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LA Light Album

(1979)

My rating: *****


The '70's Beach Boys at their best. This album is dripping with luscious background harmonies which, in comparison to the screamingly obnoxious vocals on previous albums like 15 Big Ones, invite the listener to kick back and enjoy the music. The album-opener and lead single, "Good Timin'", is a beautiful short-but-sweet ditty penned by Brian and Carl Wilson. The song is about how you just HAVE to have fun in life. Next up is "Lady Lynda", Al Jardine's tribute to then-wife Lynda. Layered background vocals and a beautiful intro make this one a keeper. Just when you thought they couldn't top that, Carl comes in and does an outstanding lead on "Full Sail", a Christopher-Cross-type song that takes the listener to another place and time. Two Dennis-leads follow, on the Carl-penned "Angel Come Home" and on his own "Love Surrounds Me". His gruff vocal gives these songs personality. "Sumahama", featuring the only Mike Love lead vocal on the album, seems a bit trifling at first, but the background vocals and instrumentation save it from bombing. Next up is the much-criticized disco version of "Here Comes The Night", a great ditty on the Wild Honey album, and a grandiose production here. This song was booed in concert several times, quite undeservedly. Filled with many cool nonsensical syllables ("dit dit dit" and "ooooooooo"), this eleven-minute disco extravaganza is quite a delight. "Baby Blue" follows, half-sung by Carl and half-sung by Dennis. An exquisite gem. "Goin' South", kind of a watered-down likeness of "Full Sail", still pleases this listener, and the closer, a remake of "Shortenin' Bread", is quite a rocker. Overall, a great musical experience that warrants years of repeat listens.



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