All Summer Long
All Summer Long is the first Beach Boys album that feels somewhat complete; it’s still only 25 minutes long, but there’s lots of substantial material despite only the opening ‘I Get Around’ qualifying as a Beach Boys standard. As Brian Wilson starts to hit his mid-sixties peak, the difference between a very good Beach Boys albums and a great one is basically the balance of the contributions of Love and Wilson, and the reason that Pet Sounds and the second side of Today! stand as the Beach Boys best moments is because they’re where Love stayed out of the limelight.
While the studio bloopers reel of ‘Our Favourite Recording Sessions’ and the guitar solo of ‘Carl’s Big Chance’ are the obvious filler tracks, they’re actually pretty likeable compared to their counterparts on the previous record, while it’s the Mike-dominated ‘Drive In’ and the Dick Clark references of ‘Do You Remember’ that are arguably the record’s shakiest aspect. With those out of the way, there are a bucket-load of great tracks here. ‘I Get Around’ may be overplayed, but it’s still a brilliantly propulsive piece of youthful euphoria, while ‘Little Honda’ hits similar territory. Wilson’s romanticism hits hard with the heartfelt ode to elopement ‘We’ll Run Away’ and the beautifully harmonised cover of ‘Hushabye’. While ‘Girls On The Beach’ hits similar territory to ‘Surfer Girl’, it’s a step above, with complex key changes and an effectively wobbly Dennis vocal on the bridge.
All Summer Long is still flawed, but Brian Wilson is already great here and there’s more than enough great moments to compensate for the odd lapse of judgement.