Sunflower/Surf's Up

Sunflower/Surf's Up

4.8 6
by The Beach Boys
     
 
Although Sunflower contains at least one certifiable Brian Wilson classic -- "This Whole World," beautifully sung by his kid brother Carl -- the album is a true group effort that showcases the other Beach Boys' talents. Particularly notable is drummer Dennis Wilson's emergence as a confidently soulful songwriter and vocalist on such memorable tunes as "Slip on

Overview

Although Sunflower contains at least one certifiable Brian Wilson classic -- "This Whole World," beautifully sung by his kid brother Carl -- the album is a true group effort that showcases the other Beach Boys' talents. Particularly notable is drummer Dennis Wilson's emergence as a confidently soulful songwriter and vocalist on such memorable tunes as "Slip on Through," "Got to Know the Woman," and the heart-tugging "Forever." The Brian-penned "Add Some Music to Your Day," on which Brian trades lead vocals with Carl, Mike Love, Al Jardine, and Bruce Johnston, exemplifies Sunflower's general air of optimism. That sense of positivity largely dissolves into angst on Surf's Up, which finds the group in a surprisingly pensive mood. Though Carl Wilson contributes a pair of strong songs, "Long Promised Road" and "Feel Flows," the album's real selling point is its concluding trilogy of Brian compositions: the oddly affecting "A Day in the Life of a Tree," sung by the band's then-manager Jack Rieley; the heartbreaking " 'Til I Die," an accurate reflection on the precariousness of Brian's frame of mind during this troubled period; and the title track, originally intended as the centerpiece of the band's legendary unreleased 1967 masterpiece Smile. The latter track, which features breathtaking lead vocals by Brian and Carl and hauntingly abstract lyrics by cult icon Van Dyke Parks, is one of the most ambitious undertakings in the band's catalogue and still stands as a tantalizing glimpse of what might have been.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - John Bush
After anthologizing the Beach Boys' creative peak with several reissues during the '90s, Capitol turned its attention to the '70s recordings by acquiring the rights to the group's LPs for Warner/Reprise. The first fruits of this campaign arrived (after several long delays) in mid-2000, comprising a single disc with 1970's Sunflower and the following year's Surf's Up. It's a perfect place to begin, too, considering they were certainly the Beach Boys' best albums of the '70s. Sunflower especially is a beautiful work, stocked with excellent harmonies and the best songs the group had written since Pet Sounds; British critics and fans even deemed it a worthy successor. And for listeners more interested in the aborted Smile than Pet Sounds, Surf's Up is an eccentric work that displays the group's increasingly fractured genius. Even aside from the music, pairing Sunflower and Surf's Up provides a fascinating glimpse of a band in search of its identity after several years of commercial shutouts and dwindling critical interest. On Sunflower, the Beach Boys merged their fondness for sun and sand with a growing sense of their own maturity; the cover photo even features the group lounging in a park, playing with their children. Less than a year later, however, that hope for the future is not just replaced but completely obliterated for Surf's Up, as social/environmental paranoia and fatalistic resignation compete for attention on a set of skewed pop songs. These radically different struggles for attention during the early '70s -- whether to reprise the surf-and-sun sound or become a quintessentially '70s "aware" band, whether to ascend the mountain of Brian Wilson's heavenly production sense or surrender to his growing melancholia -- make for two dozen compelling tracks. It surely wouldn't have been quite as compelling if the music hadn't been able to match -- at least to a degree -- the fascinating midlife crisis going on in America's pop band.

Product Details

Release Date:
07/18/2000
Label:
Imports
UPC:
0724352569229
catalogNumber:
5003085
Rank:
10925

Related Subjects

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Beach Boys   Primary Artist
Brian Wilson   Guitar,Percussion,Keyboards,Vocals
Mike Love   Saxophone,Vocals
Carl Wilson   Guitar,Keyboards,Vocals
Jardine   Guitar,Vocals
Bruce Johnstone   Vocals
Dennis Wilson   Drums,Vocals
Jack Rieley   Vocals

Technical Credits

Beach Boys   Producer,Audio Production
Brian Wilson   Composer
Mike Love   Composer
Ricci Martin   Cover Photo
Carl Wilson   Composer
Paul Atkinson   Reissue Producer
Stephen W. Desper   Engineer
Jardine   Composer
Cheryl Pawelski   Reissue Producer
Andrew Sandoval   Tape Research
Dennis Wilson   Composer
Ed Thrasher   Art Direction
David Larkham   Original Design Concept
Bryan Kelley   Producer
Michael Ross   Original Design Concept
Timothy White   Liner Notes
Joe Knott   Composer
Gary Winfrey   Composer

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

Sunflower/Surf's Up 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
For a good few years the only Beach Boys album in my collection was Pet Sounds, which is, for most people, the only Beach Boys album that appears to be any good cos it's usually the only one by them that's ever mentioned. So imagine my surprise when i discover that the absolutely gorgeous song playing over the end credits of Cameron Crowe's Almost Famous was a Beach Boys tune! Eager to own a copy of this song, my search led me to this single cd featuring Sunflower and Surf's Up, the latter featuring Feel Flows, the song I was looking for. It was summer the first time I listened to it, and it was a gorgeous day the first time i heard such stunning songs like 'This Whole World', 'Deirdre', 'Long Promised Road' and 'Surf's Up', and they just captured my heart completely. Sunflower is a wonderful, wonderful album and the best overall band effort, while Surf's Up is less consistent, yet host to some of the Beach Boys most extraordinary songs. In fact, while half of Surf's Up is merely okay, half of it is absolutely mindblowing. 'Disney Girls' has a melody and harmonies that are unbelievably beautiful, i don't think I've ever heard a song that captures the bittersweetness of nostalgia better than this. The afore-mentioned 'Feel Flows' is one of the most spiritual things the band ever created, it's transcendent and very lovely. 'Long Promised Road' boasts a middle-eight that utterly hypnotic. 'Til I Die' is really, really beautiful, very sad and very direct. 'Surf's Up' is one of the greatest Beach Boys songs ever. Just listen to it, it's one of the greatest album closers in history. Sunflower's highlights include the absolutely jackpot 'This Whole World', which is just so thrillingly upbeat and melodic it'll brighten up anyone's day, the summery breeze of 'Deirdre', the brilliant 'Cool, Cool Water', and 'All I Wanna Do', which is one of the most romantic songs ever written, and boasts a dreamy, hazy atmosphere that's very intoxicating. After listening to this gorgeous pair of albums, i moved onto to other Beach Boys albums like Wild Honey, Friends, 20-20 and Holland that prove that the band are a lot more than just Pet Sounds. They are simply one of the greatest bands of all time, and these two albums in particular prove that Brian Wilson wasn't the only gifted member in the group.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This double album CD is the best of all the Beach Boys' double album releases. The first album, Sunflower, is one of the four best Beach Boys albums. All of the 12 cuts on Sunflower are great, especially ''Add Some Music,'' ''It's About Time,'' ''All I Wanna Do,'' ''Forever,'' and ''Our Sweet Love,'' and the album concludes with a masterpiece, ''Cool, Cool Water.'' And ''Dierdre'' is pure enchantment. 5 stars out of 5. Surf's Up is not quite as consistent, thanks to ''Student Demonstration Time,'' and there are some odd cuts, such as ''A Day in the Life of a Tree'' and the ultra-fun ''Take a Load Off Your Feet,'' but it has brilliance in ''Feel Flows,'' ''Till I Die,'' and the masterpiece title track that concludes the album. ''Disney Girls (1957),'' ''Lookin' at Tomorrow,'' and ''Long Promised Road'' are also fine cuts. 4 stars out of 5.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I'm not really much of a fan of "Sunflower", but "Surf's Up", is definately one of if not my favorite Beach Boys album of all time. Most of the songs on it are very gentle-sounding and somewhat mysterious. The album's cover is an amazing work of art. I can always get enjoyment out of songs like "Long Promised Road" and "Til I Die". The one song on here that always brings a tear to my eye is "Disney Girls". And, of course, there is always the title track, which is the main gem on this album. The album was released in the 70's, which was not their most popular decade, but strangely, it's one of my all-time favorites.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Surfs Up, rereleased as part of a double set here, may surprise some fans. This record is sure to gain new exposure with Cameron Crowe prominently featuring FEEL FLOWS over the ending credits of his latest film, ALMOST FAMOUS. Like the Beatles Abbey Road, this collection features a creative group at the peak of their powers, yet struggling with disparate ambitions that tug them in different directions. Different members of the band display their respective talents over a set that shows the band taking great advantage of new technology in recording and in instruments, making heavy use of synthesizers. True to their roots, the harmonies are flawless and hypnotic and lyrical themes evoke water and nature without being cloying or unctious. This is a mature work that never hit commercially, as people who were still interested in the Beach Boys at the time of its original release were still looking for the old surf music and retread hits. CD Format will actually make the collection more listenable, allowing fans to screen out 1 or 2 clunkers without having to get off the couch. A must for any serious collection.
Guest More than 1 year ago
''Surfs Up'' will spin and spin on your machine. It will pop into your day. Infectious. ''Disney Girls'', floats on main street and sweeps away today to yesterday, if you can remeber this will make sure you will not forget. ''Surfs Up'', ''The laughs come hard in Auld Ange Syn'', you will never forget this line. A showcase of what could have been for the Beach Boys, things never fully realized. Even ''Student Denmonstration Time'' a print of a moment. ''Till I Die'' the recognition that we are who we are and always the wave. Listen.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago