Most helpful positive review
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This is the FIRST REVIEW of someone who's actually HEARD this reissue!
on October 12, 2012
That's right, there are two others before mine: one from 2009, which is not only three years before this reissue existed but also for a VINYL issue, which this clearly is not; and the other review is from someone who made it clear that s/he hasn't heard it yet, so it boggles the mind that a product review would be from someone who hasn't yet experienced the actual product!
Summer Days (And Summer Nights!!) is absolutely among Brian Wilson's strongest productions and clearly, production-wise, points the way to the masterpiece Pet Sounds. The album is full of great tunes, with a lead vocal from every Beach Boy except Bruce Johnston and Dennis Wilson.
Now, for the 2012 mono/stereo review...first off, it appears that Capitol is doing with The Beach Boys what Apple/EMI did with The Beatles -- small digi-paks with the white band on the spine. There are no liner notes other than track listings and notations of which tracks are new stereo mixes. If you own the 1990 or 2001 "twofer" CD with The Beach Boys Today!, this and the 2012 reissue of Today! won't REPLACE the twofer, as you don't have the David Leaf liner notes or the bonus tracks.
The sound, however? Absolutely great -- at least, on the mono tracks. This is, by far, the best-sounding mono release of the album I've ever heard. The clarity and EQ are so clear that there's an edit in "And Your Dream Comes True" that I've never heard before in decades of listening to this music!
As for the stereo tracks? Well, it's kind of hit and miss. First of all, most of the stereo mixes have extra reverb, sometimes to a fault.
But here's a track-by-track analysis of the stereo mixes:
"The Girl From New York City" -- GREAT!!
"Amusement Parks U.S.A" -- very little, if any, stereo separation in backing track, and in fact the backing track just might be mono! The EQ is weird -- just lows and middles on the backing track with hardly any highs, and the vocals are all MIDDLE. Brian's hysterical laughing is hard to hear. Seems like a LOT of reverb may have been added to the vocals.
"Then I Kissed Her" - good EQ that could use a bit more bass, but vocal sounds a lot wetter than on the mono. Is that added reverb, or reverb that was always there but subtle in the mono mix? Hard to tell.
"Salt Lake City" -- very nice mix, but there's a ton of reverb EVERYWHERE.
"Girl, Don't Tell Me" -- This is one of the best-sounding of the bunch. Backing track seems to have slightly more reverb than before, but vocals don't sound any more reverbed than before. Vocals sound mono but the mixing and mastering make the "when I came up to stay with my gran" lyrics noticeably clearer.
"Help Me, Rhonda" -- VERY faithful to the mono. Very bright, very energetic mix. Actually improves the song while being very faithful to the original mix! I used to hate this version of the song, preferring the Today! version...now I love it! Crunch sound after "Help me, Rhonda, yeah" is gone.
"California Girls" -- We've had, what, two or three of these mixes so far? Can't tell which one this is. Sounds good, but much wetter than it should be. Sometimes the volume of the vocals is at war with the volume of the backing track. Still good, though, and worthy of playing loud.
"Let Him Run Wild" -- I know this mix was released before, but...this wasn't the mind-blowing stereo mix I was hoping for for years. Again, there's a ton of reverb that sounds too unnatural to be a remnant of the original mix, and there's way too much middle in the EQ and not enough bass. Still would be interesting to hear a vocals-only on this.
"You're So Good To Me" -- too much middle on the EQ. Vocals are slightly too loud, and the lead guitar is WAY too loud while the other non-drum instruments are barely audible.
"Summer Means New Love" -- very nice mix. Some piano parts at the end that you don't hear in the mono mix come out.
"I'm Bugged At My Ol' Man" -- again with the reverb! Might have been original reverb that wasn't as noticeable in mono, though.
"And Your Dream Comes True" -- another one that I know was out in stereo before. Wow...the guys sound like they're right there in front of you! Very nice.
Overall...if you're dying to hear this stuff in true stereo for the first time, it's not the end-all, be-all, but there are some gems in stereo. The REAL star of this CD (and the Today! CD, I might add) is the mono mix, sounding better than ever!
Definitely worth the purchase!