The Beach Boys - The Beach Boys Today! - Review
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critics' view

With Brian now full time in the studio having quit touring due to a nervous breakdown, he went to work on some of the best produced backing tracks The Beach Boys ever had the pleasure to sing over in their lives. ’Do You Wanna Dance’ and ’Dance Dance Dance’ for example, are not great songs. But they are SO WELL produced that they sound like great songs anyway! ’Good To My Baby’ and ’Don’t Hurt My Little Sister’ are hugely underrated up-tempo Beach Boys songs and very very catchy. Although this album has secured it’s real reputation due to the ballads on the second side, the first half contains some of the best Beach Boys recordings they ever did. ’When I Grow Up’ was a two minute perfect pop masterpiece, the vocals improved even beyond the great singing displayed on previous Beach Boys albums. These improved vocals are especially noticeable on the second side of the album, by the way. Kicking off with ’Please Let Me Wonder’ - the bass playing echoes the sound of hearts beating. Supremely melodic, rising and rising before falling, only to rise again. The lead vocals are tender and sweet.

’I’m So Young’ is a doo-wop influenced number, the echo on the instruments and the bass in particular make this more than it might have been otherwise. It really does sound otherworldly, helped of course by yet more great singing. ’Kiss Me Baby’ is quite simply one of the most romantic sounding songs ever written by anyone. The vocals are again heartbreaking and the backing harmonies extremely sophisticated. It really does reward repeated listening too, in order to pick out all the beautiful musical parts underneath a supreme vocal display. ’She Knows Me Too Well’ and the Dennis sung ’In The Back Of My Mind’ end the record and these songs are not so far behind the much more appreciated ’Pet Sounds’ as legend would have us believe. This album pointed the way towards ’Pet Sounds’ and showed The Beach Boys musical progression continuing apace.

A wonderful listen all round, and recommended to those who know ’Pet Sounds’ or maybe just the hits, and don’t know where else to turn. Turn here. Any fears the rest of the group had that Brian’s decision to quit touring would interrupt their momentum were quelled by the sheer quality of these recordings.

Adrian Denning
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'Adrian's Album Reviews' website features a large collection of music and album reviews, written by Adrian Denning, spanning multiple genres and decades.
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