Did anyone see The Beach Boys perform at the Grammys this year? Didn’t they look old?
They sure don’t sound that way.
That’s Why God Made the Radio, the band’s first album of original tunes in 20 years, officially hits shelves today (June 5) as part of a reunion campaign that I have to say is one of the smartest marketing/promotion strategies I’ve ever seen.
Why do I say that? Because everything anyone loves about The Beach Boys has been included as part of their comeback. First off—this album (and the subsequent tour) are commemorating the band’s 50th anniversary…so that’s a bit of history right there. Second—the band has literally been able to re-form with all its original surviving members (unlike many “reunion” tours lately that have had only a partial “original cast”), so the record and tour will feel genuine and authentic to long-time fans.
And third—this is not a “greatest hits” album. That’s Why God Made the Radio is a brand-new release. And what’s remarkable about it is that it sounds like classic Beach Boys without sounding old or dated.
Seriously. I don’t know how they are doing it, but The Beach Boys have made a record that sounds like something they could have made 30 years ago, and somehow it sounds current. The spot-on harmonies, the sweet falsettos, the multiple vocal lines—all of it is there. This doesn’t sound like a bunch of old guys trying to be relevant again, or trying to sing in strained, aged voices. This is The Beach Boys, just like we’ve known and loved them for so long—literally reunited, and back.
And here’s what I think is the smartest thing about this record: they didn’t try to make a “relevant” album. They stuck with the musical style that made them famous. That’s Why God Made the Radio is not an attempt to modernize The Beach Boys to compete with current acts; The Beach Boys obviously feel no need to “compete” (unlike Madonna, who apparently feels threatened by up-and-comers). Neither is this album a “retro” sounding album. Like I said, it doesn’t sound dated. It sounds timeless. There simply couldn’t have been a more perfect record released at this time in The Beach Boys’ history. It does them proud.
I have to admit, when I saw The Beach Boys on the Grammys a few months ago, even though they did well on their performance, I was skeptical about a reunion/comeback. With this record, I’m completely sold. The Beach Boys are back, as though they never left. If That’s Why God Made the Radio is any indication of what the 50th Anniversary Tour is like, you’d be well advised to go see them live this summer, if you can.