June 22, 2004
Pop/Rock, Contemporary Pop/Rock, Adult Alternative Pop/Rock, Adult Contemporary, Alternative/Indie Rock

Album Review

Brian Wilson's spotted solo career hasn't seen many highlights. True, Beach Boys fanatics continue to follow his top-this solo tours, which began with the astonishment of merely seeing Wilson perform on-stage and crested with his live run-throughs of the Beach Boys classic Pet Sounds and the legendary Smile (which he'd disavowed on several earlier occasions). As Brian Wilson concertgoers know, although Wilson remains a bundle of nerves while performing, he has found a group of players who are sympathetic to the Brian Wilson legend and also capable of faithfully re-creating the sound of Beach Boys classics. (Credit also goes to the album's recorder and mixer, Mark Linett, who has fine-tuned every single original Beach Boys track as part of Capitol's ongoing reissue campaigns, dating back to the late '80s.) Wilson has still not found a lyrical collaborator who can stand up to him when he writes inane, sophomoric lyrics; whether it's a solo composition or one written with a talented collaborator like Andy Paley, Wilson's songs are trite and rarely delivered with any confidence or evidence of a performing personality. There are two clear highlights on this record. The first is "Soul Searchin'," a Wilson/Paley collaboration from the early '90s that featured a vocal from brother Carl Wilson. (Although Carl died in 1998, Brian built around the vocal track to complete the song.) Although Carl is singing inane lyrics, his soul and emotion rescue the song. That's exactly how Brian Wilson flourished during his salad days, and it's never been more clear that he lacks it now -- "it" being not only musical collaborators, but lyrical collaborators and a lead voice that understands the archetypal emotion behind his teenage symphonies. The other highlight is the title track, a derivative yet beautiful gloss on the classic Pet Sounds style and a rare track where Brian sounds involved and not simply robotic.
John Bush, Rovi

Track Listing

  1. How Could We Still Be Dancin'
  2. Soul Searchin'
  3. You've Touched Me
  4. Gettin' in Over My Head
  5. City Blues
  6. Desert Drive
  7. A Friend Like You
  8. Make a Wish
  9. Rainbow Eyes
  10. Saturday Morning in the City
  11. Fairy Tale
  12. Don't Let Her Know She's an Angel
  13. The Waltz