The title song, “Friends,” is a full blown Brian Wilson production and regrettably a single that did not reach the Top 40. The words we’ve been friends for so many years, through the good times and bad, may not have been aimed at their fans but would have fit. “Friends” contain an odd beat for Carl Wilson’s lead vocal. Brian’s voice joins Carl’s about half way into the song. The uses of intermittent harmonies fill the spaces in the songs structure.
“When A Man Loves A Woman” contains a bubbly organ at its foundation. The vocal by Brian is excellent but the song peters out near the end and has an unfinished feeling. Brian Wilson’s “Passing By” contains harmonies without words. The wonderful textures of the group’s voices just float about simple instrumentation. Brian Wilson also wrote and sang lead on the sparse “Busy Doing Nothing.” The title of this song describes its basic theme. Brian Wilson, without backing, basically sings about a day in his life at the time.
“Anna Lee, The Healer,” co-written by Brian and Mike, with lead vocals by Mike, is a song about a masseuse (I hope) who reduces a persons stress. Musically this song has a creative musical structure as it substituted harmony in place of many instruments.
The instrumental “Diamond Head” may be the most sophisticated song on Friends. Reminiscent of the sounds and textures of Pet Sounds, Brian Wilson creates a virtual symphony through the use of various instruments. A very creative guitar bridge at the center of the song connects two separate thoughts that are molded into a whole.
All in all, Friends, is ultimately satisfying in its own way. It is an album that should be listened to with your feet up and a glass of wine in hand.