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The Beach Boys - Surf's Up

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Surf's Up

The Beach Boys

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The Beach Boys' post-1966 catalog is littered with 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 definitive example, 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 album 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.
© John Bush /TiVo

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Surf's Up

The Beach Boys

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1
Don't Go Near The Water (Remastered 2009)
00:02:41

MARK LINETT, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Mike Love, ComposerLyricist - The Beach Boys, Producer, MainArtist - Al Jardine, ComposerLyricist - Stephen W. Desper, Mixer, Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2009 Brother Records Inc

2
Long Promised Road (Remastered 2009)
00:03:32

MARK LINETT, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - The Beach Boys, Producer, MainArtist - Carl Wilson, ComposerLyricist - Stephen W. Desper, Mixer, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Jack Rieley, ComposerLyricist

℗ 2009 Brother Records Inc

3
Take A Load Off Your Feet (Remastered 2009)
00:02:31

MARK LINETT, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Brian Wilson, ComposerLyricist - The Beach Boys, Producer, MainArtist - Al Jardine, ComposerLyricist - Stephen W. Desper, Mixer, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Gary Winfrey, ComposerLyricist

℗ 2009 Brother Records Inc

4
Disney Girls (1957) (Remastered 2009)
00:04:10

Bruce Johnston, ComposerLyricist - MARK LINETT, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - The Beach Boys, Producer, MainArtist - Stephen W. Desper, Mixer, Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2009 Brother Records Inc

5
Student Demonstration Time (Remastered 2009)
00:03:58

Jerry Leiber, ComposerLyricist - Mike Stoller, ComposerLyricist - MARK LINETT, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Mike Love, ComposerLyricist - The Beach Boys, Producer, MainArtist - Stephen W. Desper, Mixer, Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2009 Brother Records Inc

6
Feel Flows (Remastered 2009)
00:04:49

MARK LINETT, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - The Beach Boys, Producer, MainArtist - Carl Wilson, ComposerLyricist - Stephen W. Desper, Mixer, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Jack Rieley, ComposerLyricist

℗ 2009 Brother Records Inc

7
Lookin' At Tomorrow (A Welfare Song) (Remastered 2009)
00:01:58

MARK LINETT, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - The Beach Boys, Producer, MainArtist - Al Jardine, ComposerLyricist - Stephen W. Desper, Mixer, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Gary Winfrey, ComposerLyricist

℗ 2009 Brother Records Inc

8
A Day In The Life Of A Tree (Remastered 2009)
00:03:08

MARK LINETT, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Brian Wilson, ComposerLyricist - The Beach Boys, Producer, MainArtist - Stephen W. Desper, Mixer, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Jack Rieley, ComposerLyricist

℗ 2009 Brother Records Inc

9
'Til I Die (Remastered 2009)
00:02:36

Brian Wilson, ComposerLyricist - The Beach Boys, Producer, MainArtist - Stephen W. Desper, Mixer, Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2009 Brother Records Inc

10
Surf's Up (Remastered 2009)
00:04:17

Van Dyke Parks, ComposerLyricist - MARK LINETT, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Brian Wilson, ComposerLyricist - The Beach Boys, Producer, MainArtist - Stephen W. Desper, Mixer, Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2009 Brother Records Inc

Album Description

The Beach Boys' post-1966 catalog is littered with 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 definitive example, 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 album 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.
© John Bush /TiVo

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