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The Beach Boys

Summer Love Songs

(Capitol; US: 19 May 2009; UK: 18 May 2009)

Since 1999, Capitol Records has put out about 12 different Beach Boys singles collections, each rearranging the same songs in different orders, making for a glut of utterly pointless, completely useless CDs that wind up covering the same territory over and over again (and that’s not even counting the gamut of non-Capitol compilations that make their way to shelves every year on top of that). So, really, what’s so special about Summer Love Songs, and why should we care? Well, in short, this compilation at least tries to do something a bit different by digging into the archives for some deeper album cuts. Oh sure, there are some classic singles strewn about (“God Only Knows”, “Put Your Head on My Shoulder”, “Help Me, Rhonda” and “Wouldn’t It Be Nice”), but some of Summer Love Song‘s finest moments come from lesser-known tracks like the psych-pop gem “Our Sweet Love” (from 1970’s Sunflower) and the excellent guitar-driven number “Good to My Baby” (from 1965’s Today!).


Though some tracks are given some pristine stereo remixes, the supposed “get” of this compilation is the release of “Fallin’ in Love”, a never-before released track, that, in fact, has been released before as the B-side to “Sound of Free”—Dennis Wilson’s first-ever solo single. Though somewhat innocuous, the string-laced “Fallin’ in Love” is an excellent Wilson composition and a downright surprising omission from last year’s Pacific Ocean Blue re-release. So elegant, in fact, it feels somewhat out of place with the rest of the immaculate Brian Wilson compositions that pepper this release. In the end, Summer Love Songs is a pleasant-enough Beach Boys diversion but still a far cry from owning any (if not all) of the original classic albums.

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Evan Sawdey started contributing to PopMatters in late 2005, and has also had his work featured in publications such as SLUG Magazine, The Metro (U.K.), Soundvenue Magazine (Denmark), the Daily Dot, and multiple national newspapers. Evan has been a guest on RevotTV's "Revolt Live!" as well as WNYC's Soundcheck (an NPR affiliate), was the Executive Producer for the Good With Words: A Tribute to Benjamin Durdle album (available for free at GoodWithWordsAlbum.com), and wrote the liner notes for the 2011 re-release of Andre Cymone's hit 1985 album A.C. (Big Break Records), the 2012 re-release of 'Til Tuesday's 1985 debut Voices Carry (Hot Shot Records), and many others. He currently resides in Chicago, Illinois. You can follow him @SawdEye should you be so inclined.


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