Review Summary: I get it. I ain't laughing, but I get it.
In 1978, The Beach Boys released M.I.U.
, an album that came to be after the cancellation of the Brian-fronted Sinatra-esque Adult/Child
, an album replete with songs about standing in lines, big band lounge lizardry and a dodgy song about a tomboy that the band were very eager to forget existed. Upon its release, Dennis Wilson was even more eager to forget M.I.U.
, proclaiming it an embarrassment upon his life and hoping karma would "fuck up Mike Love's meditation forever".
Come some fourteen years later and nearly ten years after Wilson's death, The Beach Boys had yet again shown that they could fall even further from grace. The ultimate genre-defining "how do you do, fellow kids?" moment, Summer in Paradise
is nothing short of an exercise in futility. The band merely doesn't entertain full-blown mediocrity here, instead opting for the most shameless cash-in on past glories one can witness. Nobody else could've went into the studio with just a Macintosh Quadra (complete with a beta version of Pro Tools), slapped on a fully synthetic rhythm track and call it a day. Nobody else could've figured lyrics that pointed out that Mike Love wanted to take you "on a love vacation" and how much he wanted to take your girl under the boardwalk sounded good (especially for a group of men who were reaching middle age or were knee deep in it).
Ask yourself for a minute: "did the Beach Boys really want to entertain Mike Love's desire to make a rap duet with Bart from The Simpsons?" Aside from Love, the band were practically uninterested in recording what Love brought to the table - as Carl Wilson would indicate years later, he only wanted to record "inspired music" after the disaster that was Summer in Paradise
, an album that didn't even move a thousand copies. If there's anything you needed to know about Summer in Paradise
from the get-go is this - the album was such a failure that the band all but disowned it. Summer in Paradise
is the only Beach Boys album with zero
contributions from Brian Wilson, who was stuck in a legal battle to get away from his overly-controlling shrink Eugene Landy, who over-medicated Wilson for years in an attempt to shoehorn his way into his will. Like Landy shoehorning his way into Wilson's life, the Boys made quite sure to shoehorn one John Stamos (aka that guy from Full House) on the remake of Dennis Wilson's "Forever" in a last-ditch effort at relevancy after the song became somewhat popular thanks to its inclusion on the family sitcom.
Summer in Paradise
reaches a point where it stops being funny - you realize that for the most part, the people (or person, considering this is as much of a Beach Boys album as Pet Sounds
is) involved seriously believe this will become the quintessential soundtrack to the summer. I get it. I ain't laughing, but I get it.