Top positive review
33 people found this helpful
So far the best-sounding CD of this classic album!
on October 13, 2012
The Beach Boys Today! 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 Carl Wilson. In terms of Beach Boys canon - or rock canon in general - The Beach Boys Today! is a MUST.
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 Summer Days (And Summer Nights!!), this and the 2012 reissue of Summer Days... won't REPLACE the twofer, as you don't have the David Leaf liner notes or the bonus tracks. And for some reason, Capitol found it necessary to list each song twice on the back of the cover - once each for mono and stereo, instead of just listing them once and saying "Tracks 1-12 and 24 are mono, 13-23 are stereo" like it's written on the CD itself. ("Bull Session..." is in mono in both instances.)
It's nice to finally hear this landmark album in stereo, but...well, the stereo mixes aren't the end-all be-all. As with Summer Days..., the stereo mix on this album seems to introduce a lot of distracting reverb that's not so audible on the mono version. Some of them are good, but some aren't...particularly "Please Let Me Wonder," which has terrible equalization. Due to situations with original session tapes (i.e. missing vocal tracks), Dennis Wilson's lead vocal on the stereo mix of "In The Back Of My Mind" is only single-tracked, which in my opinion really takes away from the feel of the double-tracked mono. On the other hand, hearing just one Dennis vocal really shows what a great singer he could be when he put his heart and soul into it, and is an interesting hint as to the Dennis we'd hear on the Sunflower album five years later. The same session tape situation exists for "She Knows Me Too Well," which previously was released once with a stereo mix and a single-tracked Brian vocal; however, the vocal on this version is double-tracked, but I have a feeling it was just the single-tracked vocal artificially doubled -- but it still sounds pretty good, to be honest.
As with Summer Days..., the real star on this CD is...the mono mix of the album. Generally I'm a guy who prefers stereo over mono, but the new mastering on the mono mix is incredible! I've never heard this album so lively before! The equalization is really good. The only thing that some people might not like is that you can hear some tape hiss during quieter moments, but I'd rather hear that than the NoNoise destruction used on the 1990 reissue.
But YOU NEED TO BUY THIS. The only reason this isn't a five-star review is that some of the stereo mixes leave much to be desired. Also, there's a problem with the mono version of "Please Let Me Wonder," as the mix is off-balance and is heavy on the left. But the rest of the mono mixes are simply fantastic. Aaaand...The Beach Boys Today! is one of Brian Wilson's best productions.