Say what you will, but the Beach Boys made some damn good music. And take it from me, (a Beach Boys nut so crazy about their music that I tattooed the first seven notes to “God Only Knows” on my right arm) they also made a lot of crap. Them appearing on Full House comes to mind. So does most of the 70’s. And all of the 80’s
But they also made some of the most wonderful music I have ever heard. There are 5 albums in particular that come to mind to me (not counting SMiLE, which was never really finished)
Pet Sounds: 1966
The genius of Brian Wilson in full display. Go ahead, try to say something bad about this album. Easily one of the most perfect pop music statements of all time.
Smiley Smile: 1967
Sure it is the wonderful SMiLE all of us Beach Boys fans wanted to hear (the album that would’ve changed pop music, by the way), but Smiley Smile does have its charms. It’s a weird little album, sort of half pop, half acid doo wop, with a touch of comedy. Listen to Little Pad and hear the hushed brilliance of Brian Wilson. A perfect album for a quiet night.
Released in 1968 when the world was at the peak of its unrest in the 1960’s, Friends went under the radar and completely unnoticed. This is sad because I think it is some of their best work since Pet Sounds. A whisper of an album, Friends comes and goes really quickly. I used to listen to this album every night as a teen while I went to sleep. The perfect album to doze off to.
The Beach Boys hoped this album would be the one that brought them back into the limelight. Sadly, no one listened to this one as well. Very sad once again, because it really brought their sound up to date in the 1970’s. They sound like an energized band here, and leader Brian Wilson sounds like he’s been given his second change. The songs are amazing, the production top notch.
Love You: 1977
You may disagree with me here. At this point, Brian Wilson was an overweight, unhealthy, paranoid nut case that somehow made an amazing album full of amateur drumming, synthesizers, and half assed vocals. Who couldn’t love a song called Roller Skating Child? And lyrics like “Saturn has rings all around it, I searched the sky and I found it” from Solar System. Nonetheless, the amateur quality of the recording, the blipping synthesizers, and the childish lyrics give the album an amazing feel. Check out Mona from this record and tell me Brian Wilson wasn’t writing great songs in 1977. I dare you.