The Beach Boys have reached the 50 year milestone in their career. To commemorate that achievement, Brian Wilson, Mike Love, Al Jardine, Bruce Johnston, and David Marks have reunited for an extended tour and the release of a new studio album, That’s Why God Made The Radio, which is currently scheduled for an early June release.
The album demonstrates that The Beach Boys are alive and well, at least in the studio. Brian Wilson has reassumed his leadership in the studio as producer, and songwriter as he co-wrote 11 of the 12 tracks. The best news is he kept his grandiose impulses under control, which allowed the band to reach back in time and create an album of simple but enjoyable music. The melodies are catchy and straightforward, while the lyrics tell simple stories similar to their early career material.
The lead vocals may show the wear and tear of the past half century, but the harmonies are tight and exquisite. If there is one thing Brian Wilson has always been able to do, it's blend the individual voices of The Beach Boys into a virtual choir that has been and remains unique in American music history. In many ways these new harmonies are the centerpiece of this release.
The music and vocals are centered primarily around the five Beach Boys. The only additional musicians are their long-time guitarist Jeff Foskett and drummer John Cowsill, who has been touring with Mike Love’s edition of the band. Adrian Baker and Christian Love provide backing vocals on one track and the rest is all the band members.
The album’s first track, “Think About The Days,” establishes the fact that The Beach Boys have returned. It begins with the five voices united in a cappella harmony. A simple piano enters as the song flows gently along. There are no words but only vocal sounds.
The title song, lyrically and emotionally, is about capturing memories. It features a simple instrumental background with a heavy bass and drum backbeat. The lyrics may be a little self-indulgent in places, but the harmonies more than make up for it, which allows it to emerge as a track that would fit in with their better material.