by Brian Wilson



As his second official solo album, Imagination is a stronger record than its predecessor. Brian Wilson is singing better and his writing is more assured, filled with gorgeous arrangements that others may replicate but never quite match. That doesn't quite erase the suspicion that it could have been better, however. Sessions with the respected power pop producer Andy Paley were hailed as Wilson's best material in years, though the collaboration didn't happen. Wilson, allegedly on the advice of his wife, decided to work with Joe Thomas, a former wrestler determined to make inroads in the music business. Thomas steered Wilson toward a slick, overly produced sound straight out of the late '80s, filled with sterile surfaces and synthesizers that hide the genuine musical attributes of the album. Listen closely and it's possible to hear a handful of songs that are startlingly beautiful. Wilson's writing may not be as magical as his '60s peak, but there are moments that soar, from the lovely "Cry" to the sunny choruses of "South America" to the affecting "Lay Down Burden" to the layered, avant- pop "Happy Days." Songs such as these, however, accentuate the weaknesses of other parts of the album -- namely the lyrics. Such lyricists as Jimmy Buffet, Carole Bayer Sager, and J.D. Souther collaborated with Wilson on these songs, contributing surpassingly banal words, perhaps in an attempt to capture the sweet naïveté of classic Beach Boys songs. They didn't need to try so hard -- Wilson can come close enough on his own. All he needs is collaborators that realize that and not force him into areas, whether it's musical or lyrical, that he needn't tread. The best parts of Imagination prove that he can spin enough magic on his own terms.

Product Details

Release Date: 06/16/1998
Label: Giant Records / Wea
UPC: 0075992470322
catalogNumber: 24703

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Brian Wilson   Primary Artist,Organ,Piano,Drums,Keyboards,Hammond Organ,Vocals,Background Vocals
Jimmy Buffett   Background Vocals
Eddie Bayers   Drums
Scott Bennett   Guitar,Electric Guitar
Richie Cannata   Saxophone
Larry Franklin   Violin,Viola
Jonathan Larson   Trumpet
Greg Leisz   Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar
Bob Lizik   Bass
Michael Rhodes   Bass
Brent Rowan   Acoustic Guitar,Mandolin,Electric Guitar,Sitar
Chuck Soumar   Trumpet,Piccolo Trumpet
Todd Sucherman   Drums
Michael Thodes   Bass
Paul Mertens   Clarinet,Fiddle,Flute,Percussion,Bass Clarinet,Saxophone,Alto Saxophone,Baritone Saxophone
Jason "Jay" Trtan   Bass,Horn,French Horn
Joe Thomas   Percussion,Piano,Accordion,Keyboards,Hammond Organ,Timpani,Vibes
Tom Sucherman   Drums
Jackie Bertone   Percussion
Tom Chaffee   Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar
John Larson   Trumpet
James Peterik   Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar

Technical Credits

Brian Wilson   Arranger,Producer,Vocal Arrangements
Irving Azoff   Contributor
Frank Pappalardo   Engineer
Rick Fritz   Engineer
Joe Thomas   Producer
John Lowson   Engineer
Jason "Jay" Trtan   Engineer
Mike Lavin   Engineer
Ross Ritto   Engineer
Joe Thomas   Arranger,Programming,Producer
James Peterik   Composer

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews