Brian Wilson - That Lucky Old Sun
- Artist: Brian Wilson
- Album: That Lucky Old Sun
- Label: Capital
- Year of Release: 2008
- ME Rating:
- Reviewed by: solitaryman on 2009-03-18
- Southern California (audio) High
Before the meat of this review is dug into, let me just say this: it's a near-miracle that Brian Wilson is still alive today, let alone making music. That's indisputable if you're aware of his troubled past, throughout the Beach Boys years and afterwards. Now, all that put aside, let's see what he has to offer on That Lucky Old Sun, an all-new collection of material that comes together like a stage show, a celebration of a state (California, which other could it be?), and a renewal of a classic sound that lie dormant in old LPs and dug-up material re-created (I refer to Brian's "Smile!" project, in the works for decades). In essence, That Lucky Old Sun sums this man's musical spirit up, and it does so in a wonderfully harmonious and glorious way.
The album consists of short, pepped-up slices of soulful pop, spaced out by interesting beatnik-poetry-type interludes that attempt to tie together a theme that, to me, sounds like Brian taking a drive through all the old haunts and stomping grounds of his native state. The line "Find the heartbeat in L.A." is oft-repeated and perhaps digs more to the heart of the affair here than any individual song. Still, opening full-length track "Morning Beat" comes off as a "Little Deuce Coup" recreation, sparkling with old-school charm and Brian's ageless voice. This is the real miracle of this album: the man sounds about 98% the same as he did on those old classic Beach Boys numbers. The band he's put around him also work wonders in bringing those classic sounds to life, while injecting the smallest hints of modern flair (mostly in the production values). "Forever My Surfer Girl" stands out early on, and the real beauty of the album is it's closing half, especially the more serious "Midnight's Another Day", perhaps the most personal song of the bunch as Brian reflects on the long and sometimes lonely journey he's taken from superstar to forgotten relic and back into a relevant and monumental musical entity.
For those summer afternoons, for those dreary winter months, and especially for this very moment, when winter turns to spring and all our minds are on warmer days and social events galore, That Lucky Old Sun is a soundtrack to the beauty and the splendor of summer fun that only someone like Brian Wilson can do justice to. Hell, he made this music what it is, and if you've ever enjoyed one of his songs, you owe it to yourself to fall for several more of them this time around.
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