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The 12 Best Brian Wilson Songs

From massive hits to obscure, experimental pop compositions, Brian Wilson's music is always thoughtful, idiosyncratic, and as thrilling today as it was in the 1960s.

Recent
Reviews

The Personal Accounts of The Beach Boys Make This Documentary Worthwhile

Classic Albums: Pet Sounds expands the mythos of one musician to an entire group, and in doing so, allows us to see the project in a different, equally compelling light.

Music

Racializing Rock: The '60s and the White Sounds of 'Pet Sounds'

Pet Sounds is not a racist text, but its impact was racist because it further encoded rock as a white genre, perpetuating the institutionalized prejudice that relegated African Americans to the margins of rock.

Music

Why Does the Beach Boys' 'Pet Sounds' Still Have Its Hold on Us?

Fifty years on, Brian Wilson’s emotive musings on love, loss, and loneliness have proven to be truly timeless.

Danilo Castro
Reviews

'Agnostic': Against Theists and Atheists

Lesley Hazleton’s brand of agnosticism simply holds open a space for contemplative thinking.

Music

Various Artists: George Fest

Dhani Harrison’s historical document on music's methods of passage through time shows the anxiety of his father’s influence

Reviews

'Love & Mercy' and the Dualities of Brian Wilson

Operating through a series of simple juxtapositions, Love & Mercy is kept riveting due to the stellar and nuanced performances by Paul Dano and John Cusack.

Brice Ezell
Music

Mini Mansions: The Great Pretenders

Melodic, dark, contemporary music with delightful twists and turns, Mini Mansions's The Great Pretenders offers fans a bit of psychedelic swirl amalgamated with sensible, fairly sophisticated, fun pop rock.

Events

NYC Randomness: 'Love & Mercy' Panel + 'Skin Wars' Fashion Event

Some photos of Brian Wilson and John Cusack discussing Love & Mercy and of a Skin Wars body-painting fashion show.

Music

Pop Unmuted Podcast: Brian Wilson's 'No Pier Pressure' and Veteran Pop Artists

The latest installment of Pop Unmuted talks about pop artists who are far into their careers, starting with the latest Brian Wilson album. No Pier Pressure.

Reviews

'The Wrecking Crew' Celebrates One of the Music Industry's Best Kept Secrets

By showing the range and the influence these session musicians had on the hits from the '50s to the '70s, The Wrecking Crew proves their place in rock 'n' roll history.

Music

1965: The Most Revolutionary Year in Music

The year 1965 saw many musical developments, a significant one of which is Brian Wilson's development from poet laureate of high school to baroque visionary.

Andrew Grant Jackson
Music

Counterbalance: The Beach Boys' 'SMiLE'

I know that you’ll feel better when you send us in your letter and tell us the name of your favorite vegetable. In the meantime, this week’s Counterbalance looks at a 1967 classic, lost and found.

Music

The Beach Boys - "Time to Get Alone"

While there are obvious downsides to the kind of discography that the Beach Boys have assembled -- it's dense, lengthy, and larded with inconsistent results -- one of the payoffs deserves special mention: those moments of discovery.

Music

Jimmy Webb: Still Within the Sound of My Voice

This superb collection properly revisits select songs from a wide portfolio, adding respectful guest appearances that accentuate more than not.

Music

The Beach Boys: Made in California

A wonderful tribute to the most influential and ambitious American pop group of all time.

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The End of the Beach Boys' Summer

Then and now, the ethical questions that arise here involve the choice to turn this troubled phase of Brian Wilson's life and career into entertainment.

Music

Ten Songs From 1967 That Shaped Prog Rock

If 1967 characterizes a high point in rock music, it also initiated an explicit realignment of what was possible in the genre -- for better or worse.

Music

1967 and the Prog-Rock Progenitors

If 1967 characterizes a high point where rock music could be appraised as Art, it also initiated an explicit realignment of what was henceforth possible.

Music

Bell Gardens: Full Sundown Assembly

Cerebral indie rockers get their Brian Wilson fixation on.

Music

The Once and Future King: 'SMiLE' and Brian Wilson’s Very American Dream

Almost half a century later, The SMiLE Sessions fully vindicate Brian Wilson's obsessive efforts: the material is complex but accessible, intense but assured, the fully realized vision of a unique talent.

Music

The Beach Boys Are Still Looking at an Impossible Future

“When I Grow Up to Be a Man” is about envisioning the past. It was written by a 23-year-old who imagined a 13-year-old imagining what it was like to be 23. This is still the position the septuagenarian Beach Boys are in today -- looking back at their younger selves looking forward to a future that is not the present, an impossible future.

Alice Bolin
Music

Cock Roaches and Keith Richards: How Do Some Bands Seem to Last Forever?

The Rolling Stones, the Beach Boys, Metallica and other rock groups have been around for decades. What are the keys to their longevity?

Music

The Beach Boys: That's Why God Made the Radio

The surviving 1960s-era Beach Boys reunite for their 50th anniversary. When they compare this album to Sunflower, how far off are they?

Music

The Year in Music: October 2010

Continuing out look at the year’s most notable events in the world of music, here’s what happened in October 2010.

Music

Dreamer: Dennis Wilson's 'Pacific Ocean Blue'

Stephen Rowland kicks off a series of retrospectives to showcase Beach Boys and Beach Boys-related material that is not very popular, rare, or has been forgotten completely.

Music

The Beach Boys: Summer Love Songs

Don't break out the flip-flops quite yet: This fine and servicable Beach Boys compilation hits only a couple of highlights (along with some excellent album cuts), but isn't much in terms of a cohesive listening experience.

Music

Musical Genius & Its Discontents (i): American Style

F. Scott Fitzgerald was wrong. Artists as various as Roky Erickson, Brian Wilson and Shuggie Otis prove there are second acts in American popular music.

Reviews

Brian Wilson: That Lucky Old Sun

Wilson’s not making a comeback. He doesn't need to be resurrected. He's simply ready for the next take.

Thomas Britt
Reviews

Brian Wilson: That Lucky Old Sun

A live-in-the-studio performance bundled with a hackneyed making-of documentary that doubles as a lengthy commercial for Capitol Records.

Joshua O'Neill
Music

Brian Wilson: That Lucky Old Sun

Melodically strong and flat-out enjoyable from start to finish, That Lucky Old Sun is Brian Wilson's love letter to a bygone Southern California and his best freshly-penned album in over 40 years.

Reviews

Brian Wilson performs That Lucky Old Sun @ The Sydney Festival

With something like 80 events, the Sydney Festival is the city’s most definitive claim to world-class culture. So imagine the excitement I feel when I find a couple of tickets to Brian Wilson waiting.


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