Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Of Flat Surf and Beached Boys

The 50-year-old Beach Boys consummated their golden jubilee this week with the release of a new studio album, That’s Why God Made the Radio (the Almighty does not make radios, by the way)—the first Beach Boys album to include both Brian Wilson (a.k.a. the hero) and Mike Love (a.k.a. the villain) in more than—shit, I don’t know—many years. Detractors will say this album, like the band’s concurrent reunion tour, is a blatant cash-grab, that it sounds less like a rejuvenated band with its creative powers restored than a reanimated corpse in tattered beach wear. Gosh, people can be so cynical. Indeed, the Beach Boys' endless summer may have ended long ago, but they prove in all their geriatric glory that they can hang 10 (and brains) in the winter of their years. Well, except for the ones who are still dead. Anyway, as I prepare to bask in the radiating glory of wobbly old men hobbling around on stage in Bermuda shorts and unbuttoned Hawaiian shirts for one last go-around, I can cite hundreds of reasons why That’s Why God Made the Radio (again, God didn’t invent the radio; God merely tolerated its creation) justifies its existence. Allow me to share some of those reasons with you today.

That’s Why God Made the Radio deserves its existence and your dwindling disposable income because:

There’s nothing sweeter than being serenaded by paunchy septuagenarians puttering around in baseball caps.

In his catatonic, drooling state, Brian is still a genius.

Unlike Smile, That’s Why God Made the Radio is sodden with relatable lyrics.

Pining for the same simple things—summer, sun, cars, waves and babes—50 years later is cute. Or pathetic.

Empty, cynical nostalgia for a phony Southern California dream is deeply moving.

Brian’s fragile psyche makes this collection very poignant. (The same has also been said about every Brian Wilson-related recording since 1967—even his infamous “Smart Girls” rap song.)

The California Raisins haven’t made an album in over 20 years.

The gift shop at the Zuma Beach Shack Motel Resort and RV Rental needs a new soundtrack.

The hopelessly behind-the-times Beach Boys are timeless.

The Beach Boys think the kids are still buying albums.

It’s important to remember that as the ocean is deep the Beach Boys are shallow.


Benjamin James Wilson said...

What the hell is going on with Brian, Mike and Al's wardrobe choices in that picture? Crikey those shirts! I wonder if you asked these guys at age 30 or so if they were ready to start a forty-year career as a pure nostalgia act how many would've stopped then? How many bands would take that deal now?

Reed Jackson said...

Actually, God used to make radios, until NAFTA made it impossible to compete with Mexico. Brian has a lot of catching up to do, in terms of current events.

Reed Jackson said...

Also: Hologram Dennis Wilson!

Joe Ehrbar said...

Thanks for the comments, Ben and Reed. Reed, what's your email address?

Reed Jackson said...

Hey Joe,

I'm at