I am not sure anything could have prepared me for this record, a bizarre left turn from Pet Sounds and Smiley Smile (and Smile presumably) in terms of ambition and overall sound, but also in some ways a logical follow up to Smiley Smile‘s bizarre lo-fi aesthetic. The first record the rest of the band was allowed to play on in something like three years is also the least “Beach Boys” record I’ve ever heard.
That’s not to say it doesn’t sound like the Beach Boys – it sure does, and their sound is unmistakeably. But compare this to “In My Room” or Pet Sounds, it’s like a different band, who have suddenly discovered soul and Motown and stuff like that.The Beach Boys harmonies are still very prominent, but everything is so much grittier – like much, much grittier – and the lo-fi sound just further emphasizes the rough feel.
Honestly this such a left turn it’s exciting. But, in the year of the great innovations in pop rock, with nearly every major band making major artistic leaps and charting courses never charged before, a gritty Beach Boys soul record feels, well, slight. There’s no getting around it. I’m glad they had fun (perhaps for the first time in years) and you can hear it, but it is very much a bit of a lark and nothing more.
(That being said, it’s more fun than the Stones pretending their a psychedelic band.)
All tracks written by Brian Wilson and Mike Love, except where noted.
- “Wild Honey” 2:37
- “Aren’t You Glad” 2:16
- “I Was Made to Love Her” (Henry Cosby, Sylvia Moy, Lula Mae Hardaway, Stevie Wonder) 2:05
- “Country Air” 2:20
- “A Thing or Two” 2:40
- “Darlin'” 2:12
- “I’d Love Just Once to See You” 1:48
- “Here Comes the Night” 2:41
- “Let the Wind Blow” 2:19
- “How She Boogalooed It” (Love, Bruce Johnston, Al Jardine, Carl Wilson) 1:56
- “Mama Says” group 1:05
- Brian Wilson: lead vocals, background vocals, harmony vocals, piano, writer
- Mike Love: lead vocals, background vocals, harmony vocals, writer
- Al Jardine: background vocals, harmony vocals, writer
- Bruce Johnston: background vocals, harmony vocals, organ, bass guitar, writer
- Carl Wilson: lead vocals, background vocals, harmony vocals, guitar, writer
- Dennis Wilson: background vocals, harmony vocals