Beach Boys track-by-track/Surfer Girl

Surfer Girl (1963-Capitol)

  1. Surfer Girl – The credit “produced by Brian Wilson” appears for the first time on this album, and from the opening fill of this classic harmony-filled ballad it is clear what that means. Surfin’ USA was a much more “perfect” album than Surfin’ Safari, and this is waaay more “perfect” yet. This is the sound of a band doing a whole lot of takes to get every sound just so, and it pays off, as this song sounds just as great in 2020 as it did in 1963.
  2. Catch a Wave – Who other than Brian Wilson would say “This rocker needs a carefully placed HARP” and be right? Again, meticulously-produced and stuffed with harmonies.
  3. The Surfer Moon – Another one of Brian’s terrific ballads, this time with pizzicato strings!
  4. South Bay Surfers – “Swannee River,” but who cares?
  5. The Rockin’ Surfer – I could listen to this bizarre skating rink organ-based instrumental every day and never get sick of it. Genius-o-rama.
  6. Little Deuce Coupe – A perfect minute and forty seconds of tuneful skiffle beat and magic harmonies. A classic.
  7. In My Room – Another classic ballad with a more personal touch.
  8. Hawaii – One of many album cuts that could have been a hit if not for the album already containing a whopping FOUR hits.
  9. Surfer’s (sic) Rule – It’s incredible to think how much work must have gone into these exquisitely crafted “deep cuts.”
  10. Our Car Club – A catchy little nugget with punchy tom tom fills and horns.
  11. Your Summer Dream – After three more rockers it’s time for another ballad. What a great melody!
  12. Boogie Woodie – A manic instrumental rocker.

Only three albums in, Surfer Girl sets the standard sky high. Interestingly, particularly for 1963, this is a very good album sonically, which is something I wouldn’t say about several of The Beach Boys albums that follow. There are punchy drums and articulate bass lines to be found here. I believe it is because, even with the harps, horns, and pizzicato strings, this is a relatively “spare” mix, lacking the piles of overdubs, bounced tracks, and reverb of future releases.

A+

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