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

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
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.
Music From Love & Mercy

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.
Smile

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!
Pet Sounds (Mono & Stereo Remasters)

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.


The Smile Sessions [2 CD]

Review I Just Wasn't Made for These Times Brian Wilson Label: MCA Special Products Release Date: 8/15/1995 UPC: 008811127022 1 Meant for You - :50 2 This Whole World - 1:55 3 Caroline, No - 2:39 4 Let the Wind Blow - 2:44 5 Love and Mercy - 3:13 6 Do It Again - 2:44 7 The Warmth of the Sun - 3:47 8 Wonderful - 2:13 9 Still I Dream of It [Original Home Demo, 1976] - 3:35 10 Melt Away - 2:58 11 'Til I Die - 2:46
Brian Wilson Reimagines Gershwin

Review Brand new album from legendary writer, producer, arranger and performer Brian Wilson, produced by Brian and created in the Capitol Records Studios where he first recorded in 1962.
That Lucky Old Sun

Review Reissue of self titled debut album by Brian Wilson.
I Am Brian Wilson: A Memoir

Review The complete live performance of Brian's critically acclaimed new studio album with a feature length documentary, bonus features and optional 5.1 surround stereo mix.

Tracklisting
1. That Lucky Old Sun Live performance from Capitol Records Studio A

- That Lucky Old Sun

- Morning Beat

- Narrative: Room With A View

- Good Kind Of Love

- Forever She'll Be My Surfer Girl

- Narrative: Venice Beach

- Live Let Live / That Lucky Old Sun (Reprise)

- Mexican Girl

- Narrative: Cinco de Mayo

- California Role / That Lucky Old Sun (Reprise)

- Narrative: Between Pictures

- Oxygen To The Brain

- Can't Wait Too Long

- Midnight's Another Day

- That Lucky Old Sun (Reprise)

- Going Home

- Southern California

Audio features:

- 5.1 Surround Sound

- 2.0 Stereo

2. Feature - Length Documentary:

Going Home: The making of the album and a look at Brian Wilson's life long personal and creative relationship with Southern California. Directed & Edited by George Dougherty.

Bonus Material includes:
- Behind the scenes studio footage for the making of the album
- Yahoo! Live Sets plus Q&A
- Artist On Artist interview on MySpace with Brian Wilson and Zooey Deschanel
- Black Cab session UK web performance


Brian Wilson

Review The music that is widely regarded as Brian Wilson’s best since his Beach Boys heyday gets the deluxe treatment in That Lucky Old Sun, a 2008 live-in-studio performance of the record that’s bolstered by a wealth of bonus features. Those waiting for Wilson to revisit the genius of Pet Sounds and "Good Vibrations" had best not hold their breath. And no, he’ll never regain that angelic falsetto voice, either. But the aging Brian is disarming and appealing in his own right, and he and his collaborators have concocted a song cycle that can at least be mentioned in the same breath, with gorgeous harmonies, rich melodies, and a warmly nostalgic, autobiographical tone (the 60-year-old title tune was recorded by Louis Armstrong, Frankie Laine, and many, many others). Wilson and his brilliant band offer up an inspired, joyous performance for a small invited audience, with highlights including the "Forever She’ll Be My Surfer Girl," "Can’t Wait Too Long," and "Midnight’s Another Day," all of them among his best tunes in ages. The several narrative interludes, written by longtime co-conspirator Van Dyke Parks, are accompanied by a clever mélange of film, photos (including many of Brian with his late brothers, Carl and Dennis), animation, and other media, making for a really memorable home viewing experience. Prominent among the extra material is "Going Home," a documentary (at 68 minutes, it’s almost twice as long as the concert) that celebrates Wilson’s astonishingly fertile past and chronicles the making of That Lucky Old Sun. Also included are a separate live set (with some Beach Boys oldies); a charming "artist on artist" interview with Brian and actress-singer Zooey Deschanel; commentary by Wilson and co-composer Scott Bennett, and more. --Sam Graham
No Pier Pressure [Deluxe Edition]

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 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
The Smile Sessions [2 CD]

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
Music From Love & Mercy

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.
That Lucky Old Sun

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.
I Just Wasn't Made for These Times

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!
Brian Wilson and Friends (CD/DVD)

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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