The Beach Boys – Surfin’ USA

ARTIST: The Beach Boys Surfin'USACover
TITLE: Surfin’ USA
SINGLES: Surfin’ USA (#3 US, #27 UK), Shut Down (#23 US) was the B-side!
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: They covered a couple of surf instrumentals, but nothing else made any impact.
LINEUP: Brian Wilson, Carl Wilson, Dennis Wilson, Mike Love, David Marks
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Second LP shows improvement in vocal harmonies but still weak on songs and verrry short (24 1/4 minutes).

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Brian Wilson knew he could get the Beach Boys to sing the way he wanted them to – that’s one thing he could control. While improving his songwriting and learning production, he drilled the group on their harmonies. The result was a marked improvement in the vocals over their debut album.

Two songs, the A and B side above, stand out head and shoulders over the rest. Most of the other tracks are disposable, but at least the vocal tracks are sung well. They do have five (!) instrumentals in the 12 tracks, which means that this is more product than anything else. It sold a lot of records, but I doubt if anyone played Side 2 more than a handful of times.

They weren’t totally ready for prime time yet, but “Sufrin’ USA” and “Shut Down” showed they were getting close.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: One reason for the better vocals is that Brian and producer Nick Venet decided to double track the vocals, resulting in close to the classic Beach Boys sound.


GRADE: C-: Two monster tracks, a few throwaways and five half-hearted instrumentals (well, Carl tries his best on guitar, but still..). Most of this is exiled.

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