The sun is still shining brightly in California as Brian Wilson has returned with a new and excellent release. I had been fearful that with the completion of his three and a half decade Smile odyssey that his creative juices may have been exhausted. Thankfully, that was not the case. That Lucky Old Sun features superior song writing and impeccable production. Wilson’s voice may not be as strong as it once was but he still gets by.
That Lucky Old Sun is more than just an album of songs. At age 66, Brian Wilson proves that he can still think and create conceptually. Narration connects the songs and the continual use or return to “That Lucky Old Sun (Reprise)” provides a foundation for the album.
This is a very personal album for him and in many ways it seems that he is closing some of life’s circles. There is a poignant tribute to his brothers, Carl and Dennis, plus he pays homage to his surf music legacy.
The album meanders along life’s pathways for Brian Wilson. “Forever Be My Surfer Girl” and “Venice Beach” are a looking back to visions and memories of his youth. “Live Let Live” is an environmental song which has been a priority for Wilson given the changes to his beloved home state. “Oxygen To The Brain” and “Midnight’s Another Day” are autobiographical as he confronts his daily struggles. “Going Home” and “Southern California” close the album by proving, at least for Brian, that you really can go home again.
It is nice to find a healthy Brian Wilson. He has been touring extensively for the past several years to wonderful receptions. He has now become one of the grand old men of rock ‘n’ roll and has gained a respect from three generations of music listeners and fans. As such he is a connector to a long lost simpler time of ocean breezes and endless summers. That Lucky Old Sun is a very modern album that pays respect to that legacy. If this album proves to be his swan song then he has provided an excellent and creative final remembrance of his summer days, his summer nights, and a lot of time in between.