Brian Wilson Reviews

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Playback: The Brian Wilson Anthology

Review An anthology of solo recordings from the original Beach Boy, Brian Wilson, starting with his ‘comeback’ album on Sire, through to the current day & a new track ‘Run James Run’ which is unreleased & recorded specifically for this album. The record also features another unreleased track – ‘Some Sweet Day’ – from the sessions with Andy Paley. And the remainder comes from his various solo releases, the self-titled album on Sire, the ‘Smile’ release on Nonesuch, the duet ‘Soul Searchin’’ with his brother Carl from ‘Gettin’ In Over My Head’ right through to the most recent full length ‘No Pier Pressure’ on Capitol.
1967 - Sunshine Tomorrow [2 CD]

Review For No Pier Pressure, his 11th solo studio album, Brian Wilson has returned to Capitol Records, his original label home with The Beach Boys. Wilson reunited with longtime collaborator Joe Thomas, and was joined at Hollywood's Ocean Way Studios by talented musicians he personally invited to record with him, including his former Beach Boys bandmates Al Jardine, David Marks and Blondie Chaplin, as well as Kacey Musgraves, fun.'s Nate Ruess, She & Him's Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward, Peter Hollens, Capital Cities' Sebu Simonian, and trumpet master Mark Isham.
The album features The Right Time, Runaway Dancer and On The Island
Give More Love

Review ‘BRIAN WILSON AND FRIENDS’ was recorded live in Las Vegas for Chicago television's prestigious ‘Soundstage’ program, in December 2014. This “Soundstage” special aired on PBS in April 2015 and was offered as a pledge piece for PBS in DVD and Blu-ray configurations. This is the FIRST time an audio CD has been offered and bonus tracks have been added not included in the original PBS airing. The program features Brian Wilson's phenomenal touring band (including long-time Beach Boys sidemen Blondie Chaplin and Ricky Fataar) along with special guests Mark Isham, Kacey Musgraves, Nate Ruess (front man of Fun) and She & Him. The tremendous set list on the DVD and CD includes the Beach Boys classics’ ‘Good Vibrations,’ ‘Don't Worry Baby,’ ‘Wild Honey,’ ‘Wouldn’t It Be Nice’ and many more.
Sky Trails

Review 1-CD expanded edition of debut self titled album by Brian Wilson
The Singles (2CD/1Blu-Ray)

Review Brian Wilson's solo debut finally arrived in 1988 to much fanfare and near unanimous critical hosannas. Unfortunately, its commercial impact was negligible, a disappointing outcome for both Wilson, who takes pride in his string of '60s hits, and his boosters, for the 11-song self-titled record represents the zenith of the pop genius's post-Beach Boys oeuvre. "Love and Mercy" heralds Wilson's return to form; lyrically gracious and musically grand, it's an opener quite nearly on a par with "Wouldn't It Be Nice." From there, Wilson and an assortment of coproducers (Russ Titelman, Jeff Lynne, Andy Paley, and Lenny Waronker) intermix brisk, playful rockers ("Night Time," "Little Children") with sumptuous pop concoctions (the a cappella "One for the Boys," "There's So Many"), wrapping things up with an ambitious suite, "Rio Grande." The reissue is generously fleshed out with interview segments, demos, and late-'80s rarities, including the delightful B-side "He Couldn't Get His Poor Old Body to Move." --Steven Stolder
From The Vault: Sticky Fingers Live at The Fonda Theatre 2015 (Blu-ray/CD)

Review It's hard to believe 12 years have passed since 'Pet Projects: The Brian Wilson Productions', one of the first releases in our much-admired Producers series. Not before time, Wilson now joins such greats as Randy Newman, Laura Nyro, Goffin & King, Dan Penn, Bacharach & David, Jackie DeShannon and Serge Gainsbourg in our equally high profile Songwriters series. The collection opens with 'Do You Have Any Regrets?' by Darian Sahanaja of the Wondermints, a rare composition from Wilson's unissued 'Sweet Insanity' album of the early 90s. While Wilson's version was a rather frantic latin-styled piece, Sahanaja's recording is an homage to the 1965-era Beach Boys. Along with collectable tracks by Johnny Wells, Basil Swift, the Castells, Joey & the Continentals, Keith Green and Peggy March, Sahanaja's luxuriant cover makes its legit CD debut here.
Filet Of Soul Redux: The Rejected Master Recordings

Review Brian Wilson - The Second Wave - After The Surf

Although Brian Wilson had stopped touring with the Beach Boys as early as 1965, it was later in the decade that his contributions to the band's recordings and compositions became sporadic too. But by the early seventies, though Brian would retain his stance on live engagements, he would provide songs for every new record and by the time of the 1977 album The Beach Boys Love You he was composing virtually every track again. This 2 x DVD box set documents and investigates the period of Brian Wilson's career that began in the early 1970s, and which continues to this day. Featuring exclusive and classic interviews, many with Brian himself, plus contributions from those closest to him during this time as well as plenty of rare archive footage, seldom seen photographs and a host of other features, all together this set will delight Brian's millions of fans still flying the flag for the man who remains one of the world's finest song writers and producers.


Ultimate Hits [2 CD][Deluxe Edition]

Review One of the most mythic albums in rock-the one that pushed Wilson over the edge and sat unfinished in the vault for decades-returned in 2004 when Brian resurrected it , re-recorded it and earned his most rapturous raves in decades. The CD contains Heroes and Villains; Surf's Up; Mrs. O'Leary's Cow; Roll Plymouth Rock , and the rest of the captivating creations of Wilson and Van Dyke Parks. To watch a revelatory documentary about the history and ultimate triumph of SMiLE and see its complete performance in LA (plus an ocean of bonus features), go for the DVD!
Hitchhiker

Review The Greatest Album That Never Was finally is. The Beach Boys' uncompleted 1967 album Smile has remained the elusive touchstone of Brian Wilson's brilliant, star-crossed career for decades. Artistic Holy Grail and troubling professional Waterloo for Wilson, a tantalizing prism of unfulfilled promise to his loyal cadre of fans, its story has become pop music's Rashomon. Finally completed via spring 2004 recordings with his stellar, longtime touring band (none of the original '60s sessions were used, though they've been recreated here with often stunning authenticity), it's arguably as alien to contemporary pop as it might have seemed in its intended '67 context--even to ears freshly primed by the glories of Pet Sounds.

Collaborator Van Dyke Parks's impressionistic, often mischievous lyrics conjure a collage of arcane 19th-century Americana that's equal parts artful ellipse and aloof nostalgia. But wed to Wilson's innovative composition and recording techniques (echoing beat author William Burroughs's fabled cut 'n' paste methodology and exemplified by the modular "Good Vibrations"), the resulting semisuite confections challenge the boundaries of both song and album form, but with an insouciant charm that's as different from Pet Sounds as that landmark was from "I Get Around." Turns out those hypothetical comparisons to Sgt. Pepper's weren't so far off the mark. --Jerry McCulley

Smiling with Brian
Amazon.com Music Editor Peter Hilgendorf called Brian Wilson to congratulate him on the release of Smile, and to talk about the recording and some of the history behind this highly anticipated release. Listen now.

Catch Up with Brian Wilson and the Legend of Smile:
Here are a few lists to help unravel the stories and sounds of Smile.


Winwood Greatest Hits Live

Review Reissue of self titled debut album by Brian Wilson.
The Laughing Apple

Review In the mid-1960s, the Beach Boys were super hot and Brian Wilson's genius couldn't be contained by his own group, so he produced other acts on the side. This 23 track CD contains his classic outside productions taken directly from the original masters, with many appearing for the first time on CD. Wilson wrote many of the songs here, and also makes appearances on backing vocals. Features Sharon Marie, Survivors, Gary Usher, Glen Campbell, Honeys, American Spring, Laughing Gravy, Rachel & The Revolvers, and Paul Peterson.
No Pier Pressure [Deluxe Edition]

Review An anthology of solo recordings from the original Beach Boy, Brian Wilson, starting with his ‘comeback’ album on Sire, through to the current day & a new track ‘Run James Run’ which is unreleased & recorded specifically for this album. The record also features another unreleased track – ‘Some Sweet Day’ – from the sessions with Andy Paley. And the remainder comes from his various solo releases, the self-titled album on Sire, the ‘Smile’ release on Nonesuch, the duet ‘Soul Searchin’’ with his brother Carl from ‘Gettin’ In Over My Head’ right through to the most recent full length ‘No Pier Pressure’ on Capitol.
Brian Wilson and Friends (CD/DVD)

Review For No Pier Pressure, his 11th solo studio album, Brian Wilson has returned to Capitol Records, his original label home with The Beach Boys. Wilson reunited with longtime collaborator Joe Thomas, and was joined at Hollywood's Ocean Way Studios by talented musicians he personally invited to record with him, including his former Beach Boys bandmates Al Jardine, David Marks and Blondie Chaplin, as well as Kacey Musgraves, fun.'s Nate Ruess, She & Him's Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward, Peter Hollens, Capital Cities' Sebu Simonian, and trumpet master Mark Isham.
The album features The Right Time, Runaway Dancer and On The Island
That's Why God Made The Radio

Review ‘BRIAN WILSON AND FRIENDS’ was recorded live in Las Vegas for Chicago television's prestigious ‘Soundstage’ program, in December 2014. This “Soundstage” special aired on PBS in April 2015 and was offered as a pledge piece for PBS in DVD and Blu-ray configurations. This is the FIRST time an audio CD has been offered and bonus tracks have been added not included in the original PBS airing. The program features Brian Wilson's phenomenal touring band (including long-time Beach Boys sidemen Blondie Chaplin and Ricky Fataar) along with special guests Mark Isham, Kacey Musgraves, Nate Ruess (front man of Fun) and She & Him. The tremendous set list on the DVD and CD includes the Beach Boys classics’ ‘Good Vibrations,’ ‘Don't Worry Baby,’ ‘Wild Honey,’ ‘Wouldn’t It Be Nice’ and many more.
Brian Wilson

Review 1-CD expanded edition of debut self titled album by Brian Wilson
Smile

Review Brian Wilson's solo debut finally arrived in 1988 to much fanfare and near unanimous critical hosannas. Unfortunately, its commercial impact was negligible, a disappointing outcome for both Wilson, who takes pride in his string of '60s hits, and his boosters, for the 11-song self-titled record represents the zenith of the pop genius's post-Beach Boys oeuvre. "Love and Mercy" heralds Wilson's return to form; lyrically gracious and musically grand, it's an opener quite nearly on a par with "Wouldn't It Be Nice." From there, Wilson and an assortment of coproducers (Russ Titelman, Jeff Lynne, Andy Paley, and Lenny Waronker) intermix brisk, playful rockers ("Night Time," "Little Children") with sumptuous pop concoctions (the a cappella "One for the Boys," "There's So Many"), wrapping things up with an ambitious suite, "Rio Grande." The reissue is generously fleshed out with interview segments, demos, and late-'80s rarities, including the delightful B-side "He Couldn't Get His Poor Old Body to Move." --Steven Stolder
The Smile Sessions [2 CD]

Review It's hard to believe 12 years have passed since 'Pet Projects: The Brian Wilson Productions', one of the first releases in our much-admired Producers series. Not before time, Wilson now joins such greats as Randy Newman, Laura Nyro, Goffin & King, Dan Penn, Bacharach & David, Jackie DeShannon and Serge Gainsbourg in our equally high profile Songwriters series. The collection opens with 'Do You Have Any Regrets?' by Darian Sahanaja of the Wondermints, a rare composition from Wilson's unissued 'Sweet Insanity' album of the early 90s. While Wilson's version was a rather frantic latin-styled piece, Sahanaja's recording is an homage to the 1965-era Beach Boys. Along with collectable tracks by Johnny Wells, Basil Swift, the Castells, Joey & the Continentals, Keith Green and Peggy March, Sahanaja's luxuriant cover makes its legit CD debut here.
Pet Sounds (Mono & Stereo Remasters)

Review Brian Wilson - The Second Wave - After The Surf

Although Brian Wilson had stopped touring with the Beach Boys as early as 1965, it was later in the decade that his contributions to the band's recordings and compositions became sporadic too. But by the early seventies, though Brian would retain his stance on live engagements, he would provide songs for every new record and by the time of the 1977 album The Beach Boys Love You he was composing virtually every track again. This 2 x DVD box set documents and investigates the period of Brian Wilson's career that began in the early 1970s, and which continues to this day. Featuring exclusive and classic interviews, many with Brian himself, plus contributions from those closest to him during this time as well as plenty of rare archive footage, seldom seen photographs and a host of other features, all together this set will delight Brian's millions of fans still flying the flag for the man who remains one of the world's finest song writers and producers.


Playback: The Brian Wilson Anthology

Review One of the most mythic albums in rock-the one that pushed Wilson over the edge and sat unfinished in the vault for decades-returned in 2004 when Brian resurrected it , re-recorded it and earned his most rapturous raves in decades. The CD contains Heroes and Villains; Surf's Up; Mrs. O'Leary's Cow; Roll Plymouth Rock , and the rest of the captivating creations of Wilson and Van Dyke Parks. To watch a revelatory documentary about the history and ultimate triumph of SMiLE and see its complete performance in LA (plus an ocean of bonus features), go for the DVD!
That Lucky Old Sun

Review The Greatest Album That Never Was finally is. The Beach Boys' uncompleted 1967 album Smile has remained the elusive touchstone of Brian Wilson's brilliant, star-crossed career for decades. Artistic Holy Grail and troubling professional Waterloo for Wilson, a tantalizing prism of unfulfilled promise to his loyal cadre of fans, its story has become pop music's Rashomon. Finally completed via spring 2004 recordings with his stellar, longtime touring band (none of the original '60s sessions were used, though they've been recreated here with often stunning authenticity), it's arguably as alien to contemporary pop as it might have seemed in its intended '67 context--even to ears freshly primed by the glories of Pet Sounds.

Collaborator Van Dyke Parks's impressionistic, often mischievous lyrics conjure a collage of arcane 19th-century Americana that's equal parts artful ellipse and aloof nostalgia. But wed to Wilson's innovative composition and recording techniques (echoing beat author William Burroughs's fabled cut 'n' paste methodology and exemplified by the modular "Good Vibrations"), the resulting semisuite confections challenge the boundaries of both song and album form, but with an insouciant charm that's as different from Pet Sounds as that landmark was from "I Get Around." Turns out those hypothetical comparisons to Sgt. Pepper's weren't so far off the mark. --Jerry McCulley

Smiling with Brian
Amazon.com Music Editor Peter Hilgendorf called Brian Wilson to congratulate him on the release of Smile, and to talk about the recording and some of the history behind this highly anticipated release. Listen now.

Catch Up with Brian Wilson and the Legend of Smile:
Here are a few lists to help unravel the stories and sounds of Smile.



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