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Beach Boys take a trip down memory lane

Published 12:22pm Saturday, June 16, 2012

The Beach Boys have no shortage of nostalgia for the group’s 50th anniversary.

The band’s reunion album — and quite possibly their last release — “That’s Why God Made the Radio” is part celebration and part trip down memory lane.

From the endless harmonies to references to their classics, the album doesn’t so much create as it does remember.

The opening swoons and nostalgic pianos on the opening “Remember the Days” tug and prime at memory banks to prepare listeners for a boat cruise down a tropical memory lane (it is the Beach Boys after all).

Though the songs are lively and even festive, few moments sound new. In fact, much of the music maintains a comfortable familiarity, as though it’s been gleaned from the band’s archives.

While the album doesn’t attain the heights of Beach Boys classics, it certainly serves as a reminder by providing hints.

“Isn’t It Time” plays like a response to past Beach Boys hit “Wouldn’t It Be Nice,” with lyrics about going steady and dancing the night away. It’s hard to miss the nostalgic moments where the boys sing about going steady again and drop other references to their — and perhaps many of their fans’ — younger days.

“Spring Vacation” keeps the theme of nostalgia going strong with lyrics like “Spring vacation / good vibration /summer weather / we’re back together.”

“Summer’s Gone” ends the album, and perhaps The Beach Boys’ studio career, with a fitting climax.

To Beach Boys fans, the album will be a pleasant reunion and return to form. To casual listeners, it may be easier to overlook.

Still, it accomplishes something many classic groups and their fans miss: closure.

Historically, the Beach Boys have parted on lukewarm terms and squabbled over issues.

Like other classic acts that parted on sour terms, The Beach Boys appeared destined to go out as a divided group.

The Beatles never reunited before John Lennon and George Harrison’s deaths.

Pink Floyd reunited after more than 20 years for an all-too brief four-song performance at Live 8 in 2005 before keyboardist Richard Wright died.

Even if they go their separate ways after “That’s Why God Made the Radio” and current tour, the Beach Boys will go out on their own terms.








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