Continuing a listing of the 10 most important albums in my life in no particular order. See the beginning of the series here.
Today’s album is the very first one I ever bought.
I was living in the suburbs of Richmond, VA in 79 or 80. I can’t remember if I had saved up my allowance or if I had gotten some money for a birthday or something. In any case, I was taken to a record store called Peaches and was allowed to pick what I wanted.
I don’t remember the decision process involved. I was too young to really know about albums other than the ones I already knew. I was also too young to really have favorite contemporary artists. My gut feeling is that I had been brought up listening to oldies in the car and I simply knew that I liked The Beach Boys.
Whatever the reason I lucked into a great LP. It’s only 34 minutes long but it is as good an example of American pop rock as you can find. As an 8 year old I was delighted and I still have a soft spot for it now. It isn’t just nostalgia either, I really think that it is as solid a pop recording as anything the Beatles ever did. The last three songs on the first side (Do it Again, Wake the World, Aren’t you Glad) in particular are gold. They were true pros at this point, probably the height of their appeal and talent. You can hear 15 years worth of singing about girls, cars, and surfing in Mike Love’s singing on Do it Again and it is glorious.
Yes, two of their worst hits (Barbara Ann and California Girls) are on here as well but they are bearable because of the strength of the rest of the album. There is a great horn section (!) and the harmonies are on point. I will always hold this up as the epitome of great pop rock and will always make me fell like I’m 8 again.
It’s a well rehearsed performance and super tight