No matter. The spirit of the early hits is ably recaptured in the disc’s brevity, clocking in at an All Summer Long-like 33-and-a-half minutes. And the selections for the disc—which is labeled Anniversary Collection for maximum confusion—appear to be, with the noted exception, their very top-selling singles...and not one note more.
That is, with the exception of the 2012 edition of “Do It Again.” Had this remake been done using 1968 tech, it would constitute stunning evidence of the Boys still being in strong voice and possessing true pitch. Today’s technology can Britney Spears resemble a singer, however, so of course it can make one of the greatest vocal groups ever sound great. The extent to which Auto-Tune was in play here is up for debate. What is evident is that Mike Love’s voice is heavily processed and that surviving Beach Boys Brian Wilson, David Marks, Al Jardine, Mike Love, and Bruce Johnston are massively supported by Jeff Foskett and others, presumably from Brian’s touring band, seen backing them up on recent TV appearances. At least those appearances are paying off for them: they sold 14,000 copies of their upcoming album That's Why God Made the Radio in a one-hour appearance on QVC, outselling their last previous album of original material, Summer in Paradise (1992), in one night.
Apart from the novelty of the acrimonious seniors reuniting at all, the only novel aspects of “Do It Again” 2012 are the more prominent guitars at the song’s beginning and replacement of the original’s “workshop sounds,” recorded for the SMiLE album, with a loose rave-up ending from the backing band. Even the guitar solo (possibly by Marks) follows the basic template of the original. For Beach Boys completists, the new recording is a must, I’m sure; casual fans would be better served with the 1968 original.
If you should want to purchase this blatant cash-grab, your choices are limited. Consumers can either put a bag over the head of their sense of personal ethics and buy this thing at America’s largest "bricks and mortar" retailer, or pay collectors’ prices on one of the online auction sites.
Just as the Beach Boys delivered the “bunt” of Smiley Smile (1967) in place of the “home run” promised with SMiLE, they and Capitol chose to mark this golden anniversary with a cruddy plastic Cracker Jack trinket.