Summer Love Songs
REVIEW BY: David Bowling
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 06/30/2009
Summer is on the way and The Beach Boys have returned with another compilation album for the third year in a row. 2007 found the boys releasing The Warmth Of The Sun, 2008 gave rise to the spectacular box set The Original U.S. Singles Collection: The Capitol Years 1962-1965, and now 2009 brings Summer Love Songs.
Yes, it is a way for the Capitol label to earn a few more dollars from The Beach Boys’ classic catalogue, but in another way that’s fine because of the brilliance of the material.
The theme for this album is love songs. The release contains twenty tracks that are a good mixture of well-known ballads and up-tempo material, and while they may stray somewhat from the concept of the album, they are all pleasurable. The impeccable, soaring harmonies and familiar melodies are like old friends and offer a glimpse of a perfect summer day.
There are also some nice nuggets for the fan who wants absolutely every variation that the group has to offer. “Why Do Fools Fall In Love” and “Don’t Worry Baby” both have new stereo mixes taken from recently found analog multi-track masters. Both songs benefit from this transition and have a nice clarity and balance. “Hushabye,” “I’m So Young,” “Good To My Baby” and “Time To Get Alone” all receive stereo mixes which provide more of a cleaning than anything new.
“Fallin’ In Love,” which was written and recorded by Dennis Wilson, makes its United States debut here. It had been previously issued in Europe and Australia as the B-side of a single, so it is nice to have it available, but it only hints at Wilson’s talent.
The best grouping of songs begins with “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” and then proceeds to the version of “God Only Knows” with Brian Wilson (not Carl) on vocals and on to“Surfer Girl,” “California Girls” and “Please Let Me Wonder.” They may be some of the most issued songs that you can find, but that does not make them any less enjoyable. When you add “Help Me Rhonda” and the album closer, the underrated “Girls On The Beach,” you have a very representative group of Beach Boys material.
Whether you purchase this album or not will depend upon if you want or need this particular offering of Beach Boys material. Whatever decision you may make, Summer Love Songs presents much of what The Beach Boys are all about. So grab a blanket, give it a listen and let you mind wander.