Review Summary: Perfect sunny Sunday morning album.1 of 1 thought this review was well written
"Sunflower" is my favourite Beach Boys album. And in my book, it is even better than Pet Sounds. There are a couple of reasons:
First, it is a group effort. It can't be considered as Brian Wilson and guest vocalists' album. Sure, Brian wrote or co-wrote half of the album, and his songs are among his very best, but other members, particularly Dennis, managed to show full songwriting potential. This is very important because it brought different point of view. There is a big difference between Brian and Dennis' songwriting, but on that album their songs fit the overall mood. It was perhaps the only time in their long history, that they succeeded to make a masterpiece as songwriting and performing TEAM. It seemed that they managed to keep their ego clashes off the music and reach incredible creative heights.
Second, endless roll of touring helped them to sing better than ever. Carl and Dennis Wilson's vocals are particularly great. Dennis' vocal chords were not yet destroyed by his savage lifestyle, and also he offered a beautiful aching performance of one of his best songs, "Forever".
And third, they sound very naturally and confident. But the truth is, that their label rejected TWICE that album, before two songs were added, "It's About Time" and "Cool, Cool Water". The latter is absolute masterpiece , celebrating healing power of water, a perfect mixture of synths, keyboards, sounds of waves, chugging rhythm and complex vocals.
Their songs and production are logical step forward: crisp, warm, mature, although also always youthfully innocent, it all does make one coherent picture of their grown up world. It can be considered as one of the first AOR albums, in the best possible sense. It also can be viewed as a summary of their career: some "Pet Sounds" tricks are also present (for example, "Our Sweet Love"), their early "happy" period is updated (see "This Whole World"), as well as "Smile" era ("Cool Cool Water") and offered plenty of possibilities they were going to investigate further in the forthcoming albums: pop folk tunes ("Add Some Music To Your Day"), some half spoken oddities ("At My Window"), fast and furious rock numbers ("Slip On Through"), Frank Sinatra-style balladry ("Tears In The Morning"), etc.
Released in 1970, when were "tin soldiers and Nixon coming", nobody in USA have paid attention but their die hard fans. Four years after flopping of "Sunflower" in the States, Beach Boys would become perfect nostalgia act, sadly they left all these songs to oblivion, overrating golden phase of their career 1962-1966. In 2000 Capitol thankfully remastered and reissued "Sunflower", introducing this truly hidden treasure of sunshine pop to wider audience.