The Beach Boys-Love You (1977)
Love You is not that great an album. By default, it usually ends up on the positive side on rankings of their 70s albums (and that’s mostly because it’s companion piece 15 Big Ones is REALLY bad.) It’s later era Beach Boys, and it came out right before the band imploded (again) and they (again) became totally irrelevant.
Here’s the thing with this album: it’s kinda weird how it even exists in the first place. In 1977, the music scene was focused on New York, where punk, soul and disco were the dominant brand. The Beach Boys were already considered oldies, and their particular brand of sunshine pop was looked at as bubblegum. Their previous 70s albums, while not terrible, weren’t particularly noteworthy. Anything they put out shouldn’t have even made a dent in popular culture at the time. Yet somehow, people paid attention to this album. “Johnny Carson” and “Love Is A Woman” became hits, and Brian Wilson went on to perform on Saturday Night Live the following year (signaling a major come back for him).
The majority of the songs were written by Brian Wilson, something that hadn’t been true since his breakdown ten years earlier with SMiLE. Many considered this his true comeback album and return to form. The song writing itself is not that strong, though it does have the signature Brian Wilson teenage naivety themes.
Listening to the album, I can see why people were excited about it, but I don’t see why anyone would give a damn thirty-something years later. It doesn’t age well at all. And maybe this is because I’ve followed Wilson’s career since then, and I’ve heard him do better music with his self-titled debut in 1988 and his completion of SMiLE in 2004, but its kind of annoying to hear Wilson rambling on like a child when you know he’s capable of better.
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