing song and perhaps most offensively --- JOHN STAMOS FROM TV'S FULL HOUSE PERFORMS THE LATE DENNIS WILSON'S "FOREVER."



Reader Comments
Cassette copies of this album were actually given away at a friend of mine's bar mitzvah in 1992 since his dad was the manager of (this particular version of) the Beach Boys at the time. Arguably one of the worst releases of all time. (Bob)
There are actually people on that give this piece of ?$@% five stars! Some of these people had never hard another Beach Boys album. I figure that the rest never heard any other album, or are deaf. As bogus as you or any other sane person say it is. This is what one would expect when the LEAST talented band member (in this case, Mr. Love, of course) gets total creative control. Not that there's a whole lot of creativity to be found. Love didn't learn a thing from the 15 Big Ones debacle -- if you're going to have an album of half oldies remakes (including Beach Boys oldies), they should at least be performed well. "Walking in the Sand," in particular, is downright depressing -- this is what Carl Wilson was reduced to? Disheartening, from the guy who kept the band going artistically in the early 70's. The originals are obviously an attempt by Love and Melcher to make an album-length "Kokomo." Never mind that it had been four years! A ludicrous attempt at rap by Love on "Summer of Love" is probably the overall low point, but there are plenty of contenders. And while the production isn't as artificial as the 1985 album or the harmonies as sterile as on KTSA, the record still has a cold and mechanical sound. Maybe it's because it's because it was one of the first albums recorded directly to hard drive (Yes's Talk being another, but even that sounds better than this). Maybe it's because the harmonies aren't exactly performed by the band members (Rumor had it that Al Jardine only participated at the last minute -- touring sideman Adrian Baker did a lot of background singing here). As for Stamos, he had actually been a touring drummer for the group prior to "Full House." Not that that justifies his disastrous attempt to "rock out" the classic "Forever."

I do actually enjoy two moments on this, actually. The always-reliable Al turns out a strong vocal on the chorus of "Strange Things Happen" that makes the song sort of tolerable. And I find that "Hot Fun in the Summertime" is actually a sort of inspired choice -- the performance is rather low key and nice and relatively devoid of the tackiness that infiltrates the rest of the album. However, the rest was so bad that Brother Records couldn't find a major label to distribute it in the U.S. The indie who picked it up went bankrupt as a result, I believe! So, now any copies left are pricey collectors' items. Which just proves that there is no correlation between collectability value and musical value. (Jakub, Poland)
Hey, Mark! C`mon - cut that shit, man! ONE point?! Aren`t you too prodigal !???!!! Man! John Stamos... what a GREAT idea! he he he...

Hey Mark! Me again... Look at commentary of at You site... Ha!!! It`s the Highest Level of Jewish Jokes ever!!! God, what a laugh!!! They beat Shel Silverstein & Sarah Silverman together IN ONE GO!!!! ha ha ha ha....
Mike Love wanks allover Dennis Wilson's Memory, but don't worry baby, Denny will have the last laugh, oh yes he will. 0/10. Gee, nice cover art, though.......

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Stars and Stripes Vol. 1 - River North 1996
Rating = 4

I know what you're thinking. You're sitting there in your fancy electric chair and gold-plated tuxedo thinking, "Mark's said a lot of crazy things about the Beach Boys here today, but when is he finally going to admit that they're best known as country-western artists?" You're right, and I apologize. In a misguided Klosterman-esque attempt to rewrite history as one in which The Beach Boys were not country-western artists, I've done nothing but embarrass myself and every virus gnawing on my body. Who can forget such C/W hits as "Wouldn't It Be Nice (To Get Out Of Jail)," "God Only Knows (When I'll Be Getting Out Of Jail)" and "(All My Rowdy Friends Are Coming Over Tonight To Watch) Johnny Carson"?

Everybody can. Because I made them up just now. The closest the Beach Boys ever came to country-western was the "Long Tall Texan" cover on their 1964 live album. So who's the brain eater who thought it'd be a good idea to bring in twelve assorted rednecks to sing lead on some of their greatest hits!? Stars and Stripes Vol. 1 is an astonishingly bad idea that should've been vetoed the second it hit the table. The Beach Boys (including Brian!) provide typically beautiful backup vocals and there's no denying the timeless awesomeness of the material (three songs from Shut Down Vol. II, two from Pet Sounds and one each from All Summer Long, Today!, Little Deuce Coupe, Surfer Girl, Surfin' Safari, Concert and 20/20), but between the overslick production, jaw-droppingly inappropriate lead vocals and occasional boneheaded addition of fiddle, lap steel and other country-identified instruments, Stars and Stripes Vol. 1 sounds like nothing more than a group of Texans enjoying Beach Boys night at the karaoke bar.

Not that I'm Bill Country Music Guy, but I've heard of exactly three of these guest vocalists: Willie Nelson, whose loose pinched-nose approach destroys the previously beautiful "The Warmth of The Sun"; Toby Keith, who doesn't have a prayer of saving the already awful "Be True To Your School"; and the Eagles' Timothy B. Schmit, who should be commended for providing the only respectful vocal on the entire record. He sounds great on "Caroline, No"! Who knew a guy from the Eagles could NOT SUCK for a full three minutes!?

The other singers are probably better known to people who actually like country music, but surely even C/W enthusiasts can see the inherent problems of having marginal artists best known for their guitar skills (Junior Brown), songwriting for other artists (James House) or being a group of people, not a single individual (Sawyer Brown) sing lead on melodic classics like "Little Deuce Coupe," "409" and "I Get Around." These are not songs that lend themselves to downhome drawling yee-haa deliveries! It's almost as if they purposely sought out the few performers in the world who could make Mike "My Voicebox Is Located Inside My Nostrils" Love sound like a slightly smaller pile of shit.

Still, is there even a single person in the world who longs to hear the Beach Boys catalog as sung by little-known hicks? Hell no! They long to hear them as sung by DOGS! So stay tuned for the upcoming Prindle Records release Sniffin' Al Jardine's Butt: Dogs Sing The Beach Boys' Catalog.

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Endless Harmony - Capitol 1998
Rating = 8

Cheese Whiz Jim here! Reporting on another dandy Beach Boy Brothers Extravaganza! After three of the worst studio albums ever released, Mike Love in 1998 gathered together a group of his favorite Hollywood session musicians, recorded a Beach Boys album called Endless Harmony and shoved it up his ass! As a result, the record company had to issue this CD of alternate mixes, demos, live tracks and unreleased material from the band's good years.

Does anyone know why Al Jardine's "Loop De Loop (Flip Flop Flyin' In An Aeroplane)" was never released on an actual album? I now own three different versions of it and have no problem suggesting that it's one of the most hilarious, catchy, goofy songs they ever dood (especially the Xmas version, "Loop De Loop (Flip Flop Santa's Got An Airplane)." That's my question to you, Society. Fail me again and next time all THREE World Trade Centers are coming down. As for the other material, "Soulful Old Man Sunshine" (?), a live "medley" of their biggest hits in 1966 (why the HELL would they make a "medley" out of their biggest hits???? What did they do for the rest of the concert? An 11-minute disco version of "Papa Oom Mow Mow"?

Oh god, if anybody can find me a copy of that, I'll mow your car.

Elsewhere, this and that, whatever. Good stuff. "Don't Worry, Bill" by the other guys that were in the band in the early `70s (lousy song), unreleased solo tracks by Dennis and Mike (the unbelievably offensive "Brian's Back," in which he pretends to actually LIKE Brian Wilson) and whatever, I mean is it good? YES!!!!!! Do you need it? YES!!!!!!! YES!!!! GOD YES!!!!!! KILL PEOPLE IF THEY GET IN YOUR WAY BETWEEN YOUR HOME AND THE RECORD STORE TO BUY IT!!!!!! MURDER THEM, RUN THEM OVER FIVE OR SIX TIMES!!!! THEN STEAL ALL THE COPIES THE STORE HAS AND BLOW THE PLACE UP WHEN YOU LEAVE!!!!!!

No wait that was a misspelling - I meant, "Nah, you don't necessarily need it."


Every Person In The Executive Branch Of The Government


Both Houses of Congress


The Supreme Court

Reader Comments
This is a really good soundtrack, isn't it? It's got your archive material, previously unreleased tracks, new crisp and absolutely stunningly quality stereo mixes of songs that were only on mono format before this was released, demos, live stuff, and songs that shouldn't have even been unreleased in the first place! Who the hell thought it was a good idea not to release "Soulful Old Man Sunshine"? That should've been a huge hit! "Barbara" is such a tear jerkingly beautiful song, why wasn't it released? Why wasn't "Brian's Back" released either, when it could've been a huge bright spot on one of those spotty late 70's albums? It's a damn shame how much high quality stuff the band has in the vaults, while Mike Love got to release his putrid shit with no problems. The collection ends with the song "Endless Harmony", which is the song that this collection takes its name from, and I don't think this song had more of an apt place than being the final track on this soundtrack album.

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Ultimate Christmas - Capitol 1998
Rating = 7

Happy Santa! It's Christmasland! This CD features that old Beach Boys Christmas Album in its entirety, plus a bunch of songs from a second Christmas album they recorded in the `70s but had rejected by their stick in the mud record label. There are some good songs here and there - "Santa's Got An Airplane" is so bizarre, it's well worth another mention, Brian's "Winter Symphony" is a googleplex of sorrow, and Dennis Wilson's disturbingly hoarse late-`70s Toy Drive public service announcement conjures up sugar plum visions of a bearded drunk swallowing burning ashes right out of the tray.

But most of the originals unfortunately don't really hold very many candles to their 60s originals - the hooks just aren't there. The songs have this vague "holiday" aura, but without the classic stuck-in-your-head melody that is required of an Xmas classic like "Jingle Bells," "Little Saint Nick" or "What Can You Get A Wookie For Christmas When He Already Owns A Comb." As a whole, taken in its entirety with every song taken into consideration (including the version of "Little St. Nick" set to the music of "At The Drive-In"), it's a good solid rockin' roll Christmas album. Inoffensive, pleasant, at times toe-tapping, at other times sad and pensive, at other times even really bad! (Here's a hint for Christmas song authors of the future: Don't name songs "Melekalikimaka."). I am unbelievably angry at my goddamned printer right now. It won't print! Why???? What did I do wrong???? It's always been a piece of absolute shit, but now it's a completely NON-WORKING piece of absolute shit! Do yourself a favor and never ever buy an Epson Stylus C60 Series.

No, I changed my mind. Buy like eight of them, then go to the house of Epson America's CEO, John Lang and throw `em through the FUCKING WINDOWS. I'd say to have each of them print up a little note saying, "Thanks for nothing, PRICK" but all you'd get is a bunch of unreadable scribbles because YOU'D MIGHT AS WELL JUST DIP YOUR PENIS IN INK AND SCRAWL IT ACROSS THE PAGE - THE QUALITY IS EXACTLY THE GODDAMNED SAME. "Oh," they'll say. "It must just have a bit of dust in it." EVERY GODDAMNED DAY?!?!??!?! I have to clean these fucking ink heads like every three days or it prints everything in the wrong color with huge blank lines all the way down the page. And last I checked, there wasn't a huge dustcloud spinning around in my living room, so I think the problem is less the dust and more the PIECE OF SHIT SHODDY WORKMANSHIP. "Oh look at me! I'm a Japanese company who can't tell my ass from a hole in the ground! Buy my products!" Remember the name - EPSON - more accurately represented by its anagram "P-NOSE." Because the sensation you get when you're trying to use one is just like that of having an 80-year-old vagrant pee in your nose. Ho Ho Ho Merry Christmas, all the folks at Epson America, Inc., subsidiary of Seiko Epson Worldwide! Maybe this year I'll leave a lump of HUMAN SHIT in all your stockings! As a personal thanks for all the GREAT WORK you've done creating a machine that manages to turn a simple memo into a dazzling piece of abstract pointillist art! No wonder you Japanese COCKSUCKERS all abuse your children if this is the kind of worthless garbage that passes for appliances in your country. Wake up in the morning three hours late because your alarm clock reset itself for no reason, hop in the shower to discover endless streams of cum pouring out of the nozzle, then hop in your car and drive straight into a telephone pole because the steering wheel was bolted in upside down and the brake pedal is in the back seat. FUCK YOU, EPSON! FUCK YOU!

Reader Comments
Needless to say, this is my favorite Christmas album ever! Unless i made a compilation of my favorite Christmas songs on it, maybe. I still agree with the rating though. Handful of really great Christmas songs and some mediocre stuff. The first Christmas album is the best though, especially the first 5 songs. All of them, especially "Man With All The Toys" and "Santas Beard" are wonderful poppy Christmas songs. After that, it gets a little sappy with the overproduced strings and everything, but still renditions of "Blue Christmas", "I'll Be Home For Christmas" and "We Three Kings Of Orient Are" are quite beautiful and are the perfect Christmas renditions.

After the lovely acappella "Auld Lang Syne" (one with a cute message from Dennis, one without any interuptions), there's some bonus tracks, and most of them are the aborted Christmas songs from 1977-1978. Some are the same songs as on MIU except with Christmas lyrics (which are usually the ones that aren't that good). "Morning Christmas" is the best of the lot, which is written by Dennis and is beautiful and emotional, just like all of his ballads usually are. "Winter Symphony" is also a nice Christmas song that was recorded in 1975, but finished with vocals in 1977 by Brian. And "Child Of Winter" is also an underrated goodie! Really catchy melody and spacey synths, sounds really cool. Too bad it was a flop single.

The Beach Boys were the perfect band to do Christmas songs i think, but there's a lot of mediocre stuff that spoils the collection. They might as well have picked the best songs and dumped the rest, but it's nice for Beach Boys fans to hear everything they've done.

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Hawthorne, CA - Capitol 2002
Rating = 8

Finally I'm done with my Beach Boys reviews. What a relief! Doopty-doopty-doo. Oh man! My back hair is getting REALLY long! KICKASS!

WHAT THE!!??? Where'd THIS come from?

(Answer: Hawthorne, Calipllbbll

This is a DOUBLE-CD of "only if you're a really major fan" material. Buncha spoken soundbites, more Stack-O-Tracks-style instrumental backings (not to sound critical here, but why on Earth would ANYONE want or need to hear an instrumental version of "Surfin' USA"? Trust me, there's nothing going on in that song that you can't hear loud and clear behind the vocals!), several "a capella" mixes of songs that sound better with the music, a couple of Party! songs without the silly overdubs and some alternate versions of this, that and The Others starring Christopher Pickle as the campus guard. Let's all hear it for Christopher Pickle! HUZZAH!!! "Finding Electra" INDEED!

Look, I'm gonna be honest - I don't know who Christopher Pickle is, so I'm not really the best person to be commenting on his mafia ties and angel dust addiction.

You're really not gonna want this CD unless you have everything else. The songs are really good, of course, but you can find most of them in their CORRECT form elsewhere. The reason you're buying THIS one is to hear everybody making fun of Dean Torrence in a "Barbara Ann" outtake. "Hey Dean? Sing on key!" shouts somebody or other. And they're correct. Keys SHOULD be sung on. Which is why I'm standing on top of my mailbox key right now, screaming the Pointer Sisters' "Neutron Dance" at the top of my lungs. I don't care that it's 3:30 AM. We artists don't live by your rules. We don't need your corporate greed. Look what you've done to the rain forests and the ozone layer. There are children starving in the street. Go away, businessman in your three-piece suit! And I'm not the ONLY one who feels this way! (see If we all unite together in sophomoric, simplistic platitudes, we can OVERCOME this injustice and make the world a better place for you and me!

The part where Dennis introduces Carl in an insanely overexcited voice is funny too. If you're looking for BEHIND THE SCENES, you'll get lots of it here!

Thanks for visiting my Cob Site! Please leave a message at the tone!

mike love rules

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Good Timin: Live At Knebworth England 1980 - Brother 2002.
Rating = 8

This was the very last time that the six classic Beech-Nut Boys all played together on stage in the United Kingdom. Before they went onstage, they huddled together football player-style and said, "Let's do two tracks each from Surfer Girl, Summer Lays, Pet Wounds, Smiley Smile and 20/20 and one song each from Surfin' USA, Little Douche Coupe, Shut Down Volume 2, All Summer Dong, Party, Wild Honey, 15 Big Boobs, The Light Album (B.M.) and our brand new masterpiece Summon the Keeper Alive. Wh'happen to the four quite good albums they released between 1970 and 1975? Did they somehow disappear into an exceedingly lowdown casino in the arms of the gay cavalero? Did they catch a bad dose of disease-o? Am I referring to a bawdy British tune that only about four people in the world have ever heard-o?

This album hits the ears the same way that the Rolling Stones' Flashpoint is -- like a bunch of old fellows who've given up on long jams, reworking hit singles and presenting a real-life presentation of who they are NOW. Instead, this is just a travelling greatest hits album, performing classic after classic after classic exactly as they sound on the original records. Which is nice! Because they're great songs! At least we don't have to sit through "Bluebirds Over The Fuckin' Mountain" again! Talk about a pile of DOLLARS!

No that's not the word. Toothpaste? No --

Ah! I remember - it's that stuff I put in my cereal -- Diarrhea!

And aside from some not-quite-there falsetto vocals (especially in the near-painful "Barbara Ann"), a bland cover of Chuck Berry's "School Days" (as opposed to Chuck Berry's "Stool Days," which I'm sure you can find on videotape somewhere), yet another bad attempt to recreate the studio masterpiece "Good Vibrations" in a concert setting, and the unfathomable inclusion of Al Jardine's classical music ripoff "Lady Lynda," it's pretty much nonstop happy surftime goodness gracious from the beginning of track one ("You look beautiful!") to the end of track 22 ("Oooo woooo! Oooo wooo-ooo-ooo-oooo-oooo!"). And that includes track six ("Sorry about the rain! Hopefully it's holy water!"), track 11 ("Happy birthday, dear Brian!"), track 19 ("You are so beautiful to me!) and track 666 ("Come Mark, and murder for me.").

It's not a must-own CD, but the last time I read the Bill of Rights, there was no such thing as a must-own CD.

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Endless Bummer (The Very Worst Of The Beach Boys) - Bootleg.
Rating = 9

I know how you feel about bootlegs depriving the artist of his/her hard-earned coke money, and I feel for you (I think I love you) (so what am I so afraid of?), but I'd say there's a pretty good chance that none of the remaining Reach Boys have any interest in officially releasing this appalling nonsense, so do please hunt it out post-mediate. Along with song-poems, the Celebrities At Their Worst and Golden Throats serieses and other "incredibly strange" music by "outsider artists," saved by psioraisis on such compilations as Only In America, Songs In The Key Of Z, Songs In The Key Of Z Part II and another one that's called something like Only In The U.S. Part II or You Can Only Find It Here In America Part II, Endless Bummer is the fourth piece of a triad that reveals the following truth: shitty music is often five or ten times more entertaining than good music. Partly this is because it's fascinating to hear our favorite larger-than-life Hollywood celebrities act like real warts-and-things-like-warts-,-pimples-and-what-have-you human beings instead of walking Key Message documents, secondly it's because we are always bound to be intrigued by those who think differently (drugs and insane) than us and thirdly - oh, why sugar coat it like Irwin Chusid would - it's mainly because we like to laugh at the freaks behind their back. And by "we," I of course mean "you," because I truly feel that Wesley Willis is a talented Jackson Browne-like singer-songwriter.

Endless Bummer is exactly what it claims to be: the worst recorded moments of the Beach Boys' career. This includes not just wretched music (Spanish version of "Kokomo," Brian's astoundingly awkward and poorly-edited rap song "Smart Girls"), but also public embarrassments (Carl and Dennis singing in concert while under the influence of the white man's firewater, Mike recreating the band's timeless harmonies in commercials for the Hyatt Regency and Budweiser), disgusting, hateful backstage behavior (the always assholish Mike singing a humorless Bob Dylan parody and outdoing himself in a vicious tirade against the commercial failure "Heroes and Villains") and oodles of other hilarious publicists' nightmares (Brian soliciting cocaine from a group of teenaged fans, an uncomfortable in-studio argument between Brian and his loving, caring father). You can still hear the band's incredible talent, but it's shadowed by such sad-but-human traits as jealousy, bitterness, depression, anxiety, greed and... well...drunkenness.

Thank God for the ellipse...... Thank God for it indeed.

This was the first music review I've written as an adult. A man no longer in his 20's. A man in his 30's. I tried to be a bit more insightful than people generally think I am. As you can see, the result is a boring review.

Say! Check out the dangly penis on THAT gal!

Reader Comments (Robert)
I laughed at your reviews of BB CD's. You're a funny dude!

Thanks for the laughs.

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Songs From Here And Back - Hallmark 2006
Rating = 5

It's snowbing in NYC today! Let it snowb! Let it snowb! Let it snowb! Henry The Dog loves the snow, but it does have its downside, as evidenced by this hilarious "Weird Al" Yankovic-esque parody of "Ridin'" that my wife and I wrote impromptu this morning:

"I love to roll in
The snow but
When I do, I always end up getting
Wet and dirty
(Henry Dog is wet and dirty! Henry Dog is wet and dirty!)
I'm wet and dirty."

That's all we came up with, but that's enough for a dog to memorize. Speaking of which, you know how dogs are supposedly the gentle descendants of nature's merciless wolf? I've been meaning to ask this question to an animal specialist, so if you know one, forward it along: Do wolves in the wild generally run around the couch with a sock in their mouth at 4:30 in the morning? If not, I think I may have gotten a defective model.

Say! You know what ELSE is fun? Having really really high cholesterol, going on Lipitor and being thrilled to find it actually working, then calling the doctor to check on new bloodwork and happening across a sleepy receptionist. It occurred just this morning and went something exactly like this:

Her: Dr. Osher's office.

Me: Hi, I had my blood tested last week and I was just wondering if the results are in yet.

Her: What's your last name?

Me: Prindle

Her: Hold on.


Her: Your triglycerides are high. They're at 209, and they should be below 150. Your total cholesterol is also high, at 266. It should be below 230. And your LDL, which is considered the 'bad' cholesterol, is high as well. It's at 176, and it should be under 130. So you should probably look into changing your diet.

Me (confused and upset): Umm... Do you have the numbers from my previous blood test?

Her: Yeah, hold on.


Her: Okay, your total cholesterol was previously 249, so that has gone up since last time. And your LDL was 166 before, so that has also gone up.

Me: What about my triglycerides?

Her: Let's see -- okay, your triglycerides were previously at 80.

Me: Wait -- my triglycerides went from 80 to 266 in two months!?


Her: Oh no, hang on. That was from last August. These are in the wrong order.


Her: Okay, your triglycerides are at 75, your total cholesterol is 181, and your LDL is 100. So you're perfectly fine. I'm sorry to have frightened you like that.


The true "hallmark" (hang on, there's a great joke coming) of a great band is its ability to get signed to the "Hallmark" record label! (that was it) And nobody has been luckier in this respect than Mike Love, Al Jardine and Brian Wilson - the Cheech Boys. With their hilarious surf-rock routine "Dave's Not Home," this b

And nobody has been suckier in the past few decades than Mike Love, Al Jardine and (aside from completing Smile) Brian Wilson - the Beach Boys. But Hallmark's here to turn that fortune around, just as surely as they converted a dead in the water greeting card scam into the world's most profitable white slave auction. Yes, Hallmark has decided to join Starbucks as the second of two non-record companies that know nothing about music and shouldn't be putting out CDs. And the result is a zing-dinger!

Songs From Here And Back is about 4 minutes long and contains seven live tunes (a couple from the '70s, the rest from around '90), two bits of stage patter titled and programmed as unique tracks to make the CD seem longer, and one new solo song by each of the band's three surviving principals. Of the live songs, two are from Surfer Girl and the others are from All Summer Long, Today, Smiley Smile, Pet Sounds and - because Mike Love still hasn't realized that his "Kokomo" is a dated pile of '80s horseshit and not in fact a Beach Boys 'classic' overdue for official live release - Still Cruisin'.

Why does this album exist? But I digress.

Highlights include a nice performance of "Dance Dance Dance," a pretty rendition of "Surfer Girl" that Mike is kind enough to dedicate to all the lovely ladies here, a swell but unnecessary 1974 run-through of "Good Vibrations," and - best of all - a version of "I Get Around" performed with driving backbeat rhythm! So it sounds like an actual SONG rather than a series of introductions! Lowlights include Mike Love bragging about how his vomitous pissbag "Kokomo" reached #1, a 'car medley' composed of two songs, a strained-vocal trashing of "Wouldn't It Be Nice," and the three terrible, sappy new solo tracks. Brian waxes nostalgic on the corny, flaccid "The Spirit Of Rock N Roll," Al waxes his car on the Ronnie & The Daytonas homage/ripoff "PT Cruiser," and Mike waxes his pud with billiard chalk in the "Kokomo"-styled ballad "Cool Head, Warm Heart." Did I already mention that he once recorded a song about watching a neighbor woman masturbate? I own it. It's terrible.

I cut my ballsac again the other night. I was concentrating really hard not to, but I was drunk and my mind drifted for a second and SNIPPITY-DOO! Luckily the wife ran in and poured some assorted bullshit on it so the bleeding stopped. Not sure what all she poured on it, but now I have three balls so that's pretty cool.

Don't buy Songs From Here And Back.

If you're interested in buying Songs From Here And Back, just go to and do a search for Beach Boys (no quotation marks).

Then try to figure out how the search engine came up with this result:

"Son: Wonderful Gift. Front Message: On Your Birthday, Son What fun it is to smile at memories of your childhood... What a pleasure it is to share 'together times' with you now... What a joy it is to know the future has you in it... Inside Message: What a wonderful gift it is to have a son like you to love. Happy Birthday, Son"

Then try to figure out who the guy had to blow to get a job writing repetitive, awkward prose like that. Say! Why not use the word 'son' another three or four times? You don't want him to forget who he is in relation to the card-giver!!!!

But that's just one fellow's opinion. The important thing is that you're here, I'm here and we're all here together. What a pleasure it is to share 'together times' with you now. Happy Weekday, Reader.

Reader Comments (Chris)

If you like the Beachles, the Warmth Of The Sun collection might be worth picking up, mainly because the sound on tracks like Please Let Me Wonder, Kiss Me Baby, Let Him Run Wild, The Little Girl I Once Knew are vastly improved from the two-fer albums...oh wait, that's right, because they're in stereo and they sound fresh! Brian always had a thing for mono. Too bad he was always drinking after other people. Another thing about The Little Girl I Once Knew, I'm reading that the big "trick" was that they inserted two bars of silence before each chorus. Well on the two-fer with Today and Summer Days, mine has a tape hiss and pop between the break, and they've eliminated it on Wamrth of the Sun, which is great because now it's not distracting. I only have two complaints, one is that the wood block in Kiss Me Baby is mixed too loud on the stereo version, and two, since it's 2007 we have to deal with the stupid fucking prickholes of the industry putting copy protection bullshit on the CD. When I copied straight to my media player, I started getting garbles and skips from it after like track 21, so to fix it I used Audio Grabber, resequenced the tracks onto another CD and then dumped onto the media player...problem solved.

I don't know if you've ever considered forums or articles, but a great one which I'm sure would be a lengthy debate would be the whole copy protection issue. My take is if I bought the CD and paid more than 12 dollars with it, I should be able to do whatever I want with it, and setup a sweatshop making 6 gillion copies of it for free and give it out to the whole world, since obviously the industry thinks that's what I'll do. It's funny but it was never an issue with tapes...tapes that back in 1981 were traded in underground shows which eventually helped make four dudes from California very famous(And I'll give you a hint, they used to be great but on their last studio album, their drummer quote Mr. Prindle "like he's using a pipe wrench") Anyways, now a good portion of CDs in the last couple of years now even have some extra software that installs on your machine even if you don't want it to. It's no wonder the MP3 biz is thriving and cannot be stopped even if Napster could.
We went to see the Beach Boys in concert at the river rock in richmond bc. They have lost their good voices and are all washed out. Seems Vegas doesn't want them either. They let the audience come up and dance in front of the stage. We have row A seats and could not see a thing other than people jummping up and down in front of us.. We will not go ever again.

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