The recently rebooted ? pop legends’ most engaged, least cripplingly nostalgic album since 1977’s Love You finds Brian Wilson and various surrogates pondering celebrity (”The Private Life of Bill and ? Sue”) and the healing power of harmony, as both musical succor and balm for universal brotherhood. That’s Why God Made the Radio also has the most songs about the beach since 1963’s Surfer Girl; one hazy standout reaches the shocking-to-Brian conclusion that Santa Monica Beach might be part of a ”Strange World.” When he takes over on lead vocals, Mike Love sings Wilson’s sometimes bleak sentiments sunnily — which makes them ? all the more unsettling. B+
BACK TO THE BEACH From cult of celebrity to power of harmony, Wilson and the gang explore a range of topics while abandoning nostalgic tunes for tracks about the beach (Daniel Gluskoter/Retna Ltd.)
Genre: Pop; Music Label: Capitol
Posted January 17 2015 — 5:04 PM EST
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