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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Beach Boys: Surfin' Safari

(Requested by John W from Cincinnati Ohio)

The Beach Boys are, arguably, best known for their phenomenal album Pet Sounds. Pet Sounds is often considered one of the best albums of all time, and one of the most influential albums of all time (even influencing The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, another serious contender for all time best album) However, before Pet Sounds, there was Surfin' Safari. I can count on one hand the number of notable songs on this album, out of the 12 tracks presented, and these songs are the title track (their first big hit) and 409 (which was the start of an era of songs about cars, in addition to being a big hit.) However, what about the rest of the album? Their first single, Surfin', was also OK, it wasn't great, but it was unique because of its garage-like sound. However, the rest of the sound suffers from awkward songwriting and bad production values (the exact opposite of Pet Sounds, which offered some of the best writing and production values ever.) The album has some less than stellar numbers, such as Ten Little Indians and County Fair, as well as some downright pointless songs, such as Moon Dawg (A gritty instrumental that is way out of place on the album.) With a length of less than 25 minutes, this album is one of the shortest in my catalog.
Overall, this album is sub-par, especially for a band with as much talent as The Beach Boys would eventually uncover. While Brian Wilson's composing genius is foreshadowed here, it still has a long way to develop until Pet Sounds, and beyond.

(5 out of 10)

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