Beach Boys
Surf's Up
Label ©  Capitol
Release Year  1971
Length  33:54
Genre  Pop
Personal Star Rating [1-5]  
  Ref#  B-0229
Bitrate  320 Kbps
  Other  
  Info  
    Track Listing:
      1.  
      Don't Go Near The Water  
       2:43  
      2.  
      Long Promised Road  
       3:34  
      3.  
      Take A Load Off Your Feet  
       2:31  
      4.  
      Disney Girls (1957)  
       4:11  
      5.  
      Student Demonstration Time  
       4:02  
      6.  
      Feel Flows  
       4:49  
      7.  
      Lookin' At Tomorrow (A Welfare Song)  
       1:57  
      8.  
      A Day In The Life Of A Tree  
       3:11  
      9.  
      'Til I Die  
       2:44  
      10.  
      Surf's Up  
       4:12  
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      Review by John Bush

      The Beach Boys' catalog is littered with forgotten 1970s LPs that barely scraped the charts upon release but matured into solid fan favorites despite -- and occasionally, because of -- their many and varied eccentricities. Surf's Up could well be the most definitive, beginning with the cloying "Don't Go Near the Water" and ending a bare half-hour later with the baroque majesty of the title track (originally written in 1966). The LP is a virtual laundry list of each uncommon intricacy that made the Beach Boys' forgotten decade such a bittersweet thrill -- the fluffy yet endearing pop (od)ditties of Brian Wilson, quasi-mystical white-boy soul from brother Carl, and the downright laughable songwriting on tracks charting Mike Love's devotion to Buddhism and Al Jardine's social/environmental concerns.

      Those songs are enjoyable enough, but the last three tracks are what make Surf's Up such a masterpiece. The first, "A Day in the Life of a Tree," is simultaneously one of Brian's most deeply touching and bizarre compositions; he is the narrator and object of the song (though not the vocalist; co-writer Jack Rieley lends a hand), lamenting his long life amid the pollution and grime of a city park while the somber tones of a pipe organ build atmosphere. The second, "'Til I Die," isn't the love song the title suggests; it's a haunting, fatalistic piece of pop surrealism that appeared to signal Brian's retirement from active life. The album closer, "Surf's Up," is a masterpiece of baroque psychedelia, probably the most compelling track from the Smile period. Carl gives a soulful performance despite the surreal wordplay, and Brian's coda is one of the most stirring moments in his catalog. Wrapped up in a mess of contradictions, Surf's Up defined the Beach Boys' tumultuous career better than any other album.
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