Respecting One’s Elders

With the Beach Boys back together on the road and in the studio, and also hitting the music press headlines, it’s not a surprise that Mojo targeted them for one of their “free” CDs. The concept of the CD was interesting – different artists take on a song from Pet Sounds, in the order of the album.

The reality doesn’t quite meet the promise, as the Beach Boys often do prove hard to cover effectively. Some of the artists try to be innovative with the material, but don’t really add much to the material, and at times render it almost unlistenable, as with Human Don’t Be Angry (Malcolm Middleton) doing the title instrumental. The most successful covers are the more straight-up ones, including Saint Etienne’s Wouldn’t It Be Nice and Jodie Marie’s Here Today. If anything, the main tribute that the album pays is the realization that in 1966 Brian Wilson, Tony Asher and the Beach Boys produced the perfect combination of melody, lyrics, production and arrangement, and it’s going to be almost impossible to better it.

Wilson Phillips have also recently paid tribute to the Beach Boys and The Mamas And The Papas on their recent album, Dedicated. Including seven Beach Boys songs, and five from the Mamas And The Papas (with Owen Elliot guesting on Dedicated To The One I Love), it’s a far more faithful reproduction of the classic songs. While it doesn’t break any musical ground, it’s nice to hear these songs with all-female vocals, and gives hope that the great California sound of the 60s will be treasured by many generations to come.

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