Surf's Up


My rating: ***1/2

From 1966 to 1971, after the success of "Good Vibrations", the Beach Boys music was very "relevant" but people just failed to recognize it. For some reason, though, more people took notice when Surf's Up came around. What's ironic is that this album was released during a time when Mike Love would often make drug-related references during his on-stage schpiels in between songs in a now-embarassing attempt to make the band look hip. Even if part of their motivation was people-pleasing, the results are fantastic and a number of these songs are quite timeless. "Surf's Up", Brian Wilson's lost masterpiece from 1966's aborted Smile, is re-worked here, with a beautiful Carl Wilson lead vocal on the first half. "Til I Die" was a new one here from Brian, which works almost as well. Carl puts his heart into the heartfelt "Long Promised Road" and gets mystical with the spacey "Feel Flows". Bruce Johnston contributes one of his best songs ever with the sentimental "Disney Girls" and Mike Love rocks out on his reworking of the Robins' "Riot In Cell Block #9" entitled "Student Demonstration Time". And for the first time, the environmental theme enters the Beach Boys' songwriting, with mixed results on "Don't Go Near The Water". Al makes a decent attempt at writing a folk rock song, "Lookin' At Tomorrow (The Welfare Song)" which is ironically about being poor, a problem he's probably never had. The only missing element here is Dennis, who was working on solo projects at the time. His presence is inexplicably replaced by a terrible Jack Reiley-sung "A Day In The Life Of A Tree", which has one redeeming factor: the beautiful vocal tag by the Boys.

E-mail me

Please sign my guestbook

Back to my Home Page

This page has been visited times since June 15, 1998.