Tom MacGowan | Spring Lake, N.J., U.S.A | 08/15/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"At long last I can put my turntable in storage. Some of my favorite Beach Boy music is finally on CD. I can't imagine anyone who loves the classic Beach Boys' songs not appreciating some of the great music contained on these two albums in this double release. 'It's O.K.',' Rock and Roll Music', 'Let Us go on this way' and 'Honking down the highway' give you that old Beach Boy rock and Roll jolt while love songs like 'The Night was so young' and 'Let's put our hearts together' stack up pretty close to classics like 'Don't worry baby' or 'Warmth of the Sun'. Fresh new songs by Brian abound especially on the 'Love You' tracks with 'Solar System' topping my favorites. I'll admit there are some thin tracks on '15 Big Ones' but I also like 'That same Song' and 'Back Home' which were the 1st efforts of Brian's at new material in a while. Then came 'Love You' and with the exception of 'Ding Dang' I love every other track. 'I wanna pick you up'is one of the most beautiful songs ever written about the joys of being a parent of a newborn. My biggest dissapointment about this album was that it made you feel Brian was back and was going to flourish with more masterpiece albums and that never happened, after all the guys only human but boy did he fool us into thinking otherwise for so long. If he had written nothing else but 'God Only Knows' the world should still be grateful. Buy this album, put on a set of headphones and enjoy a lot of great Beach Boy music."
You can't ignore Love You!
A. G. Gladwin | Cape Town, South Africa | 08/15/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Let's get 15 Big Ones out of the way first. This was Brian's first step back into production after a hiatus of the last three years. It consists of 8 covers, and 7 originals some of which were exhumed from the outtake archive. It's pleasant but mostly disposable,the high points being the vocal trading on "Had To Phone Ya" and the cover of Spector's "Just Once In My Life" in which Brian and Carl sound like they really mean it.Love You! is just about all Brian in terms of production, composition and instumentation. Carl and Dennis help with some of the music, but Al and Mike are almost guest vocalists. This album is dominated by ancient (for 2000) synthesizers, making it very different to any other Beach Boys album and on another planet to Pet Sounds. Some people hate it for that, and you will probably see many different opinions in these reviews, so here's mine. It's brilliant. The songs are strong with tunes that survive any production treatment, the album is revolutionary in some ways in pre-dating new wave, and Brian writes as a disturbed thirtysomething pretending to be a teenager, and looking for love and acceptance and someone simply to hold him through the night. You won't want to start your Beach Boys collection here, but if you are in any way serious about the group, you have to get this."
Near rock bottom...and a big comeback
Greg Brady | Capital City | 03/23/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The Beach Boys last two albums before "15 Big Ones" had been huge selling collections of their 60s oldies so the band took it as their cue to record a collection of halfbaked oldies cover tunes while trying to boost the touring by telling the world excitedly "Brian's Back!". (Brian's body may have been, but his melodic mind was elsewhere.)
The 2nd album on this twofer disc is the far more satisfying, though quirky, "The Beach Boys Love You". A look at the crazed expression in Brian's eyes in the insert photo (with his wife Marilyn in the tiara) reveal the mad genius at work here.The songs run to "out there" subject matter like late night talk host Johnny Carson and celestial bodies ("Solar System").
HIGHLIGHTS: Let's make it "3 Big Ones": Though short, the 'missing you on the road' tune "Had to Phone Ya" has a gently swinging melody (the clarinet is key) that charms. I'll risk the wrath of the "Mike Love is Satan" club by pointing out that "Everyone's in Love with You" is a very good ode to Transcendental Meditation, combining a decent melody, an OK if not great lyric, and probably the best group vocals on the disc. "That Same Song" sounds like a lost showtune from a musical about the evolution of song. It's no classic, but it's hummable and worth a hear.
If you can get over some of the odd subject matter, "Love You" has some winsome ditties here buried in deceptively simple arrangements. "Let us Go on this Way" finds Brian flashing back to high school days and signaling that he cares about his music again. (The emphatic "Yeah!" says volumes) "Johnny Carson"'s 'Who's the man that we admire?' coda will run through your brain for awhile after hearing it. "The Night was So Young" has sparks of vintage Brian (listen to "Is somebody gonna tell me..why she has to hi-i-i-ide??"). "I'll Bet He's Nice" is another one that sticks with you, with a nice handclap fade. "I Wanna Pick You Up" is Brian's tender ode to his daughters. (The "little baby go to sleep" harmony at the end is spine-tingling)
VALLEYS: "Big Ones" is the worst BB album to feature Brian Wilson: Mike Love cancels out his meditation highlight with the completely wretched "TM Song". It's plagued by a ridiculous "mock fight" intro (followed by the spoken "It's time to meditate..."), an asinine lyric, and awkward tempo changes. It's abysmal in every way. "Palisades Park" is rendered here in a slowed-down midtempo with country-tinged guitar and completely minus the drum wallop of the Freddy Cannon original. "Susie Cincinnati" is a lame attempt at an updated "409" with a protagonist who's homely but good with a gearshift. "Blueberry Hill" starts great, with an understated Mike vocal and a bongo lope reminiscent of Elvis Presley's version of "Blue Moon" but completely falls apart once the whole group comes in. The singing on "Chapel of Love" is ragged, as is the harmonizing on "Just Once in my Life" (Brian's fault..Carl sounds OK), desecrating two Phil Spector classics. Dennis sounds raw on "In the Still of the Nite".
There are only a few egregious moments on "Love You" thankfully: "Ding Dang" is really just a fragment, not a song...maybe it would have worked better with a tiny musical link to make it an intro to "Roller Skating Child"? "Let's Put Our Hearts Together" is a passable lyric, but Brian's wife is no singer and Brian himself sounds a little weak here. "Love is a Woman" 'tell her she smells good tonight' is part of the lyric. 'Nuff said.
BOTTOM LINE: "Love You" is one you should have if you appreciate their 70s output so buy this and program out most of the "Big Ones" tracks. If you only really like the "sun and fun" stuff, you probably won't care for this one...you'd be better off skipping this and getting the "Keepin' the Summer Alive/The Beach Boys" twofer which has some of their last chart hits and probably the most 'classic' sounding latter day Beach Boys tune "Getcha Back"."
Brian's Back - kind of
matt | Cincinnati, OH USA | 08/15/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"15 Big Ones contains some good new songs from Brian Wilson, "It's Ok" is a fun song. "That Same Song" is also pretty fun. I really love "Back Home," and although it was written in 1963 and not technically new, I think it is a good song to have here. I could do without most of the covers except "Just Once In My Life" which I think sounds great. Overall 3 stars for 15 Big Ones.Love You is an album people seem to love or hate. I love it. I really like the song "Let's Put Our Hearts Together" I even recorded my own version of it. Other stand outs on this album are: "The Night Was So Young," "I Wanna Pick You Up," and "I'll Bet He's Nice." Overall 4.5 stars for Love You"