Summer is on the way and The Beach Boys have returned with another compilation album for the third year in a row. 2007 found the boys releasing The Warmth Of The Sun, 2008 gave rise to the spectacular box set The Original U.S. Singles Collection: The Capital Years 1962-1965 and now 2009 brings Summer Love Songs.
Yes it is a way for the Capital label to earn a few more dollars from The Beach Boys classic catalogue, but in another way that’s fine because of the brilliance of the material.
The theme for this album is love songs. The release contains twenty tracks that are a good mixture of well known ballads and up-tempo material and while they may stray somewhat from the concept of the album, they are all pleasurable. The impeccable soaring harmonies and familiar melodies are like old friends which offer a glimpse of a perfect past.
There are some nice nuggets for the fan who wants absolutely every variation that the group has too offer. “Why Do Fools Fall In Love” and “Don’t Worry Baby” both have new stereo mixes taken from recently found analog multi-track masters. Both songs benefit from this transition and have a nice clarity and balance. “Hushabye,” “I’m So Young,” “Good To My Baby,” and “Time To Get Alone” all receive new stereo mixes which are more of a cleaning than anything new.
“Fallin’ In Love,” which was written and recorded by Dennis Wilson, makes its United States debut. It had been previously issued in Europe and Australia as the B side of a single. It is nice to have it available, but it only hints at his talent.
The best grouping of songs begin with “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” and then proceeds to the Brian Wilson (not Carl) vocal of “God Only Knows” and on to “Surfer Girl,” “California Girls,” and “Please Let Me Wonder.” They may be some of the most issued songs that you can find but that does not make them any less enjoyable. When you add “Help Me Rhonda” and the album closer, the under rated “Girls On The Beach” you have a very representative group of Beach Boys songs.
Whether you purchase this album or not will depend upon if you want or need this particular offering of Beach Boys material. Whatever decision you may make, Summer Love Songs presents much of what The Beach Boys are all about. So grab a blanket, give it a listen, and let you mind wander.