Recorded: May 26 - November 21, 1968
Site visitor reviews
Bruce Beatlefan (August 18, 2008)
Following two successive albums with a unified sound (the R&B roots sound of Wild Honey and the serene bliss of Friends), the 1969 Beach Boys album 20/20 sounds like a complete mishmash of different sounds. This may be a little jarring to the ear for the first few listens, but the excellence throughout each song results in the finest Beach Boys album since Pet Sounds.
20/20 received its name by being the Beach Boy's twentieth and final album with Capitol Records. The relationship between group and record company had become strained to the point that leaving was a joyful occasion, so the album was to be assembled as quickly as possible. Hence, the collection of very new (the recently released singles "Do It Again" and "I Can Hear Music") and the not-so-new (two songs from the scrapped Smile project), along with the growing songwriting prowess of Dennis Wilson and the gorgeous instrumental "The Nearest Faraway Place", the first Beach Boys contibution from Bruce Johnston.
The two singles lead off the album and may mislead listeners into thinking that the Beach Boys had returned to their old sun-n-fun days. That idea goes out the window with the next song, a curious hard-rocking cover (and failed single) of "Bluebirds Over the Mountain". Two Dennis Wilson songs follow, the hunting, elaborately produced "Be With Me" and the savage rocker "All I Want To Do" (not to be confused with the lovely Sunflower song "All I Wanna Do"). Bruce Johnston breaks the mood with his mellow strings-drenched instrumental, and side one concludes with the listener wondering what possibly could come next.
Well, the old folk song "Cotton Fields", naturally. Later on in side two we experience two of the finest "unknown" Beach Boys songs back to back with Brian Wilson's lovely "Time to Get Alone" and another haunting Dennis Wilson song "Never Learn Not To Love" (allegedly co-authored by mass-murderer Charles Manson). Tagged on to the tail-end of this is two refugees from the ashes of Smile: "Our Prayer" (which sounds like anything but the next-to-last track of an album) and "Cabinessence" (brilliant, but definitely not an album closer).
When I was able to make peace with the confusion of different sounds, and the disjoint nature of the album, and even with the two or three "clunker" tracks, I begin to realize that some of the Beach Boy's greatest music making of their long career comes on this 20/20 album. Highly recommended--and even better as it comes combined with the fine Friends album in CD form.
If you know this album you can review it.
Amazon customer reviews
© 2002-2012 Murashev.com