Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Sunflower / Surf's Up
Genres: Pop, Rock, Classic Rock
After an acrimonious split with their original record label at the end of the 1960s, the Beach Boys moved over to Warner Bros., ostensibly to capitalize on their phenomenal early successes. But the move also coincided with... more »
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After an acrimonious split with their original record label at the end of the 1960s, the Beach Boys moved over to Warner Bros., ostensibly to capitalize on their phenomenal early successes. But the move also coincided with band founder/creative genius Brian Wilson's burgeoning health problems and subsequent artistic abdication. That the boys were able to come up with what remain two of their more interesting albums is an enduring testament to the band's willpower. Sunflower, originally released in 1970, was a drastically revamped version of an unreleased album called Landlocked, and has an upbeat consistency that both built on the band's vocal strengths and somehow overcame schmaltzy pop and even the embarrassing, halting espanole of "At My Window." Perhaps the album's greatest revelation is the brief flowering of Dennis Wilson as a writing and singing talent, especially on the lovely "Forever." With Dennis largely succumbing to older brother Brian's demons, '71's Surf's Up is marred by cloddish efforts at agit-prop hipsterism (Mike Love's "Student Demonstration Time") and a nascent environmentalism that ranges from the naïve ("Don't Go Near the Water") to the bizarre ("A Day in the Life of a Tree"). Carl Wilson rescues the collection somewhat with "Long Promised Road" and "Feel Flows," but the album's twin jewels are both salvaged Brian Wilson efforts--the title track was one of the centerpieces of the unreleased Smile (cowritten by lyricist Van Dyke Parks and here given that album's "Child Is Father to the Man" as a glorious coda), while "Til I Die" hails from the scrapped Landlocked and remains one of Brian's most hauntingly introspective works. Both albums have been remastered on a single disc and include new liner notes by Wilson biographer Timothy White. --Jerry McCulley
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John Orfield | Cincinnati | 11/03/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I must admit that I've always been more of a Brian Wilson fan than a true Beach Boys fan. But Sunflower and Surf's Up, recorded largely without Brian, still sit very comfortably on the same shelf as the inspired, landmark Pet Sounds album.Especially Sunflower, which has got to be one of the most underappreciated albums in pop history and is full of pop classics such as Add Some Music To Your Day, Brian's bouncy This Whole World, the beautiful All I Wanna Do, Brian and Bruce's Deirdre, Dennis's heartfelt Forever, and the simple, flowing Cool Cool Water. Surf's Up is a little more muddled, a little more bizarre, and it never grabbed me as much as Sunflower did. There are so many contrasts here. On one hand you have two great Brian Wilson songs (the epic title track and the especially brillant, wide-eyed, sweeping 'Til I Die) and a handful of other good-but-not-great tunes like Bruce's wistful Disney Girls. But, on the other hand, you have Mike Love's horrid Student Demonstration Time which grates on you even a few seconds into your first listen and Brian's organ-drenched A Day In The Life of a Tree which is a fairly decent song that almost buckles under the weight of its own melancholy.Members of my generation who follow Matthew Sweet, Velvet Crush, The Apples In Stereo and the Elephant 6 collective would be remiss in spending all of their time memorizing Pet Sounds while overlooking these two albums, especially Sunflower. While these two albums don't have the same simple, earnest emotion of Pet Sounds, they come pretty close and would be a welcome addition to any pop collection."
The Beach Boys after the Good Vibrations
Wes Saylors Jr. | Boone, North Carolina | 07/19/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Both "Sunflower" and "Surf's Up" represent the Beach Boys most people aren't familiar with. Brian Wilson was, at the time these albums were made (early 70s), pretty much out of the picture, and the Boys explored the Brian-less decade without the need to resort to songs about babes, the beach, and hot rods. "Sunflower" may actually be the best album the Beach Boys ever did. ("Pet Sounds" is the best album Brian Wilson ever did.) Each member is highlighted and the songs are edgy, sweet, melodic, and goofy - all at the same time. That is not to say that the songs only work as novelties. Real rock n' roll is here. The standout, of course, is Dennis Wilson singing "Forever", one of the most beautiful pop ballads ever. Carl Wilson takes over the lead singing duties on most songs and proves himself a more soulful singer than brother Brian. "Surf's Up" is almost always remembered (if it is remembered at all) for the two Brian Wilson songs: "Surf's Up" and "Til I Die." They're good, but the best song is Bruce Johnson's "Disney Girls, 1954." It's the sort of song you hear and never know you are listening to the Beach Boys. But - as the 70s proved - the Beach Boys were more than just a car and beach band in Pendleton shirts. They were a talented and adventurous band who could rock with the best of them. "Surf's Up" and "Sunflower" (conveniently placed on one disc)will introduce a lot of people to a band that will not only surprise them ("that doesn't sound anything like Surfin' USA"), but delight them as well. Two great albums, all in one place."
Two by Sun Or Sea, But None By Land
Wes Saylors Jr. | 10/16/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Getting these albums together is a great idea, since they're so important but also have big overlapping associations to each other. This is obvious in the good new interview with Brian included in the booklet (but, hey how come this is the only Capitol Brother reissue in which we get a Brian interview?) However, comments made by others on this page about the so-called "Landlocked" album project are incorrect. As the booklet accurately says, that name was under consideration for just a little while as a title for "Surf 's Up," but other theories about it were just fuled by dumb rumors and booklegs, the most recent in 1990. And one lineup circulated with an ad was a big hoax. As Bruce Johnston has admitted, fans have really taken some jokey remarks in interviews over the years too seriously. But the music always speaks for itself, and this music here is remastered now to a new level you couldn't hear on the vinyl copies, so it's truly fabulous to own."