The Beach Boys
Wild Honey


3.5
great

Review

by sunflower2020 USER (36 Reviews)
May 11th, 2007 | 50 replies


Release Date: 1967 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Promising collection of demos from great band.

It is really hard year for you when in January everyone wants to be your friend and in December you are forced to release something-anything just to grab some attention. That happened to Brian Wilson and The Beach Boys in 1967. And it was gonna be worse, due to bad marketing, drugs, lack of focus, and internal bickering.

After shock therapy called "Smiley Smile" the Boys fell into the hole. It was clear that their new, post "Pet Sounds" sound wasn't popular as albums "Today!", "Summer Days" or "Pet Sounds". And one more thing, return to the old sound would have meant commercial suicide. By the end of 1967, hippie revolution was in full blossom and things were different than one or two years before.

So what to do? Just do what you like. "Wild Honey was music for Brian to cool out by" - Carl Wilson once mentioned. And the Boys just did that. They recorded album in Brian's house, inspired by Motown sound, put some left overs, and hoped that the album would make the charts. And it did, although overall success was worse than "Smiley Smile".

"Wild Honey" is truly Do It Yourself album. The band played on it (no super sessioneers like on "Pet Sounds"), the band produced, Brian wrote the tunes, there are some nice tries from others (check out "How She Boogalooed It"), sound is rough, and singing is by turns stellar and workmanlike, and playing is mostly good but not faultless and pretty raw - it seems that they had to do more practice. And notice the group harmonies - they are not so sweet and complex, but simple and maybe sometimes cliche. "Wild Honey" shows signs that Brian was not sure what to do next, he was not anymore creator of fads, but follower. The best song on "Wild Honey" is (in my opinion) "Can't Wait Too Long", that very song didn't appear on original album, and it was shelved instead (why?) and saw the light of the day on CD reissue and "Good Vibrations" Box Set. Maybe that jazzy and vibraphone fuelled track had the answer on the question "which way to go after "Pet sounds" and "Smiley Smile".

The rest of the album is sometimes successful, sometimes poor. In the first cathegory there are title track, TOP 20 single "Darlin" (an energetic song from 1963 bolstered by some horns), slow psychedelic waltz "Let The Wind Blow", funky "Here Comes The Night", psychedelic mantra "Country Air", and perky McCartney-esque "Aren't You Glad". The rest of the album isn't bad, it is just underproduced ("I Just Love Once To See You") or just unnecessary (a painless cover "I Was Made To Love Her", average "A Thing Or Two", "How She Boogalooed It" or well-sung one minute "Smile" vocal exercise "Mama Says").

The Beach Boys had exploring new territory with "Wild Honey", and that must be appreciated. These were uneasy but necessary steps in their evolution.



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user ratings (217)
3.7
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
MusicReviewer44
May 19th 2009


30 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I like this album too

PagePlant
April 21st 2012


44 Comments


"just unnecessary (a painless cover ' Was Made To Love Her', average 'A Thing Or Two', 'How She Boogalooed It' or well-sung one minute 'Smile' vocal exercise 'Mama Says'" They kinda needed it to fill the album, so it was necessary.
Anyway, i would still give it a 4, this was the last album of the golden years of Brian, when he could still fill a album a year (or even less time) of good to great pop tunes.

cjohns0912
March 26th 2013


90 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

I'm on a huge beach boys kick right now, this will probably be the next album on my list.

ArsMoriendi
March 23rd 2016


29590 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Not too weak, but it's no Pet Sounds or Smiley Smile

Digging: Robovine - Get Dusted!

Frippertronics
Staff Reviewer
March 23rd 2016


19407 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

kind of an unfair comparison there

ArsMoriendi
March 23rd 2016


29590 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Not really, both of those albums have massive personalities and moods etc. this is just like a cute collection of songs. Which isn't bad, I mean it's way more interesting than Friends.

Friday13th
March 23rd 2016


7108 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

There are a few good songs: the t/t, Let the Wind Blow, Country Air, and I'd Love Just Once. I don't like when the Beach Boys go straight r&b though. The Beatles do that so much better.

Frippertronics
Staff Reviewer
March 23rd 2016


19407 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I meant by how different this is from those two. Where this is a soulful rock/rhythm and blues-influenced album, Pet Sounds is baroque pop while Smiley Smile is psych pop. Apples to oranges, mane.



Been jamming this one and Sunflower a ton lately, and seeing how the flagged reviews for these guys are all from the same person (aside from the hilariously terrible staff review for Pet Sounds), I'm seriously considering going through all their albums for shits and giggles.

Friday13th
March 23rd 2016


7108 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

right...apples are better though ;)

I've listened to all their albums up to Surf's Up.

Frippertronics
Staff Reviewer
March 23rd 2016


19407 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

green apples or bust



Carl and The Passions and Holland are good, Love You is alright. Adult/Child is probably the last good thing they ever did, and it got canned due to Reprise not seeing it commercially viable (listen to the original version of Hey Little Tomboy, Life is for the Living, and the cover of Deep Purple and you'll see why). It also documents Brian's state of mind and just how out of it he was. That period during Love You and Adult/Child was a short period where he got off his ass and did something and A/C being cancelled just made things worse for him.



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m6XFAArsbnE

Friday13th
March 23rd 2016


7108 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I heard Love You and didn't really care for it. I heard a bit from Holland but I've been meaning to check the rest. A/C sounds interesting. How about the "cocaine" sessions? Heard of it but never got to hearing it.

Frippertronics
Staff Reviewer
March 23rd 2016


19407 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I recognize it more as the Hamburger sessions due to the story of Dennis and/or Eugene Landy giving Brian burgers whenever he wrote a song. Haven't heard 'em yet however.

theNateman
March 23rd 2016


3806 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

They're mostly sad, because you can tell that brian's just shitting stuff on the piano to eat.

Frippertronics
Staff Reviewer
April 1st 2016


19407 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

so damn good

Friday13th
April 1st 2016


7108 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

hm...I'd say it's their weakest album from their classic period from Today! to Surf's Up. What makes you like it so much?

wtferrothorn
April 1st 2016


5849 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

yeah, wasn't really a fan of this. some nice melodies, but this R&B sound doesn't really work for them.

ArsMoriendi
April 1st 2016


29590 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Better than Friends

Friday13th
April 1st 2016


7108 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

The only straight up bad song on Friends is Anna Lee and maybe When a Man Loves a Woman though mostly just lyrically. About half of these are bad.

ArsMoriendi
April 1st 2016


29590 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Anna Lee sucks agreed. When a Man Loves a Woman is hilarious haha



Most of this album (like friends) is kind of boring, but this has more highlights. All Friends has is like Little Bird and Be Here in the Morning and maybe Wake the World

Friday13th
April 1st 2016


7108 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I love Meant for You, I think it's their best song under 1 min. The Friends t/t is great, Passing By, Busy Doing Nothin, even Transcendental is psychedelic fun. I agree the 3-4 highlights here are just as good. Let the Wind Blow is my favorite.



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