The Beach Boys
Recorded: June 1984 - March 1985
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Bruce Beatlefan (January 21, 2010)
It took 23 years for the Beach Boys to release an album entitled "The Beach Boys"! The name of the album makes for the ultimate irony, however, as Dennis Wilson's 1983 death from drowning means that the group has lost a core member for this record.
Another irony is the digital mastering of the tracks on this album, ensuring that this album (and many from the 1980's) has a homogenized sound that removes most of what made the Beach Boys unique. Once upon a time, groups endeavored to match the Beach Boys' sound but never could quite attain it. In this album, there are places where the Beach Boys sound like Billy Joel, sometimes they sound like Peter Cetera, sometimes they sound like Toto, sometimes they sound like the Culture Club. Therein lies much of the problem... these aren't bad artists to sound like, but the distinctive that made the Beach Boys special has all but evaporated.
Most of the songs on The Beach Boys are professional in their sound and in their craftwork, but very few have the spark of creativity and joy that was the hallmark of their first ten years of making music. Even though Brian Wilson contributed three new songs, it is clear that he is just marking time until his debut solo album came out the following year. Carl Wilson takes up most of the slack with several contributions, including "Back Where We Belong", which is far and away the best track. Alan Jardine hearkens back to the good old days with the lively "California Calling". Although the remaining songs are competent, few are memorable.
If you know this album you can review it.
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