Beach Boys 50th Anniversary Album
Despite their public preference for California girls, the Beach Boys began their fiftieth anniversary tour in Tuscon, AZ, on Tuesday, where surviving original members Brian Wilson, Mike Love, and Al Jardine along with Bruce Johnston and David Marks (who both joined the band in the 60s) serenaded a decked-out crowd for the first time in decades.
“You probably could’ve guessed it was a Beach Boys show just by the shirts the men in the audience wore: collared, short-sleeved, and over-sized, with palm trees, hibiscus flowers, and nautical gear printed all over them,” writes Rolling Stone‘s Mike Powell after observing the power-packed 42 song performance at the Anselmo Valencia Amphitheater.
The kick off crests a five-month, 56-show tour where the five Southern California iconoclasts–famous for immortalizing their birth place’s “endless summers”–will traverse the United States to bring fans back to the sun-dripped nostalgia of their youth with classic balmy singles like “Surfin’ Safari,” “Surfer Girl,” “Little Honda,” and, of course, “California Girls.”
While the lyrics are light and the tunes unmarred by unnecessary conversation and pauses between songs, LA Times writer Randall Roberts makes evident that Brian Wilson–absent until his appearance with the band at the Grammys in February–is not exactly at peace.
“… Wilson didn’t seem to be having much fun. Sitting behind his piano stone-faced, he feigned a smile a few times and had to be nudged into acknowledging the crowd when they rose to give him his first ovation during his falsetto-intoned version of Lymon’s ‘Why Do Fools Fall in Love,’” Roberts observes.
But this speculation may be no more potent than just that, as the group seemed to solidify their reconciliation by releasing their first single in nearly two decades, called “That’s Why God Made the Radio,” which will debut on their soon-to-be-out album with the same title, reports Time.
The tune was praised by NPR’s All Things Considered as the group’s “best new song in 40 years.” Time snatched a middle grounded opinion amidst critics by questioning the song’s lackadaisical beat and hackneyed melody.
“The Beach Boys are still, 50 years later, synonymous with American summers, but if this song is any indication—perhaps appropriate for an aging pop band—the new album may be one for September rather than July,” the magazine wrote, a description that seems to aptly capture the professionally mastered but seemingly uninspired single.
Still, it’s hard not to commend the group for its long overdue reunion and the gumption to once again tackle the American–and later European and Asian–tour circuit.
It proves the band still puts out at least a few good vibrations.
Watch: “That’s Why God Made the Radio”
Photo from Rolling Stone