The Beach Boys
That's Why God Made The Radio


3.5
great

Review

by PorkchopExpress USER (37 Reviews)
June 21st, 2012 | 19 replies


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: As good as anyone could have hoped for from a new Beach Boys album in 2012.

Being that I'm a massive fan of The Beach Boys, I approached their newest album with great trepidation. After all, only seven months prior marked the triumphant release of The SMiLE Sessions, the mythical album that actually lived up to (and even exceeded) the years of anticipation built up behind it finally seeing the light of day. I didn't want anything to lessen that accomplishment. More than that, I guess I just didn't want to see Brian Wilson embarrass himself this late in the game. Which is why it honestly pleases me to say that, while their new album is (obviously) no Pet Sounds, it's (thankfully) no Still Cruisin' either.

More than half of the album is loaded with bright songs that bring to mind the first few post-Pet Sounds Beach Boys' albums. First single, "That's Why God Made The Radio", even harkens back a little further, sounding like it could have fit right in the middle of the track-list for Today. Admittedly it's pretty cheesy lyrically, but the harmonies and production are as good as they've sounded in over thirty years. And honestly, the same could be said of the lyrics to a lot of the songs on their first ten albums, so it's not detrimental to the essence of The Beach Boys. That said, not all of the sunnier tracks are winners. "The Private Life of Bill and Sue" ventures a little too far into the schmaltz that plagued the Mike Love-driven incarnation of the band, for example. Still, most of them are adequate ("Spring Vacation") to good ("Shelter"), with a few that are downright great ("Daybreak Over The Ocean", "Beaches in Mind").

However, what really makes the album work are the songs where the band gets introspective. Whereas the introspection on Pet Sounds focused on Wilson's personal issues and his feelings of not belonging, this time it's a more universal theme, dealing with the pain and sadness of growing old. The final three tracks on the album, which deal with this theme in one way or another, are stunningly good--and in all honesty they push the album from "passable" to "good". First up is the Al Jardine-fronted ballad "From There To Back Again", which is their best ballad since the 70s. Up next is the under-two-minute "Pacific Coast Highway", which makes the most out of its short length with its soaring vocals. But the album closer, "Summer's Gone", is the definite album highlight, in which Wilson's heartbreaking lyrics on aging, losing friends, and knowing he's approaching the late-stages of his life are aided by mournful production and classic harmonization by the rest of the band.

By all accounts, a reunited Beach Boys album released in 2012 could have been the sound of a band coasting, resting on their laurels and simply putting out a quick cash-grab. Luckily they've shown more respect to their fans and themselves, and put out a piece of work that sounds like it had a lot of effort behind it. The band has never quite been the same--and never will be--without Dennis and Carl, so even with obvious effort it doesn't always strike gold. But when it does it hits way closer to the highs of the band in their prime than it should. If they never make another album, they can feel good knowing they went out on a high note, and I can't think of a better song to close out a legendary career than "Summer's Gone"---for a number of reasons.



Recent reviews by this author
Da Mafia 6ix 6ix CommandmentsSurfer Blood Pythons
Onyx All We Got Iz UsMikal Cronin MCII
Alexander Spit A Breathtaking Trip to That OthersideTiRon & Ayomari A Sucker For Pumps
user ratings (60)
Chart.
2.9
good

Comments:Add a Comment 
AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
June 21st 2012


7401 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Pretty good review, I more or less agree. It's obviously been processed beyond belief but it sounds great.

PorkchopExpress
June 21st 2012


389 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

So, I just saw them in Cuyahoga Falls recently, and I downloaded this for the drive figuring they'd play a lot of it. While the played for almost 3 hours(!), they only ended up playing two tracks from it. However, I'm glad it finally got me to give it a chance, because it really is so much better than I had anticipated.

PorkchopExpress
June 21st 2012


389 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks. And yeah, it'd definitely produced to the point of absurdity, because when I saw them they couldn't hit the high notes on most of their songs. That said, they simply adjusted the vocals lower, so it still sounded really good.

Gyromania
June 21st 2012


15964 Comments


That album cover looks like a sea of different coloured Hershey Kisses.

Tyrael
June 21st 2012


20945 Comments


This was a massive letdown

Digging: Azealia Banks - Broke With Expensive Taste

Gyromania
June 21st 2012


15964 Comments


No one else see it? I can't see it as anything else now lol

camaraderie
June 21st 2012


988 Comments


lol Gyro

PorkchopExpress
June 21st 2012


389 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Haha, yes now that you say that it's all I can see too.

Gyromania
June 21st 2012


15964 Comments


Good review btw.

PorkchopExpress
June 21st 2012


389 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Much appreciated.

MisterTornado
Contributing Reviewer
June 21st 2012


4507 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

The title track was about all I could enjoy here

MagmaWalrus
June 21st 2012


243 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Great review. The last three songs are some of the best this year so far.

Spare
June 21st 2012


5350 Comments


title track was pretty fucking awful tbh

Killerhit
June 21st 2012


5254 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

God only knows, sonic.

KjSwantko
June 21st 2012


9446 Comments


I thought God made the radio to listen to Coroner.

MagmaWalrus
August 18th 2012


243 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"From There to Back Again" is actually easily one of the songs of the year.

Gassman3268
February 1st 2013


167 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This album deserves much better then a 2.8, the lyrics may not be the best, but The Beach Boys can still make some of the best harmonies!

InMyRoom
August 21st 2013


11 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Not a better BBs album but compared to the HORSESHIT that people listen to today its phenomenal.

oltnabrick
November 1st 2013


31274 Comments


vocals could use some work but they are like 70 years old so its whatever


this is good

Digging: Akys - Sugelti Juodakmiai



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2014 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy