Sadly, Brian Wilson, the musical prodigy behind the great USA Surf Rock based group The Beach Boys was in a bad emotional and mental health state by the release of this album. Obsessed with creating the perfect Pop/Rock masterpiece, he lost his headspace somewhere between 1966’s Pet Sounds and the release of this album, which was released after the classic album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band by fellow competitors The Beatles, also arriving in 1967. Realising in his own way that he could not create the greatest album of all time and something massively influential, like Pet Sounds, this album is a compromise effort. Having said all that, many consider it to be an underrated and undervalued album by The Beach Boys. Let’s take some time now to listen to this album, and hear where it takes us.
Heroes and Villains begins this album and has a load of excellent harmonies. It’s an interesting and childlike story tale about a gangster who falls in love. Very different and comical, this is a great song and story as well. The harpsichord in the background is magical, as well as the general production and cleverly used sounds. Obviously, Brian Wilson and The Beach Boys still had some talent up their sleeves. The harmony section around the middle of the song is just plain gorgeous. It is a very interesting listen, with changes in tempo and instrumentation throughout. The build-up to the end in the second half is literally awesome. It finishes after three minutes, nice job boys.
Vegetables arrives next and is another childlike story tale like composition that sounds interesting. There are many kitchen based sounds and great singing by The Beach Boys. A very enjoyable and easy listening sort of piece, there are sounds of a carrot being munched and other unique sound effects to enjoy here. In the second half is a wonderful section of harmonies, singing and joyful expression. Nice job for a two minute Pop song.
Fall Breaks and Back To Winter – Woody Woodpecker Symphony begins with some melodic singing and interesting instrumentation, including a cool keyboard being played throughout. This is not the best song on this album, it just sounds like a throwaway piece. Still, that is okay on this album as it is both short and does not really need skipping anyway. It could have been done better. Some accordion and other sounds create an interesting atmosphere on this track before it quickly fades out.
She’s Goin’ Bald begins with bongo beats and begins a bizarre tale about a lady who is losing her hair big time. It is a good mesh of melodic singing, bongo drums and weird lyricism. This was 1967, after all. Some pitch-shifting occurs in the middle of the track, before returning to the tale at hand. Definitely weird, unusual and bizarre listening that just is odd. Enjoyable, although it can be humourous at times. It’s just different.
Little Pad begins with some rather unusual singing and laughter from The Beach Boys, before going properly into a gentle and relaxing sounding piece of music. There are harmonies galore and ukelele, too. This is a good listen and it sounds a little odd but is enjoyable. The mixture of singing and instrumentation is just wonderful on this track, and on the album, too. A very refreshing listening experience, and good to hear from time to time.
Good Vibrations is a classic song by The Beach Boys and the most popular song from this album. It begins with some awesome organ, plucked bass guitar and really nice singing by The Beach Boys. The chorus has the famous and recognisable section for most music lovers out there, with chugging guitar, theremin and great singing by the group. This is a very enjoyable and listenable piece of classic Pop/Rock masterwork. The lyrics present on this album and this song are also fantastic. All in all, a classic piece that stands out on its own on this album. In the second half, there are some sweeping keyboard sounds, heavy bass guitar lines and some other interesting instrumentation abound, before returning to the chorus to repeat towards the end. Nice work.
With Me Tonight begins with some lovely harmonies, these harmonies are so beautiful that they pluck at heartstrings, not brain strings. Eventually, an organ sound ends and the harmonies go over the top of it all. A really wonderful and sonically masterful piece of work, this is a gentle and warm sounding track. It’s designed for 1960s lovers, and perhaps some future generations of lovers as well. The mixture of singing and organ makes this one a little unusual but relaxing nonetheless. Good job.
Wind Chimes begins with more keyboard sounds that are hypnotic, along with some truly superb singing. This is a very odd sort of tune about the wind chimes that people hang outside their homes. The layers of instrumentation present on this track make for an interesting listen. About halfway through, a weird sound enters, followed by reverb-drenched vocals and an electric piano sound. The song ends with a very quiet fade out, which is completely different to most 21st-century music in terms of volume. An interesting listen nonetheless.
Gettin’ Hungry begins with some interesting 1960s styled organ, and nice percussion, going straight into a strange tale that is nicely sung. The layers of inventive instrumentation make this an interesting listen. The hunger is a love/lust based thing, not actually about being hungry for food. It is not that good a tune, and by this point of the album, one can hear that this is not The Beach Boys at their best. Still, it’s okay anyway.
Wonderful is one of the most popular tunes by The Beach Boys from this time. It begins with some soothing vocals and gentle keyboards in the background. There are some pretty female backing vocals present in this track as well. The music here isn’t as good as it could be, and just like the rest of the album, seems a little disappointing. Regardless, the effort is appreciated by these guys, even if the end result isn’t the best. A good song with a lot of promise, it ends with some whispering, before finishing off nicely. Good work.
Whistle In ends the album with whistling and gentle singing, with some unusual sounding keyboard sounds. A short piece that is just over one minute to nicely wrap up this album. Cheerful music to warm people’s hearts.
Unfortunately, this album is not as good as Pet Sounds. It should have been bigger and better than this. Sadly, this album represents the broken mental health state that main man Brian Wilson was in. The Beach Boys did make records both before and after this point that were better. This is good for fans of The Beach Boys, otherwise, you’d be best off hearing a better album or compilation of theirs.