Album Review: The Beach Boys - That’s Why God Made The Radio

19 June 2012 | 6:43 pm | Dan Condon

An unspectacular, but far from embarrassing release on their 50th anniversary.

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It's probably good to be cynical when approaching a new album from The Beach Boys; they are old and aside from Brian Wilson's 2004 re-recorded SMiLE, they haven't released anything of worth in decades. It makes it quite a joy then to hear That's Why God Made The Radio, an unspectacular, but far from embarrassing release on their 50th anniversary.

The opening harmonies of Think About The Days are unmistakably Beach Boys, despite the near-certainty that auto-tune technology is helping them hit those notes. The title track is boring and destined for a future nowhere else but easy listening radio, but then Isn't It Time turns the record on its head; it's a genuinely fantastic song delivered with that carefree, joyous spirit, the band's shared vocals an absolute treat. Mike Love's Daybreak Over The Ocean threatens to become Kokomo II – but doesn't – Beaches In Mind is cheesy but kind of adorable, while you can't help wonder how long Brian Wilson has been holding onto From There To Back Again; the Al Jardine-sung piece is truly beautiful and emotionally stirring.

That's Why God Made The Radio's production is top notch, Brian Wilson again proving his undisputed genius with faultless arrangements across the board. The record sounds a million bucks and a look at the musician credits shows there probably has been that kind of figure spent. It's no classic, far from it, but they could've done a lot worse. If you spy it in a bargain bin when summer hits, consider it worthy. Alternatively, if you're hitting a retirees cruise anytime soon, don't leave home without it.