All Summer Long
Recorded: 2 April - 19 May, 1964, except "Drive-In" 's instrumental track: 18 October, 1963
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Bruce Beatlefan (March 13, 2008)
By the summer of 1964, the British Invasion had raised the bar of pop songwriting to a height heretofore unimagined. This provoked songwriter Brian Wilson and lyricist/vocalist Mike Love to put their heads together and produce the Beach Boys' masterwork All Summer Long, which not only gave the Beach Boys their first number one single ("I Get Around"), but kicked off a two-year run of excellence in which the Beach Boys successfully go toe-to-toe with the Beatles and their songwriting tag team of John Lennon/Paul McCartney.
In All Summer Long Brian Wilson's songwriting reaches a new level of excellence with such exotic and thrilling melodies as "All Summer Long", "The Girls on the Beach", "Little Honda", "We'll Run Away", and "Don't Back Down". He shows a knack of creating memorable melodies which last barely as long as two minutes (I don't know if that's a drawback or an asset!). These melodies are primarily matched with Mike Love's effervescent lyrics, which broaden out from surfing and hot-rodding to a variety of forms of good clean teenaged fun, from the joys of rock and roll music ("Do You Remember"), motor-biking ("Little Honda"), drive-in movies, and of course girls!
Whatever weaknesses the album may possess, for instance the rather generic guitar instrumental "Carl's Big Chance" and the filler track of 'candid' studio humor "Our Favorite Recording Sessions", the two-fer CD edition more than compensates with two sensational bonus cuts, the single version of "Be True to Your School" and the previously unreleased "All Dressed Up For School", to go along with the thorough and first-rate liner notes from Beach Boys biographer David Leaf.
All Summer Long surely represents the Beach Boys entering their golden era of mixing their ability to communicate pure fun with unmatched harmonies and Brian Wilson's increasingly exquisite songwriting genius.
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