The Beach Boys reunited? Talk about mixed feelings. I mean, let’s face it, their best work was a long time ago. And yet… I’ve never stopped listening to that best work. Often, and with great love. These songs aren’t appealing because of my nostalgia for my long-ago surfing days in California (I never lived in California, I’ve never surfed, and I have no idea what exactly a little deuce coupe is). They’re appealing because they’re really good. The harmonies that go places you weren’t expecting, the sad ache of youth longing to discover its direction, the sheer exuberance of the experimentation, the feeling that music will let you do anything and all you have to do is try it. I will never tire of listening to “Good Vibrations.” Or “God Only Knows.” Or “Don’t Worry Baby.” (I could go on.)
So as I said, I had mixed feelings hearing they were coming back. And then I heard just one song, and fell in love. I don’t know if these songs will hold up forty years from now, but they sound pretty good to me. While the Boys are boys no more, with that great backup band, they’re getting the job done. And not incidentally, the album debuted today at No.3 in Billboard magazine.
Welcome back, guys!
The Beach Boys’ new album That’s Why God Made the Radio is part of an exclusive Reader’s Digest 3-CD package celebrating the Beach Boys’ 50th Anniversary, including two additional discs of their 36 greatest hits. Our album is available at rd.com/beachboys.