What does it sound like?:
This anthology set looks back over Wilson’s solo career, kicking off with the excellent Love and Mercy from his impressive 1988 self titled album. Indeed, four of the eighteen songs included here are justifiably selected from what, for me, was by far his strongest solo effort, including the epic track Rio Grande. There are also two songs, Surf’s Up and the sublime Heroes and Villains, from his own completion of the Beach Boys legendary Smile project, which are still just fantastic examples of the craft of songwriting. Soul Searchin’ features a nice duet with his late brother Carl, and as well as a couple of okay but not especially outstanding live tracks, you get one track each from the two albums he did for Disney – The Like In I Love You, from ‘Reimagines Gerschwin’, and Colours In The Wind from ‘In The Key of Disney.’ There’s a little something from most, although by no means all, of his solo albums, including two previously unreleased songs, one hailing from the early nineties and one written specifically for this project. While both are pleasant, neither is earth shattering, which I feel is a bit of a recurring theme with this album. The songs are mostly fine, but often they lack that real magic touch that lights up his very best work. A decent enough introduction to Wilson’s back pages, but as ever there’s always some personal favourites you just wish they’d included at the expense of some of the more mundane, run of the mill material they opted for.
What does it all *mean*?
This mixture of studio and live material cannot really claim to represent a comprehensive solo career overview, although it does work well enough as a fairly representative one. Hopefully it will encourage those unfamiliar with much of Wilson’s own work to explore further.
Goes well with…
Autumn evenings spent remembering the summer.
Might suit people who like…
The Beach Boys is the obvious answer I suppose, but there’s a lot more to this music than that.