Surf's up

About

Surf's up
CD on Amazon.com
Released: 1971, 30 August
Labels: Brother Records / Reprise Records
Average rating: Based on DM and site visitor ratings
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Tracks

Average song rating Don't Go Near the Water (Jardine, Love) - 2:42 Lyrics
Average song rating Long Promised Road (Rieley, Wilson) - 3:34 Lyrics
Average song rating Take a Load off Your Feet (Jardine, Wilson, Winfrey) - 2:31 Lyrics
Average song rating Disney Girls (1957) (Johnston) - 4:11 Lyrics
Average song rating Student Demonstration Time (Leiber, Love, Stoller) - 4:01 Lyrics
Average song rating Feel Flows (Rieley, Wilson) - 4:49 Lyrics
Average song rating Lookin' at Tomorrow (A Welfare Song) (Jardine, Winfrey) - 1:57 Lyrics
Average song rating A Day in the Life of a Tree (Rieley, Wilson) - 3:10 Lyrics
Average song rating 'Til I Die (Wilson) - 2:44 Lyrics
Average song rating 10  Surf's up (Parks, Wilson) - 4:12 Lyrics
All album lyrics on one page 

Credits

Recorded: December 2, 1966 - July 1971

Mike Love - Vocals
Jack Rieley - Vocals
Brian Wilson - Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals
Carl Wilson - Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals

The Beach Boys - Producer

Reviews

Site visitor reviews
4/10 DavidNor (December 15, 2017)
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9/10 Bruce Beatlefan (November 13, 2008)
In 1970 the Beach Boys issued their Sunflower album, an upbeat, blissful, and marvelously crafted album which is now considered among their very best... but it sold very little, barely barely cracking Billboard's hot 200 albums. This must have left the Boys a little puzzled about how to go about with their next album project. Their follow-up album was Surf's Up, released in 1971, with the blissfulness gone, the members of the group seeming to work more individually and less as a unified group, but with the brilliance intact.

Brothers Brian Wilson and Dennis Wilson, the two band members mostly reponsible for Sunflower's success, are mostly missing from this album as they succumb to their respective demons. Erstwhile road manager Jack Rieley is hired on as a lyricist to re-invent the Beach Boys with a more relevant image, convincing the songwriters to present tougher messages involving social consciousness and environmental issues. His assistance contributes to a pair of powerful Carl Wilson creations (his first two solo songwriting credits with the Beach Boys), and to the only new song this album was able to extract from a reluctant Brian Wilson.

The result is a real mish-mash of wildly divergent sounds. Surf's Up can certainly be a disturbing listen as you listen to the novelty goofiness of Alan Jardine's "Take a Load Off Your Feet" followed by the lovely and sanguine "Disney Girls (1957)", the best Beach Boys song written by Bruce Johnston, which is then followed by the raucous protest song "Student Demonstration Time", featuring Mike Love's strident vocals backed with police-siren and riotous sound effects.

Just as was the case with Sunflower, Surf's Up finds its true niche in the album's second side. Carl Wilson starts it off with the exotic and brilliant "Feel Flows", which should have been an AOR classic. After the optimistic and pleasant "Welfare Song" from Alan Jardine, and a truly bizarre "A Die in the Life of a Tree" (which is inexplicably sung by non-Beach Boy Jack Rieley), the album is completed by adding on two previously written but unreleased Brian Wilson melodies, " 'Til I Die" and "Surf's Up" (the former from a 1969 album Landlocked that remained unissued, the latter from the legendary unreleased Smile project).

Here is where the album ascends from confusing and disturbing disorder into pure brilliance. These two tracks are the type of songs that engendered Brian Wilson's "genius" reputation. Both are ethereal, mystical classics that unfortunately too few people have ever heard.

Sunflower and Surf's Up are now issued in two-fer form as a CD, and this is an intriguing pairing. Both albums are equally enjoyable, but polar opposites of one another. While Sunflower offers the succession of blissful songs presented by the Beach Boys working as a group, Surf's Up reveals a darker side of the fractured and alienated Beach Boys writing an uneven collection of the weak and bizarre, mixed in with those truly amazing songs.

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