The Beach Boys “White” Album

This post is a week later than the actually anniversary, but thanks to WordPress’s ability to change time, the posting date reflects the exact 50th anniversary of 20/20

This album can be seen as the Beach Boys’ White Album in that it has a wide variety of styles from the raucous rock of All I Want To Do to the gentle music box instrumental, The Nearest Faraway Place. It also shares a creepy Charles Manson connection in that it is almost certain that Manson had a hand in writing some of Dennis’s contributions to the album, in particular Never Learn Not o Love.

More significantly, this is the first Beach Boys’ album that is not dominated by Brian Wilson compositions. Brian’s lack of contribution is somewhat masked by the conclusion of two SMiLE pieces making their first vinyl release, Cabinessence and Our Prayer. Aside from that, Brian’s contributions are limited to the brilliant trilogy Do It Again, I Went To Sleep and Time To Get Alone, as well as producing the cover version of Cotton Fields. The rest of the band fill the breach, a feature of the 1969-71 period, and even more pronounced on the next album Sunflower, with Carl’s production of I Can Hear Music and Dennis’s Be With Me being most noteworthy. Bruce’s instrumental The Nearest Faraway Place is also particularly atmospheric and invokes a haven of peace in a chaotic era.

All in all, there is a sense of brilliant songs, but with a whole not quite being the sum of the parts, given the varying sources of the material.Regardless 20/20 is another very good album in a terribly underrated era of the band’s music.

One Response to “The Beach Boys “White” Album”

  1. 20/20 is to Sunflower as Today was to Pet Sounds.

  2. Bob says:

    I don’t quite agree that this is their “White Album”. The Beatles’ album shows the band beginning to fall apart. I think of this one is more like “Revolver”. Which means that, although the band members are off on different tangents, they still seem to be more or less on the same page. I suppose that may seem true because of Stephen Desper’s excellent mixing skills. It’s my favorite post-“Smile” 60’s Beach Boys album, hands down.

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