The Beach Boys 'That's Why God Made the Radio'

Updated: 6 Sep 2012

Time Out says

Rating: 3/5

Over the years, the Rock and Roll Hall of Famers from California have released several efforts, including 1996’s unsuccessful ‘Stars and Stripes Vol. 1’ that featured lamentable collaborations with various country artistes. Last year’s critically acclaimed ‘The Smile Sessions’ reissue contained numerous Brian Wilson masterpieces that were initially abandoned in 1966 and 1967, but ‘That’s Why God Made the Radio’ is the first Beach Boys record to showcase original material in 20 years, coinciding with the iconic band’s 50th anniversary.

The title track as well as ‘Isn’t it Time’ are a glorious walk down memory lane, a nostalgic journey through their signature doo-wop surf-pop that spawned timeless classics such as ‘Don’t Worry Baby’, ‘Barbara Ann’ and ‘Good Vibrations’. Unfortunately, the rest of the album feels like a meek attempt at replicating sounds and lyrics from the cheesy ‘Kokomo’ while gorgeously poignant album closers ‘Pacific Coast Highway’ and ‘Summer’s Gone’, with lines like ‘sunlight’s fading and there’s not much to say’, have the makings of a band that are setting off into the sunset.

1966’s ‘Pet Sounds’ was the pinnacle for the group and the enigmatic Wilson, whose prodigious production and composition prowess for that record prompted John Lennon and Paul McCartney to push the envelope with ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’. The Beach Boys’ 29th studio album may not cause the remaining Beatles to lose any sleep, but ‘That’s Why God Made the Radio’ will certainly bring back fond memories for fans of one of the most popular American bands of all time. Wong Boon Ken