Brian Wilson Reviews

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No Pier Pressure [Deluxe Edition]

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
Brian Wilson and Friends (CD/DVD)

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
That's Why God Made The Radio

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
Smile

Review The soundtrack to the motion picture Love & Mercy features Brian Wilson's new end-title song ''One Kind Of Love'', performances of classic Beach Boys tracks by Paul Dano, who plays Brian in the film and the score by Atticus Ross.
Ross said it's about these two periods of Brian Wilson's life, and Brian was kind enough to give me all his master tapes. So I had ''Pet Sounds'' and all these amazing recordings and this incredible catalogue, the idea was to keep Brian ever present throughout the score.
Pet Sounds (Mono & Stereo Remasters)

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!
The Smile Sessions [2 CD]

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.


Music From Love & Mercy

Review Reissue of self titled debut album by Brian Wilson.
That Lucky Old Sun (+3 Bonus Tracks)

Review Seen by many as the most talented musical composer of the second half of the 20th Century, Brian Wilson's songs are also among the most memorable ever to have graced the radio airwaves, with a body of work that still remains quite staggering. But like all great writers, he is neither afraid to reveal, nay champion, those who have influenced his work most pertinently, nor to use that influence in his own magical compositions. This CD contains the original versions of songs from the writers and performers who have informed Wilson's own creations most significantly.
Brian Wilson Reimagines Gershwin

Review Brian Wilson Songwriter 1962 - 1969 is a documentary film in which the rich tapestry of music written and produced by this brilliant 20th century composer is investigated and reviewed. With the main feature running at over three hours in length across two discs, the songs Brian wrote for and recorded with The Beach Boys during the 1960s are here re-assessed to quite startling effect. FEATURES INCLUDE - Historical musical performances and rare and classic recordings re-assessed by a panel of esteemed experts Obscure footage, rare archive interviews and seldom seen photographs Exclusive contributions from fellow Beach Boys, Bruce Johnston and David Marks; Wrecking Crew musicians Carol Kaye and Hal Blaine; friend and Beach Boys manager Fred Vail; producers Russ Titelman and Bill Halverson; Wilson family friends Billy Hinsche and Danny Hutton, biographers Peter Ames Carlin and Domenic Priore and many others Live and studio recordings of many Brian Wilson classics
I Am Brian Wilson: A Memoir

Review Deluxe two disc (CD + PAL/Region 2 DVD) edition. Brian Wilson And Friends was recorded live in Las Vegas for Chicago television's prestigious Soundstage program. 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 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
No Pier Pressure [Deluxe Edition]

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.
I Am Brian Wilson: A Memoir

Review 1-CD expanded edition of debut self titled album by Brian Wilson
Becoming The Beach Boys: The Complete Hite & Dorinda Morgan Sessions (2CD)

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
Too Early To Tell

Review The soundtrack to the motion picture Love & Mercy features Brian Wilson's new end-title song ''One Kind Of Love'', performances of classic Beach Boys tracks by Paul Dano, who plays Brian in the film and the score by Atticus Ross.
Ross said it's about these two periods of Brian Wilson's life, and Brian was kind enough to give me all his master tapes. So I had ''Pet Sounds'' and all these amazing recordings and this incredible catalogue, the idea was to keep Brian ever present throughout the score.
Good Vibrations: My Life as a Beach Boy

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!
Independence Day Party 1981

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.


Pet Sounds Classic Album [Blu-ray]

Review Reissue of self titled debut album by Brian Wilson.
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band [4 CD/DVD/Blu-ray Combo][Super Deluxe Ed

Review Seen by many as the most talented musical composer of the second half of the 20th Century, Brian Wilson's songs are also among the most memorable ever to have graced the radio airwaves, with a body of work that still remains quite staggering. But like all great writers, he is neither afraid to reveal, nay champion, those who have influenced his work most pertinently, nor to use that influence in his own magical compositions. This CD contains the original versions of songs from the writers and performers who have informed Wilson's own creations most significantly.

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