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2012: 15 of the Best. #3 …

December 19, 2012

3. The Beach Boys – Isn’t it Time

From: That’s Why God Made the Radio
Released: June 5, 2012
Label: Capitol
Buy it: Here

Yes, it’s a bit of a drag to look at the Beach Boys on December 19, 2012 and think “Mike Love’s an asshole,” then look back on what should’ve been a pretty good year for the band with all the same old pettiness that’s surrounded their name for I don’t even know how long now. The critical response to That’s Why God Made the Radio this summer was probably the most backhanded compliment to a band in a while (or, at least since Beady Eye’s debut), with it basically amounting to “Hey, wow! It doesn’t totally suck!” Some kind of perverse interest is going to make you want to listen to a group of 70-year-olds trying either to be fresh and original or trade in on the assets that made them popular when they were in their 20s, and with Brian Wilson more recently relying on covering Gershwin or Disney tunes, I don’t think expectations were going to be more than ankle-high. But honestly, the best thing I can say about the album (in a totally non-backhanded complimentary way) is that “Isn’t it Time” blew me away. Talking about Pet Sounds is old hat now. Same with SMiLE. Beach Boys fans like to puff out their chests and display their cred by trading titles of deep cuts off the likes of Summer Days (and Summer Nights!!), Friends, 20/20 and Sunflower. If “Isn’t it Time” had been on any of those albums, it’d be one of the songs those fans would enthuse about, and the fact that it’s on an album that’s probably going to be considered a novelty more than a proper record shouldn’t diminish the fact that for at least these 3 minutes and 51 seconds, the Beach Boys recaptured it. Almost too easily.

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