The Beach Boys - That's Why God Made The Radio That’s Why God Made the Radio… and He only knows where we’d be without it

Review: The Beach Boys – That’s Why God Made the Radio

Published on June 18th, 2012 | Jonny Abrams

Okay, here we go: it’s The Beach Boys’ 29th studio album, recorded to mark the band’s 50th anniversary, the first to feature original material since 1992’s Summer in Paradise in 1992, the first to feature guitarist and backing vocalist David Marks since 1963’s Little Deuce Coupe…and the first since Carl Wilson’s death in 1998. It almost seems churlish to ask if it’s any good or not, but that’s what these review thingies are all about so best get cracking, then.

Opener “Think About the Days” gets things underway in a manner that must surely be a reference to its SMiLE counterpart “Our Prayer”, and by the end of the first chorus of the ensuing title track you might find yourself thinking, “Well exchange pleasantries with my old boots – they’ve only gone and done it!” This is because “That’s Why God Made the Radio” is absolutely wonderful, and could very conceivably have been one of their revered classics of yore.

Lines such as “Capturing memories from afar / In my car” could have been laughably naff but their voices are holding up pretty well, the harmonies are distinctly them (bar the sad absences of Carl and Dennis) and it reminds of the first half of their Today! LP in how a fairly straightforward verse is guided as mere, unsuspecting foil into a convoluted, constantly folding in on itself, wonderfully triumphant and loved-up chorus that will stay with you for the rest of your life. They sing it themselves: “rock and roll, the soundtrack to falling in love”.

Oh, and extra brownie points for rhyming “when I” with “antennae”.

“Isn’t it Time” – no, not “It’s About Time”, “Isn’t It Time” – keeps the roll going with a joyous “dum dee dooby dooby dum” barbershop-baritone and an unexpectedly jagged, ukulele-and-syncopated-handclap-propelled rhythm. The falsetto titular refrain in the chorus is such a treat, the kind of thing you could snack on all day, the kind of ingenious hook that elevates a good song into the realms of greatness. So far this album really is better than we might have had any right to expect, the scene so perfectly set by lines like “and as the sun goes down, we raise a glass…to all the good times we shared”.

Unfortunately, the momentum is pricked by “Spring Vacation”, which incidentally rhymes its title with “good vibration” in its chorus. With tin hat donned, this feels more like the kind of AM radio thing we’d feared might emerge from all of this. It’s still pretty good – you’ve got to love the descending arpeggio vocal line in the build-up to each chorus, for example – but it’s altogether more disposable than the three preceding tracks. (“Summer weather, we’re back together”: a crafty self-reference?)

“The Private Life of Bill and Sue” is a fantastic title for a song, albeit there might actually be a Bill and Sue – perhaps a couple of well-known television presenters in America (“we see them on the TV screen”) – that we don’t know about. Can any of our stateside readers elucidate as to whether or not this this another “Johnny Carson”? Anyway, this is light-hearted and fun, but nothing special. It would be fairly amusing if Bill and Sue were just two names plucked out of the ether, though.

“Shelter” sounds a bit like it could have featured on 20/20 with its straight-lacedness and ornate harpsichord decoration, but the lack of any real adventurousness since “Isn’t it Time” has by now brought this album to a bit of a standstill. There’s some interestingly sticky-sounding percussion on Mike Love’s “Daybreak Over the Ocean” but it wouldn’t have made the cut for any of The Beach Boys’ great albums of yore – yes it is grossly unfair to hold up their former glories as a yardstick, but the pervading ‘adult contemporary’-ness just feels like a shame after such a strong start to the record.

After the pleasant-enough singalong “Beaches in Mind”, “Strange World” attempts to redress the balance with wistful piano and crashing timpani interjections, but it still doesn’t really bear those old Beach Boys hallmarks in the way that the final three tracks do.

“From There to Back Again” keeps things entrenched in fond nostalgia, and why not? Its grand canyonesqueness (hello, OED?) comes close to capturing that old magic, even reminding of some of Surf’s Up’s gentler numbers with its soul-soothing “aaaaahhhhh”s and string-soaked little melodic flourishes. Stepping up into a ba-ba-ba-and-Al-Jardine-whistle-topped jaunt, “From There to Back Again” sparks a late comeback that almost threatens to result in a glorious pitch invasion.

“Pacific Coast Highway” begins with a capella ooooohs, turns into a sophisticated piano thing and plays host to such lyrical introspection as “sometimes I realise my days are getting on”, “sunlight’s fading” and “I’m better off alone”. As all truly great Beach Boys songs should, “Pacific Coast Highway” throws an unexpected chord change at you like Super Mario firing a red shell backwards out of his kart, and it all clocks in at under two minutes. Splendid stuff.

Finally the lush, weary “Summer’s Gone” – quite “Surf’s Up”-like in its titular sentiment, wouldn’t you say? – offers up ruminations like “Old friends have gone” and “Our dreams hold on for those who still have more to say”, lets a gorgeous oboe fly solo, and all in all provides an apt and moving cap on an album that sporadically lives up to the legacy of a true musical phenomenon.

Or more precisely: the first three tracks and last three tracks are ace.

Rocksucker says: Three and a Half Quails out of Five!

a quaila quaila quailhalf a quail

The Beach Boys - That's Why God Made The Radio

That’s Why God Made the Radio… and He only knows where we’d be without it

That’s Why God Made the Radio is out now on Capitol. For more information, please visit thebeachboys.com

Artists:

About the Author

Editor of Rocksucker and the website's founder, Jonny is passionate about the music he listens to, both good and bad, as well as interviewing his favourite musicians.


67 Responses to Review: The Beach Boys – That’s Why God Made the Radio

  1. Sources say that in the following months, the site will broaden to different cities equivalent to Boston, Baltimore, Washington, D. At the same time, do not be overly modest or come across as stupid bulgarische slubice my Dad orders lots of packages and stuff but now I don’t mind going to the door to get a glimpse of him.

  2. I simply want to say I’m beginner to blogging and honestly enjoyed this page. Probably I’m planning to bookmark your blog post . You really have remarkable posts. Thanks for sharing your webpage.

  3. I was very happy to find this web-site.I wished to thanks to your time for this excellent learn!! I definitely having fun with each little little bit of it and I’ve you bookmarked to take a look at new stuff you weblog post.

  4. W88.com says:

    I am just commenting to make you understand what a excellent experience my cousin’s princess enjoyed viewing your webblog. She even learned many pieces, most notably what it’s like to possess an excellent giving character to have other individuals really easily gain knowledge of a number of advanced subject matter. You truly surpassed our own desires. Thank you for providing those helpful, trusted, revealing and in addition fun thoughts on that topic to Emily.

  5. I’ll immediately grab your rss as I can not in finding your email subscription link or newsletter service. Do you have any? Kindly permit me recognise so that I may subscribe. Thanks.

  6. Its like you read my mind! You appear to know a lot about this, like you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you could do with some pics to drive the message home a bit, but instead of that, this is wonderful blog. An excellent read. I’ll certainly be back.

  7. Pretty section of content. I just stumbled upon your website and in accession capital to assert that I acquire in fact enjoyed account your blog posts. Anyway I will be subscribing to your augment and even I achievement you access consistently quickly.

  8. I am sure this piece of writing has touched all the internet visitors, its really
    really pleasant paragraph on building up new web site.

  9. Excellent blog here! Also your web site loads up very fast! What web host are you using? Can I get your affiliate link to your host? I wish my web site loaded up as quickly as yours lol

  10. I’m usually to running a blog and i actually appreciate your content. The article has really peaks my interest. I am going to bookmark your website and keep checking for new information.

  11. 259120 788946Gnarly post mate, keep the excellent function, just shared this with ma friendz 235972

  12. sishair says:

    I have been reading out a few of your articles and it’s pretty good stuff. I will definitely bookmark your website.

  13. Wow! Thank you! I continually wanted to write on my site something like that. Can I implement a fragment of your post to my site?

  14. Hello, you used to write fantastic, but the last few posts have been kinda boring… I miss your super writings. Past few posts are just a little bit out of track! come on!

  15. nsfw says:

    I do not even understand how I finished up here, however I thought this submit was once good. I don’t realize who you might be but definitely you are going to a famous blogger should you aren’t already ;) Cheers!

  16. Howdy! I know this is kind of off topic but I was wondering which blog platform are you using for this website? I’m getting fed up of WordPress because I’ve had problems with hackers and I’m looking at options for another platform. I would be awesome if you could point me in the direction of a good platform.

  17. giving app says:

    whoah this blog is great i love reading your posts. Keep up the good work! You know, many people are searching around for this information, you could aid them greatly.

  18. bartenders says:

    I am often to running a blog and i really recognize your content. The article has actually peaks my interest. I’m going to bookmark your web site and maintain checking for new information.

  19. I want to convey my appreciation for your kind-heartedness supporting men and women who need assistance with this important question. Your real dedication to getting the message all through had become definitely powerful and has always encouraged somebody much like me to realize their aims. Your own helpful tutorial can mean this much to me and much more to my office workers. With thanks; from each one of us.

  20. the beast tv says:

    I like the valuable information you provide in your articles. I will bookmark your blog and check again here frequently. I’m quite sure I will learn many new stuff right here! Best of luck for the next!

  21. Awsome website! I am loving it!! Will be back later to read some more. I am taking your feeds also

  22. break says:

    Heya i’m for the first time here. I found this board and I find It truly useful & it helped me out much. I hope to give something back and help others like you aided me.

  23. hi!,I like your writing so a lot! percentage we keep in touch more approximately your article on AOL? I need a specialist in this space to solve my problem. Maybe that’s you! Having a look ahead to see you.

  24. Heya i am for the first time here. I found this board and I find It truly useful & it helped me out much. I hope to give something back and aid others like you helped me.

  25. Hi! Do you use Twitter? I’d like to follow you if that would be ok. I’m undoubtedly enjoying your blog and look forward to new updates.

  26. I really like your blog.. very nice colors & theme. Did you create this website yourself or did you hire someone to do it for you? Plz reply as I’m looking to design my own blog and would like to find out where u got this from. thanks a lot

  27. It¡¦s actually a great and helpful piece of info. I¡¦m satisfied that you just shared this helpful info with us. Please keep us informed like this. Thank you for sharing.

  28. online poker says:

    I’m not that much of a internet reader to be honest but your blogs really nice, keep it up! I’ll go ahead and bookmark your website to come back later. All the best

  29. Of course, what a magnificent website and illuminating posts, I surely will bookmark your website.Best Regards!

  30. The subsequent time I learn a blog, I hope that it doesnt disappoint me as much as this one. I mean, I do know it was my option to read, however I actually thought youd have one thing interesting to say. All I hear is a bunch of whining about one thing that you can repair if you werent too busy on the lookout for attention.

  31. Seo agency says:

    Magnificent website. Lots of helpful info here. I¡¦m sending it to several friends ans additionally sharing in delicious. And of course, thank you on your sweat!

  32. poker online says:

    What i do not understood is actually how you are not really much more well-liked than you might be right now. You’re very intelligent. You realize thus significantly relating to this subject, produced me personally consider it from numerous varied angles. Its like men and women aren’t fascinated unless it’s one thing to do with Lady gaga! Your own stuffs great. Always maintain it up!

  33. Hello. Great job. I did not anticipate this. This is a great story. Thanks!

  34. Wow! This could be one particular of the most beneficial blogs We have ever arrive across on this subject. Actually Great. I am also an expert in this topic so I can understand your effort.

  35. Hello! I just wanted to ask if you ever have any trouble with hackers? My last blog (wordpress) was hacked and I ended up losing many months of hard work due to no back up. Do you have any methods to stop hackers?

  36. poker says:

    I think this is among the most significant info for me. And i am glad reading your article. But should remark on some general things, The web site style is great, the articles is really excellent : D. Good job, cheers

  37. I’m still learning from you, as I’m making my way to the top as well. I certainly enjoy reading all that is posted on your site.Keep the aarticles coming. I loved it!

  38. Some truly select posts on this internet site , saved to bookmarks .

  39. hubnutí says:

    I was curious if you ever considered changing the structure of your blog? Its very well written; I love what youve got to say. But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people could connect with it better. Youve got an awful lot of text for only having 1 or 2 pictures. Maybe you could space it out better?

  40. Hello there, just became alert to your blog through Google, and found that it’s really informative. I am gonna watch out for brussels. I’ll appreciate if you continue this in future. A lot of people will be benefited from your writing. Cheers!

  41. Whats up! I just want to give an enormous thumbs up for the nice information you have got right here on this post. I will probably be coming back to your weblog for more soon.

  42. lån says:

    I am extremely impressed with your writing skills as well as with the layout on your blog. Is this a paid theme or did you modify it yourself? Anyway keep up the nice quality writing, it’s rare to see a great blog like this one today..

  43. Hi there! I just want to give a huge thumbs up for the nice data you will have here on this post. I will probably be coming again to your weblog for more soon.

  44. I do agree with all of the ideas you have presented in your post. They are really convincing and will certainly work. Still, the posts are very short for newbies. Could you please extend them a little from next time? Thanks for the post.

  45. It’s a shame you don’t have a donate button! I’d definitely donate to this fantastic blog! I guess for now i’ll settle for book-marking and adding your RSS feed to my Google account. I look forward to brand new updates and will share this blog with my Facebook group. Talk soon!

  46. Wonderful goods from you, man. I have understand your stuff previous to and you are just extremely fantastic. I actually like what you have acquired here, certainly like what you are stating and the way in which you say it. You make it enjoyable and you still care for to keep it smart. I can’t wait to read much more from you. This is really a wonderful website.

  47. Hiya! I know this is kinda off topic but I’d figured I’d ask. Would you be interested in exchanging links or maybe guest authoring a blog post or vice-versa? My website covers a lot of the same subjects as yours and I feel we could greatly benefit from each other. If you’re interested feel free to send me an email. I look forward to hearing from you! Fantastic blog by the way!

  48. very nice publish, i definitely love this website, keep on it

  49. Hey There. I found your blog using msn. This is a very well written article. I will be sure to bookmark it and return to read more of your useful info. Thanks for the post. I’ll certainly comeback.

  50. LOL SMMNET says:

    I like this weblog very much, Its a real nice situation to read and receive information. “What is called genius is the abundance of life and health.” by Henry David Thoreau.

  51. Great awesome things here. I am very happy to see your article. Thanks a lot and i am looking forward to contact you. Will you please drop me a e-mail?

  52. Do you mind if I quote a few of your articles as long as I provide credit and sources back to your blog? My blog is in the exact same niche as yours and my visitors would really benefit from some of the information you provide here. Please let me know if this ok with you. Appreciate it!

  53. Write more, thats all I have to say. Literally, it seems as though you relied on the video to make your point. You definitely know what youre talking about, why waste your intelligence on just posting videos to your site when you could be giving us something informative to read?

  54. W88 says:

    I loved as much as you will receive carried out right here. The sketch is tasteful, your authored subject matter stylish. nonetheless, you command get got an nervousness over that you wish be delivering the following. unwell unquestionably come further formerly again since exactly the same nearly very often inside case you shield this hike.

  55. Hello.This article was really motivating, particularly since I was looking for thoughts on this subject last week.

  56. I’ve read some good stuff here. Certainly worth bookmarking for revisiting. I wonder how much effort you put to create such a excellent informative web site.

  57. Useful information. Fortunate me I discovered your website accidentally, and I am shocked why this accident did not happened earlier! I bookmarked it.

  58. I’m really enjoying the design and layout of your site. It’s a very easy on the eyes which makes it much more pleasant for me to come here and visit more often. Did you hire out a developer to create your theme? Excellent work!

  59. Digital Marketing Manager Wien

  60. I am constantly invstigating online for ideas that can benefit me. Thanks!

  61. We are a gaggle of volunteers and starting a brand new scheme in our community. Your website offered us with useful information to paintings on. You’ve performed an impressive activity and our whole community might be grateful to you.

  62. Aletha Lish says:

    It’s actually a cool and useful piece of information. I am happy that you just shared this helpful information with us. Please keep us up to date like this. Thank you for sharing.

  63. Great work! That is the kind of information that should be shared around the internet. Disgrace on Google for not positioning this submit upper! Come on over and talk over with my web site . Thank you =)

  64. deepl says:

    Some truly nice and utilitarian information on this web site, too I think the pattern has wonderful features.

  65. Excellent goods from you, man. I have understand your stuff previous to and you’re just too excellent. I really like what you’ve acquired here, certainly like what you’re saying and the way in which you say it. You make it entertaining and you still take care of to keep it smart. I cant wait to read much more from you. This is really a terrific site.

  66. You really make it appear so easy with your presentation however I in finding this topic to be really one thing that I think I’d never understand. It sort of feels too complex and very extensive for me. I’m looking ahead to your subsequent submit, I will attempt to get the hang of it!

  67. of course like your website but you need to check the spelling on several of your posts. A number of them are rife with spelling problems and I in finding it very bothersome to tell the reality nevertheless I will definitely come again again.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *