Ever since The Smile Sessions was released last year, I've had more of an interest in The Beach Boys. They seemed to be making a comeback of sorts, with Brian Wilson coming back, a new tour in the works, and a new album in the form of That's Why God Made The Radio, their first of original music since 1992. The album starts off very promising, with a short piano/harmony piece that is pretty beautiful. And, unfortunately but unsurprisingly, the rest of the album falls pretty flat. Lame, cheesy pop songs by aging guys who still want to go surfing. The songs are all pretty much forgettable, until the last track, Summer's Gone. I've read that Brian Wilson expected this song to be the last track on the last Beach Boys album (which might end up being the case), and it sounds like a song that would fit that expectation. A beautiful, somber track about summer ending, and all the fun times going away. It sort-of makes sense, ending this particular album.
This album is weird. It's a poor collection of lame songs book ended by some nice pieces, released by a band that's aging quickly. But, the one thing that this album proves to me is the fact that, while they might not be able to write anymore, these guys can still play. They sound pretty much like they did back in the 60s and 70s, despite everyone getting old and Brian Wilson going nutso. I'm seeing these guys in concert in a few weeks, and from what I hear, they barely play anything from this new release. I'm completely fine with that.