The Beach Boys - Surf's Up (Music CD)

Release Date: 24 September 2012
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The Beach Boys' catalog is littered with forgotten 1970s LPs that barely scraped the charts upon release but matured into solid fan favorites despite -- and occasionally, because of -- their many and varied eccentricities. Surf's Up could well be the most definitive, beginning with the cloying "Don't Go Near the Water" and ending a bare half-hour later with the baroque majesty of the title track (originally written in 1966). The LP is a virtual laundry list of each uncommon intricacy that made the Beach Boys' forgotten decade such a bittersweet thrill -- the fluffy yet endearing pop (od)ditties of Brian Wilson, quasi-mystical white-boy soul from brother Carl, and the downright laughable songwriting on tracks charting Mike Love's devotion to Buddhism and Al Jardine's social/environmental concerns.
Those songs are enjoyable enough, but the last three tracks are what make Surf's Up such a masterpiece. The first, "A Day in the Life of a Tree," is simultaneously one of Brian's most deeply touching and bizarre compositions; he is the narrator and object of the song (though not the vocalist; co-writer Jack Rieley lends a hand), lamenting his long life amid the pollution and grime of a city park while the somber tones of a pipe organ build atmosphere. The second, "'Til I Die," isn't the love song the title suggests; it's a haunting, fatalistic piece of pop surrealism that appeared to signal Brian's retirement from active life. The album closer, "Surf's Up," is a masterpiece of baroque psychedelia, probably the most compelling track from the Smile period. Carl gives a soulful performance despite the surreal wordplay, and Brian's coda is one of the most stirring moments in his catalog. Wrapped up in a mess of contradictions, Surf's Up defined the Beach Boys' tumultuous career better than any other album. [Surf's Up was made available in 2000 as half of the two-fer collection Sunflower/Surf's Up.] ~ John Bush
Release Date: 24 September 2012

1. Don’t Go Near The Water
2. Long Promised Road
3. Take A Load Off Your Feet
4. Disney Girls
5. Student Demonstration Time
6. Feel Flows
7. Lookin’ At Tomorrow (A Welfare Song)
8. A Day In The Life Of A Tree
9. Til I Die
10. Surf’s Up

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Catalogue No: 4044392