I was pretty jazzed to find this ad featuring The Beach Boys—in the middle of their “Brian’s Back” campaign—hocking car stereos not just because it features the classic line up all with great facial hair but also because the record they were pushing at the time was The Beach Boys Love You . Everyone always makes a big stink about Pet Sounds—and with good reason—but I think I like Love You more.
I believe that this is the first album that Brian soley wrote and produced since he relinquished control of the group following the failed Smile sessions. When the other guys agreed to allow Brian to write again were they aware of how moog-fixated he’d become or that the material that he would hand them would be songs about Johnny Carson, rollerskating Lolitas and the solar system bringing wisdom? Anyway the record is fascinating and—even though it may take a little getting used to—is an unjustly overlooked corner of their rather large catalog.
If you’re unfamiliar with this 1977—well, I’ll call it a masterpiece of sorts, it can be found here. Be warned that Brian, Carl and Dennis are all in very poor voice with Dennis and Brian’s voices being in particularly ragged shape. Al, however, rather nails his take on (I kid you not) my favorite track, “Honking Down the Highway”. Don’t miss that “woo” and that “yeah” that he throws in or this ragged live version. Also watch out for “I Want to Pick You Up”, the creepiest song about touching a child this side of “Baby Greaser George”. I wish Danny Tanner and his boys had sung “I Want to Pick You Up” to Michelle. Finally, if the lyrics to “Mona” seem a bit made-up-while-going-along, here‘s a solo Brian demo that will dispell that assumption.