Awesome. 5 CDs, 141 songs, 40 unreleased, including 30 minutes of the most legendary unreleased album in rock: Smile . In between all the collector manna (including an entire "bootleg" disc of unreleased stuff), and in chronological order starting with their earliest demos (of Surfin' U.S.A. , etc.), are all the hits from the Capitol, Caribou, Brother and Colpix labels in original mono or stereo, all documented by a 60-page, full-color booklet.
From "Surfin'" to "Kokomo," the first four discs of this box chart the Beach Boys' inimitable 30-year course. Here are all the hits and key album tracks, and an assortment of unreleased material that illuminates Brian Wilson and company's immense contribution to the development of pop music. (Especially fascinating are the assembled fragments from Wilson's abandoned 1966 masterwork, Smile
.) A fifth disc features demos, radio spots, live tracks, and studio goodies for the hardcore fan. The set confirms Brian's hardworking genius, but also gives each member his due, especially the late Carl Wilson. Rock & roll music grew up with the Beach Boys, and this box is rock's best family album. --Ben Edmonds