Keepin' the Summer Alive - The Beach Boys, Bachman, Randy
Oh Darlin' - The Beach Boys, Love, Mike [Beach B
Some of Your Love - The Beach Boys, Love, Mike [Beach B
Livin' with a Heartache - The Beach Boys, Bachman, Randy
School Days - The Beach Boys, Berry, Chuck
Goin' On - The Beach Boys, Love, Mike [Beach B
Sunshine - The Beach Boys, Love, Mike [Beach B
When Girls Get Together - The Beach Boys, Love, Mike [Beach B
Santa Ana Winds - The Beach Boys, Jardine, Al
Endless Harmony - The Beach Boys, Johnston, Bruce
Getcha Back - The Beach Boys, Love, Mike [Beach B
It's Gettin' Late - The Beach Boys, Johnston, Bruce
Crack at Your Love - The Beach Boys, Jardine, Al
Maybe I Don't Know - The Beach Boys, Levine, Steve
She Believes in Love Again - The Beach Boys, Johnston, Bruce
California Calling - The Beach Boys, Jardine, Al
Passing Friend - The Beach Boys, Wilson, Brian [Pop]
I'm So Lonely - The Beach Boys, Landy, Eugene E.
Where I Belong - The Beach Boys, Johnston, Bruce
I Do Love You - The Beach Boys, Wonder, Stevie
It's Just a Matter of Time - The Beach Boys, Landy, Eugene E.
Male Ego [*] - The Beach Boys, Love, Mike [Beach B
Bruce Johnston, not Barry Manilow, wrote "I Write the Songs." And if that isn't enough irony for you, the Beach Boys thought enough of his efforts on 1979's aptly titled, if creatively underwhelming, L.A. (Light Album) tha... more »t they let him produce the 1980 follow-up, Keepin' the Summer Alive. The resulting effort may have down-graded the band's sorry condition from grave to critical, but it was also a testament to how far the Beach Boys had coasted on their fleeting reputation alone. Johnston wisely brings the band's trademark harmonies to the fore, but in the service of some typically (for the period) lackluster songwriting. Tellingly, though Brian Wilson was ostensibly involved, even the presence of B.T.O.'s Randy Bachman (who cowrote a pair of tracks with Carl Wilson) is more distinct. Still need more irony? The final track of this hollow, haunted de facto paean to the band's disunity is Johnston's schmaltzy "Endless Harmony." Such was the response to Summer that the band spent the next five years on the road, burnishing their reputation as a nostalgia act; at least it kept them out of the studio. Unfortunately, by the time they returned to recording, Dennis Wilson was dead, Brian Wilson had "found" a new collaborator (the infamous Dr. Eugene Landy, his psychotherapist), and the band was at its usual creative loggerhead. But they also had the good sense to bring in hot '80s hired-gun producer Steve Levine to at least synthesize a respectable-sounding Beach Boys album. The single "Getcha Back" is a weird mix of nostalgia and contemporary studio smoke and mirrors; with Brian Wilson's falsetto soaring over the top as it hadn't in decades, it's also the most familiar-sounding band track in years. Levine's efforts at veneer (which include using Stevie Wonder as a sideman/collaborator) gloss over some wobbly songwriting. Brian's profile is higher than it's been since Love You, but his ever fragile, quirky constructions (especially "Male Ego," "Crack at Your Love," and "California Saga") are largely stillborn, thanks to the amateurish lyrical efforts of Landy. Carl Wilson shines throughout; the band's greatest trooper until the bitter end. Both albums are newly remastered on a single disc. --Jerry McCulley« less
Bruce Johnston, not Barry Manilow, wrote "I Write the Songs." And if that isn't enough irony for you, the Beach Boys thought enough of his efforts on 1979's aptly titled, if creatively underwhelming, L.A. (Light Album) that they let him produce the 1980 follow-up, Keepin' the Summer Alive. The resulting effort may have down-graded the band's sorry condition from grave to critical, but it was also a testament to how far the Beach Boys had coasted on their fleeting reputation alone. Johnston wisely brings the band's trademark harmonies to the fore, but in the service of some typically (for the period) lackluster songwriting. Tellingly, though Brian Wilson was ostensibly involved, even the presence of B.T.O.'s Randy Bachman (who cowrote a pair of tracks with Carl Wilson) is more distinct. Still need more irony? The final track of this hollow, haunted de facto paean to the band's disunity is Johnston's schmaltzy "Endless Harmony." Such was the response to Summer that the band spent the next five years on the road, burnishing their reputation as a nostalgia act; at least it kept them out of the studio. Unfortunately, by the time they returned to recording, Dennis Wilson was dead, Brian Wilson had "found" a new collaborator (the infamous Dr. Eugene Landy, his psychotherapist), and the band was at its usual creative loggerhead. But they also had the good sense to bring in hot '80s hired-gun producer Steve Levine to at least synthesize a respectable-sounding Beach Boys album. The single "Getcha Back" is a weird mix of nostalgia and contemporary studio smoke and mirrors; with Brian Wilson's falsetto soaring over the top as it hadn't in decades, it's also the most familiar-sounding band track in years. Levine's efforts at veneer (which include using Stevie Wonder as a sideman/collaborator) gloss over some wobbly songwriting. Brian's profile is higher than it's been since Love You, but his ever fragile, quirky constructions (especially "Male Ego," "Crack at Your Love," and "California Saga") are largely stillborn, thanks to the amateurish lyrical efforts of Landy. Carl Wilson shines throughout; the band's greatest trooper until the bitter end. Both albums are newly remastered on a single disc. --Jerry McCulley
"The CD I have doesn't include "Keepin' the Summer Alive," so I cannot review it. My review is of "The Beach Boys," which was released around the time of my 14th birthday in 1985. Why I did not buy it then continues to baffle me...
I think this is a terrific CD. The first album by the group after Dennis Wilson's death, it shows they still had the energy and drive, which put them at the top over 20 years earlier. However, I must warn you- if you cannot bear to hear the Beach Boys outside of the surfing/girls/cars genre of the '60s, which is great, of course, this is not the album for you. You probably won't enjoy it, due to the obvious '80s touch you'll hear. The two songs which come closest to the '60s era are "Getcha Back" and "California Calling"- two of my favorites on the CD. All of the guys get a chance to sing solo, but Carl Wilson is the one who sings the most, and it shows how truly gifted he was, and what a beautiful, soulful voice he had. There have been opinions that some of the songs sound tacky. The only somewhat "tacky" one I hear is "Male Ego", but it will give you a good chuckle. An added plus are Ringo Starr, playing drums on "California Calling" and Stevie Wonder, who plays harmonica and synthesizer on "I Do Love You." If this CD sounds so differently, or unlike the Beach Boys, it's because the band was attempting to try out a variety of music genres within this one album. A prime example is the soulful "It's Getting Late." Yet, "California Calling" is an evident throwback to their '60s roots. This makes me embrace the CD all the more, instead of criticizing it, as some have.
I must admit another reason why this CD is so special to me. This was the first album released by the Beach Boys when I was a teenager, and everytime I hear it, it takes me back to the time of my youth, which I greatly cherish. When most people think of the Beach Boys, they immediately think of the '60s, and the teens of that era. This is an '80s album, when I was growing up, so that makes it a part of my history.
So, if you're looking for something by the Beach Boys that is unique and different, you'll love this CD, too. If you're hooked into the '60s-type music only, then stay away."
A MUST FOR TRUE BEACH BOY FANS
Tom MacGowan | Spring Lake, N.J., U.S.A | 08/17/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I remember when these two albums first came out that their biggest flaws, in my opinion anyway, were the order that the songs were placed. On vinyl it was not uncommon for one side to be the better of the two. There are albums that I have re-bought on CD that were some of my favorite albums of all time and I didn't even know half the songs on it because I never listened to the other side or did and didn't like it on the album. Subsequently I put these two albums, like many others on cassette in the order that I like the songs, some songs never making it to the tape. Needless to say 'Keepin the Summer Alive' started off my tape and many other mixes of their songs. This masterpiece I thought would be a fixture in their subsequent concerts but to my knoweledge didn't last long in the live shows. Its primo Beach Boys and 'as good as it gets' for that point in time of their carreers. Underrated is an understatement for this song. If this song were followed up with 'Livin with a Heartache', the 2nd song along with "Keepin the Summer Alive' that Carl Wilson co-wrote with Randy Bachman from Bachman-Turner Overdrive, their cover of Chuck Berry's 'School Days', and my favorite version of that song,(sorry Chuck),'Goin On', and ending side one with 'Oh Darlin or 'When Girls get Togeter', the album probably would have been more successful, who knows. Those are good, if not great tunes to follow up the title track and supply us with some, unfortunatly not much Beach Boy material from that time period. The 2nd album included in this twofer titled simply "The Beach Boys" suffers again from the same problem. Like "Keepin the Summer Alive", it gets your attention then loses it, with poor placement. It contains what I believe to be the best Beach Boy song they had written in years 'Where I Belong'. In this CD's liner notes written by Andrew G. Doe, whose name I don't recognize, he describe this song as "The album's undisputed highlight, the achingly beautiful "Where I Belong". I couldn't agree more and I've been bewildered ever since its release how this song escaped not only the radio, but the Beach Boy's concerts. A Carl Wilson composition with Robert White Johson, (who is he and what else did they write together?). Probably the most underrated Beach Boy tune ever. Buy this CD and if its the only song you like on this double set its still a steal. Unfortunatly it got buried on side two of the original album release following some just O.K. tunes. Unlike "Keepin..." I do like every track on this album, but again would have placed them differently. 'It's Getting Late' didn't knock me out at first but grew on me especially after the video they did for it. 'Crack at your love' is brialliant. 'Passing Friend' is real nice but I agree with the Mr Doe that it should have been shorter. 'Getcha Back', 'California Calling', ' Maybe I Don't Know', 'She Believes in Love Again' and I'm So Lonely' are all good Beach Boy stuff and the version of Stevie Wonder's 'I Do Love You' is pleasant. I'm just glad that two of my favorite Beach Boy tunes are finally on Compact disc and I can put that turntable in the attic."
The Beach-Boy's Last Stand
D. Gibson | Michigan, USA | 08/15/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)
"These are the last Beach Boys albums to feature Brian & Dennis Wilson, although Dennis is virtually non-existant on KTSA and sadly died before BB '85 came out. The undoubted highlight of both albums is Carl Wilson, and Where I Belong is his best song in years. Keepin' The Summer Alive, and It's Gettin' Late are both excellent tracks too. Brian's songs can best be described as not his best, but Goin' On and Male Ego are quite catchy. The production on both albums is not exactly great, and is very much of its time. The 1985 album especially has not aged well as a result. Overall I'd say that this CD is a worthwhile purchase, if only for Carl's songs."
The 2nd album redeems this set a bit
Greg Brady | Capital City | 03/24/2005
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Looks like I'll be the minority on this one. While I agree that KEEPIN' THE SUMMER ALIVE is one of the band's most lackluster (it's probably my 3rd least favorite in their catalogue),the self-titled 1985 BEACH BOYS reminded me that I enjoyed the group and renewed my interest in their older material when it came out back in the 80s, courtesy of "Getcha Back" (the single that returned the band to the Top 40).
The common thread between the 2 albums is that "big guns" were brought in on each one to try and push the band back onto the radio. In KEEPIN' THE SUMMER ALIVE's case, it was Bachman-Turner-Overdrive's Randy Bachman (he co-wrote on several songs and adds some guitar). Joe Walsh also guest appears. For BEACH BOYS it was pop hitmaker Steve Levine who tried to put an 80s production veneer on the band and brought along some high profile guests (Culture Club's Roy Hay, Stevie Wonder, Ringo Starr).
HIGHLIGHTS: The title track for "Keepin' the Summer Alive" was a nicely rocking number with a catchy hook. "Goin' On" was a divorce survivor anthem from Brian with some nice group vocals. (It stalled at #83 as a single). "School Days", a Chuck Berry cover, was the rare GOOD cover from the band in their later years. They tack on a "dear old golden rule days" intro, sound excited vocally throughout, and have a genuinely good arrangement on this. "Some of your Love" is pretty infectious with a honkin' sax intro.
With the 1985 "Beach Boys", the band wanted to be seen as 80s hitmakers and with "Getcha Back" they managed to get back on the radio. The song combined some "Beach Boys sounding" vocal backings with a decent lyric courtesy of Mike Love and Terry Melcher and solid 80s production (yes it has digital drums..what DIDN'T in 1985??) and came up with a hit. The song still holds up well. The other one that made me buy this barely got any airplay but for the life of me I don't know why. "She Believes in Love Again" has a great lyric and SOUNDS even more "Beach Boys" than "Getcha Back". For my money, it's the best track on the disc. Carl's "Where I Belong" also stands out with its declaration that he doesn't need exotic climes as long as his true love's there beside him. It's an understated gem.
PITFALLS: The affected Italian instrumentation on "When Girls Get Together" take a merely bad song over into awful. "Sunshine" and "Oh, Darlin'" are boring, and "Livin' with a Heartache"'s country twang feels out of place. As far as "Beach Boys" goes, there's plenty of misfires on the comeback. "Passing Friend" is a bland warning about backstabbers set aside by Boy George (who realized it wasn't worth recording). Brian should be ashamed of the lyric for "I'm So Lonely"..I can only hope that his guru Dr. Landy is responsible for some of that dreck. His voice sounds awful here, too. "Male Ego" is included as a 'bonus track' (but didn't appear on the original LP release)..the music is alright but the lyric is terrible. (Sample: "You look nice/What's your name?/You smell nice/What's your name?/I like you/What's your name?")
BOTTOM LINE: If you just want the sole Top 40 hit ("Getcha Back") that's available on the SOUNDS OF SUMMER compilation. (ASIN B000093BDX) But before you do that, make sure you listen to the samples for "Where I Belong" and "She Believes in Love Again". If you like them, you need to buy this disc instead."
Tank's on "E"
Somewhere in Texas | Planet Texas | 12/14/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The Beach Boys had finally ran out of creative gas by the time these two albums were recorded - the band was endlessly touring on the oldies circuit and despite the efforts of many fine outside collaborators prodding them along and trying new things sonically with them, the brothers selfish or burned out attitudes in the studio kept them from totally reviving creatively.
Even with support from BTO's Randy Bachman, The Durocs, Darryl Dragon, several LA session musicans that played on the 60's albums and other worthy guests on "Keepin The Summer Alive" the album winds up flat and lifeless. Like "L.A. Light" Bruce Johnson's limp and sterile production work totally sucked any energy out of these songs.
The band didnt help matters much either by writing songs that retread old ground lyrically with barely any memorable hooks. Alan's cover of Chuck Berry's "School Days" was just another attempt to score a Top 40 hit with an 50's oldie, and Carl's collaborations with Randy Bachman didnt break any new ground for him or the band either, though it was interesting for him to try a country-rock sound on "Livin' With a Heartache". Carl did far more inspired work on his later two solo albums.
Dennis was sadly nowhere to be found. The only saviours on this album are Brian's "Goin' On" (a good reflection of what was on his mind in 1980, check the lyrics for proof) and "When Girls Get Together" which was started in the early 70's, yanked off the shelf and finished when Dennis was contractually required to appear on the album. It completely sticks out from the other songs with its huge bass drum and bizzare funeral band arrangment, but is an very interesting song.
By 1985 things were looking up for the group. Despite Dennis' sad drowning, the band had recieved plenty of attention via Ronald Reagan, James Watt and the D.C. 4th of July concert fiasco. Brian had started looking healthy again and CBS had hooked them up with then-hot UK producer Steve Levine, who was scoring huge hits with Culture Club at the time. Even with new British blood behind the board, the band's best vocals in years, and plenty of good ouside help "The Beach Boys" winds up as another hit and miss hodgepodge, but thankfully never sinks to the bottom like "Keepin" did.
"Getcha Back" gave the group a Top 40 hit again with a super catchy hook, an LOUD snare drum sample that was recorded in a racquetball court (no kidding!) along with decent enough high school romance lyrics from Mike. Brian doing his best Billy Joel and Frankie Valli imatations in the background made it fun listening on headphones. The other songs Mike, Alan and Bruce whipped up are listenable thanks to Levine's upbeat programming, but wind up as mere oldies patsches, or come off weak trying to clone 80's pop styles. The outside material by Stevie Wonder and Culture Club just sound like filler b-side tracks they gave away. The use of Ringo Starr on "California Calling" is a nice bonus and gives the album some needed guts.
Carl's songwriting made a big advance with his two solo albums and the tracks he gave to the band on this album are among his finest. "It's Gettin' Late" is a fun R&B-inspired song with a great (some say sampled) vocal intro and wonderful gospel call and response vocals. Its strange it never became a big hit when released as a single, it would have sounded great on the radio at the time. "Where I Belong" is the best track on this CD hands down, a dazzling melody, inspiring words and everyone involved rises to the occasion. The Beach Boys last great recording as a group, period. Had Carl been the true leader of the Beach Boys instead of Mike and united the group again and got them to work hard creating new music, could they have come up with more tracks as amazing as this? Brian chipped in a few new songs, co-written with his shrink. It's a shame CBS tossed the fun "Male Ego" on the B-side of "Getcha Back". It would have been one of the best tracks on the album. Thankfully its the bonus cut at the end of the CD. "I'm So Lonely" tries hard to rock but just doesnt ignite with a dragging slow tempo. On the plus side, Brian's voice sounds much bettter here than he did in the late 70's on these recordings.
The sad thing about "The Beach Boys" is that not only was it the Boys last true album, the album was successful enough to lead the group to further experiment with this kind of all-digital 80's production for thier one-off singles on 4 Seasons, Elektra, Critique, Capitol and RCA. Though the Boys scored a #1 with "Kokomo" they wound up creating some real sonic disasters with Terry Melcher like the theme song from "Problem Child" (never heard it? You don't need too!). Brian was also led down MIDI lane on his first solo album, which featured great songs that could have been better recorded with a real band (like the one he has now) instead of punched in.
This CD, despite uninspired performances and weak songs does deserve to be in your Beach Boys collection, and not so you can complete it. Theres several gems on both albums to be found if you have listening patience."