I love the Beach Boys completely un-ironically.
I dig Brian Wilson’s early "Surfin’" vibe and love when they sailed off the beach to find their Pet Sounds and eventually Smiled 37 years too late.
I once won a karaoke contest singing "Surfin' Safari."
The Boys are in some sort of tantric doo-wop battle with The Doors for the meaningless title of Greatest American Rock Band in My Head (unless the Beastie Boys keep putting out albums (another good future topic)).
The Beach Boys may also be America’s most misunderstood rock band – from the 1983 4th of July event when the band was banned from playing at the White House because of the "hooliganism" they might attract, to all the saccharine songs about holding hands with your best girl Barbara Ann that your parents recall – the bulk of the band's catalog lies somewhere in-between.
But the Beach Boys do not exist anymore.
And having just watched a video of their performance at the Grammy's, it looks like this band does not exist in any of their minds either. Remaining members Brian Wilson, Mike Love, Al Jardine and whoever they're dragging around with them (uncle Jessie!?) sound unenthusiastic and out-of-sync. The notoriously poor tourer Wilson looked even more depressed than usual to be performing live.
I'm not one to say that a band shouldn't keep touring and making music for monumental lengths of time as long as the stuff is relevant (Red Hot Chili Peppers) and/or they can at least function on a stage (Rolling Stones).
But this half-hearted reunion/ Smile re-re-release/ free surfing lesson does not excite me when it absolutely should (were it genuine).
Mike Love and Al Jardine have toured as “The Beach Boys” for years, without necessarily copping to the fact that the guy who started it all, wrote most of the music and said they weren’t good enough to perform it – Brian Wilson – was also touring separately, performing new music that should more aptly be granted that label.
We've seen Roger Waters and David Gilmour's Pink Floyd caught in this same passive-aggressive battle for years. Yet if they were to jam, I would be down (I've heard Waters' show is still incredible).
But Dennis Wilson was the only Beach Boy who surfed
And this time the falsetto will ring false.
Above: The old "Surfin' Safari" days
Below: A link to the Beach Boys' original music video for Pet Sounds' "Wouldn't it be Nice" -- one of our greatest American songs.