may have been the band's third album release, but it was the first to bear the imprimatur of founder and creative mainstay Brian Wilson
as producer, and the difference is palpable from the confident opening tracks onward. That one-two combo, "Surfer Girl" and "Catch a Wave," also effectively serves as the blueprint for much of the Beach Boys' subsequent sound. On the former, Wilson's falsetto soars over a tender, yet musically sophisticated, ballad, while the latter features Mike Love's trademark twang urgently proselytizing SoCal surf, both over band harmonies that seemed to grow tighter and more adventurous with every cut. That artistic axis is revisited yet again on "Little Deuce Coupe" and "In My Room," the latter ballad showcasing Wilson's full artistic arsenal and giving an early glimpse into his introspective soul. The curiously titled "Shut Down, Part II" (a de facto sequel to an earlier hit EP) sought to further the band beyond its ironic sea-and-sun fetish (none but Dennis Wilson ever surfed) into the burgeoning hot-rod subculture as well. The results were understandably uneven, but the high points remain nothing short of spectacular, including the Love-propelled "Fun, Fun, Fun," Wilson's knowing nod to Phil Spector
, "Don't Worry Baby," and the underrated "The Warmth of the Sun." Bonus cuts include the single mix of "Fun, Fun, Fun," a German-language version of "In My Room," and the previously unreleased, largely experimental "I Do" by Wilson and Love. Brian offers up a brief commentary on both albums in the notes, while David Leaf (author of the pioneering bio The Beach Boys and the California Myth
) documents the music track-by-track. --Jerry McCulley
Their 1963 chart-topper (#7) and their car-crazy release from 1964 on 27-track extravaganza! A single version of Fun, Fun, Fun , a German version of In My Room and I Do are the bonus tracks.