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The Beach Boys

That's Why God Made the Radio

The Beach Boys
What does the world want from the Beach Boys in 2012? Sixteen years since the band's last album, 24 since their last hit and 46 since their creative peak, That's Why God Made the Radio is the album nobody asked for. Yet here it is, with Brian Wilson receiving writing credits on 11 of its 12 tracks no less. Asking a group 50 years into their career, minus two original members, to match a peak as high as Pet Sounds is unfair, so we'll settle for not as embarrassing as the band's Fat Boy's collaboration. And in that regard, Wilson, Mike Love, Al Jardine and Bruce Johnston don't disappoint. Opener "Think About the Days" is an "Our Prayer"-like, mostly a cappella, showing off the band's still stunning voices. And it's those voices that hold this record together. Over-production and groan-inducing bouts of nostalgia bog the album down, but when the band sing in unison, which they do a lot, it's hard to fault their work. The group mostly stick with what they know best ― California, girls, the Beach ― and make little effort to conceal their age. That's Why God Made the Radio is the dad-rock album of the year. That's faint praise, but it's far more than anyone expected from an act as old and fractured as the Beach Boys. (Capitol)
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