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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
Format: Audio CD|Change
Price:$11.49+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime

on August 19, 2015
I bought these albums originally when they came out. Friends is simply one of the most musical albums they ever released. I often thought of 20/20 as being their version of the White Album, great songs, great variety, I still remember reading a review of it in High Fidelity which designated it as being "A Recording of High Merit", which was their denotation of a really fine record. The review stated that the Boys were also a "musical barometer" of what was going on in the current rock scene, citing the acid rock guitar psychedelia of Bluebirds Over the Mountain and the "Revolution" type guitars on All I Want to Do. Coming out during the violence and chaos of 1968, Friends was a true offering of peace and bliss, but the Boys of that year just weren't made for those times, but the music has held up beautifully. Dennis shines on Little Bird, and Bri's arrangement of that song shimmers. The discordant TM tune is quite amusing in that it fits jarringly among the rest of Friends mellow sounds. A masseuse friend of mine enjoys the Ann Lee the Healer ditty. Passing By is a wonderful Brian instrumental. Bruce's Nearest Faraway Place anticipated the Windham Hill sound by several decades. The Manson co-write Never Learn Not to Love is appropriately creepy. I always wondered why it raised the hair on the back of my neck. These CD's come with some fine bonus tracks. As Brian stated of 20/20, this album was about refinement, a refinement of their sound, which at this juncture, has attained pure pop perfection. Unfortunately, the public just wasn't listening to the Beach Boys much in 1968 and 1969. Please don't make the same mistake now...these albums are two aural beauties, and a fitting testament to the group's under-rated late sixties, early seventies greatness!
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on April 20, 2015
GREAT SONGS. Not a bad song here. Even the Charles Manson semi-cover "Never Learn Not To Live" isn't BAD, just mediocre. (A relatively low point, then, sure, but probably mostly because of the bad associations to a sick and sinful man. May God save his soul.) "Friends" in particular is a consistent album of one great song after another. "20/20" wasn't intended to be a unified album in the first place, as I understand it, but just a contract-closing collection (their 20th and last album for Capitol Records... get it?) of recent singles, out-takes, and a few new tunes.

Another five-star review goes to these "two-fers", or "two-albums-on-one" deals, which make this less known Beach Boys music more affordable to lower-middle-class fans like myself.
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on September 4, 2005
I've long been a Beach Boys snob -- that is to say, I've looked down my nose at all post-"Smile" (basically "post-full-time, post-'genius' Brian" projects). They have the stank of damaged goods and everybody knows they all point the way to "Kokomo."

But, on a whim, I checked out this album and was pleasantly surprised (and vaguely obsessed) by its loopy, gentle, infectious vibe, its tossed-off lyrics and its sink-under-your-skin harmonies.

Decades before R. Kelly's so-terrible-it's-funny comeback tune "Trapped in the Closet," the Boys had already cornered the market on mundane-stories-told-through-stream-of-consciousness with "Busy Doin' Nothing" and lines like: "I wrote a number down/But I lost it/So I searched through my pocket book/I couldn't find it/So I sat and concentrated on the number/And slowly it came to me/So I dialed it/And I let it ring a few times/There was no answer/So I let it ring a little more/Still no answer/So I hung up the telephone/

Got some paper and sharpened up a pencil/And wrote a letter to my friend."

And what can one make of a group that would, in 1968, at the peak of the Vietnam war, put out "Anna Lee" an ode to their massuesse with lyrics such as, "When she gets a chance to help someone/She's really happy/If you trust her with your ill/She'll quickly make you see/She can fix things up for you/Just like she did for me."

What can we learn from songs like the bracing "Transcendental Medition" with its screeching horns and high-pitched shouts of, "It's good!"

I'm not sure. But this summer of 2005 I've gotten a surprising amount of enjoyment from this disc and the songs I mentioned, and also cuts like "I Can Hear Music," "Our Prayer," the sublime and way-too-short "Passing By" and the instrumental, "Diamond Head."

I don't understand it at all. I just know I dig it.
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Friends is one of the nicest 30-minutes you'll ever spend with an album. It's always been one of my favorite little Beach Boys albums. I first bought it when it came out in 1968, and loved it at the time. I have put-off buying this CD, frankly, because 20/20 was never one of my favorites of theirs. It has aged a little better for me. Unfortunately, the best stuff on this part of the album is now out on Smile. But, buy this one, if just for Friends. And, mellow-out.
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on November 27, 2013
I bought this CD mainly out of curiosity to hear some of the Beach Boys' work from the 70's and "Never learn not to love" which Dennis supposedly wrote with help from Charles Manson. Interesting to hear how the group progressed but definitely a different experience from what came before. More of a gentle, pop feeling and not the awesome productions with Brian riding at the top of everything else. Still, a lot of music for one disc with the four bonus tracks.
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on May 22, 2014
The beach boys made some interesting choices here and they pay off- sometimes...I love this album but don't expect the usual stuff, its very creative in some areas and truly beautiful in others, I cant say anything bad about the beach boys so what I will say is that it is a departure :)
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on February 18, 2013
Put this album in with the most UNDERRATED albums of all time!!! By anyone!!!
This is goes in the same category as Pet Sounds if you ask me! And Brian Wilson even said, "Pet Sounds is my best album, but Friends is my favorite." Need I say more????
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on March 13, 2018
Love it!
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on March 29, 2016
Wonderful twofer. 20/20 is not my all-time favorite Beach Boys album, but it's right up there. As always in this packaging series, the liner notes are world-class.
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on November 29, 2011
The Beach Boys/ Friends / 20-20 (two albums on one CD with bonus tracks): This CD (with both of these albums) is enjoyable. They are not classics but they certainly are NOT horrible. These are subdued, introspective albums and as such, they are a pleasure to hear. These are not essential recordings but there is nothing wrong with light entertainment. Amazon defines the 3-star rating as "It's ok", and that is exactly how I feel about this CD...It's ok.
5 people found this helpful
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