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Pacific Ocean Blue

Dennis Wilson

1977

Buy At Rough Trade
Pacific Ocean Blue
Album Summary

Pacific Ocean Blue is the first album by American musician Dennis Wilson, co-founder of the Beach Boys, and the only one released in his lifetime. When released in August 1977, it was warmly received critically, and noted for outselling the Beach Boys' contemporary efforts. Two singles were issued from the album, "River Song" and "You and I", which did not chart. The album remains a focal point of Wilson's legacy, being referred to as a "classic". It was voted number 838 in Colin Larkin's All Time Top 1000 Albums. Wilson intended to record a follow-up, entitled Bambu, but the album was left unfinished at the time of his death in December 1983.

Wikipedia

Rating

3.05

Votes

10227
Genres
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Reviews

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Mon Nov 29 2021
4

Was never a big fan of Dennis. The only song of his I like was "All I Wanna Do," so I didn't have high hopes for his solo effort. But from the first song I was surprised. "River Song" gives off strong Beach Boys vibes, and in fact it was originally supposed to be so, but the choir masterfully interlays with Dennis's and the piano ballad to make an emotionally powered piece. Nice segway to the classic rock n roll "What's Wrong" which sets up a cool mood for the next few bluesy-roots songs. My favorite stretch of songs is from "Dreamer" to "Pacific Ocean Blues." I absolutely love the brass contributions of that first song and how they work together with the guitar for lead. The other songs are a lot less blues, showcasing Dennis's amazing baroque pop voice that reminds me of what I loved so much about the Beach Boys. "You and I" gives off Steely Dan vibes, probably the most beautiful song on the album. The titular track is a momentary return to the bluesy theme of the album. It's another strong entry, and the track you're most likely to sing along to, again showcasing a Dennis's talented production. The last tracks are also good ballad tracks, although I wasn't as crazy about them as the others. I thought the closing was perfect. Ignoring the lyrics, it combined everything that defined the album, from the choral vocals to the blues sound to the piano ballad, and Dennis's mature and passionate voice. I see a lot of reviews complaining about the length. They should know Pacific Ocean Blue is just the first 12, which is the perfect length for me. I will for sure return to this album, and re-listen to Dennis's tracks on Beach Boys albums.

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Mon Jan 03 2022
3

3.6 - Here's a studio veteran that had a hand in some of the greatest popular music ever recorded. So as might be expected, towards the end of his recording career, he's got a supremely deep bag of studio tricks, he's got access to the finest equipment, and a vast network of sound magicians he can tap at will. But, what might be lacking are new ideas along with the energy to explore new emotional territory. I'm hearing loads of subtle beauty in the studio craft. Each song seems like a masterclass in paring sounds, but there's a yawning melancholy that seems to pervade this record despite its considerable sheen.

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Wed Apr 07 2021
4

Funky, bluesy, groovy rock (Clapton-esque) with a spiritual bent. Nice range of styles. Feels more mature in style and substance than the Beach Boys (Wilson's other band).

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Wed Dec 29 2021
4

You know that Wilson guy from the Beach Boys? No, not Brian, the eccentric genius. The other one. No, not Carl! Why would you even mention Carl?! Nobody ever talks about Carl! No, I mean one who was all mixed up with Charles Manson. Dennis, yeah. Well, it turns out he was a damn fine songwriter. In fact, "Pacific Ocean Blue" is a great album. It has a little bit of that Beach Boys smell to it but it veers hard into funk/rock/blues territory, at times evoking Clapton, The Stones, George Clinton, and a half-dozen other artists who were cutting absolute classic tracks at the time. It's really a great album. Too bad about that whole Manson thing.

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Mon Sep 18 2023
2

Ebb and flow rock. Tons of grand ideas, and plenty of instruments, lacks any real motive. Just kind of dull background rock. There are songs with that spacey backing voice, reminiscent of Pink Floyd, which then fades to soft piano mono-audio singing.

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Tue Mar 23 2021
5

Successfully walks the fine line of acknowledging the influences of the Beach Boys while claiming his own style. Expertly crafted, and a joy to listen to. Best track: River Song

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Mon Aug 30 2021
4

Dennis Wilson really goes the extra mile on his only solo record. Though his voice took a turn to a grainy and harsher tone (no thanks to the drugs and alcohol), he fills these songs with a Joe Cocker-esque soul that still compliments well with the signature background vocals from Carl Wilson and Bruce Johnston. The instrumentation is absolutely gorgeous on this record, with plenty or strings and organ to fill your ears with vibrant, grandiose harmonies. For fans of Pet Sounds - this is a must listen to album. Favorite Song: Time Least Favorite: Thoughts of You

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Wed Apr 27 2022
4

Suggests that Dennis was the George Harrison of the Beach Boys. I actually prefer this over two of the Beach Boys albums on this list. And if you really want to go on a ride, peruse Dennis Wilson's Wikipedia page. That thing is a RIDE! Aside from the entire section on Charles Manson, you get to learn (or recall) that Dennis dated Fleetwood Mac's Christine McVie (who claimed Dennis Wilson was "half little boy, half insane"), and often told friends he was raped by a black man. But hell, aren't all of the Wilsons at least half insane?

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Thu Sep 01 2022
3

This was better and more interesting that I thought it would be given the Beach Boys connection. Like the Beach Boys with the annoying elements removed and replaced with something grittier

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Wed Jan 27 2021
5

Fantastic - a diamond in the boomer rough

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Wed Dec 14 2022
5

So Brian wasn't the only troubled genius in the Beach Boys.

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Thu Jan 18 2024
5

Well this one was a complete surprise, and the kind of thing I was hoping to get out of this list. I had never heard any of this music, but it's gorgeous. Apparently this was out of print for 20 years. I'm sure glad it's available now.

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Fri Jan 12 2024
3

3.5 I feel like I need a little more time to sit with this one to decide if it really deserved a 4. I listened to only the original track listing for the rating (there’s stuff from an album released posthumously on the Spotify link). What’s Wrong, Dreamer, and Pacific Ocean Blues are new to me bangers. The beginning of Friday Night sounds like the beginning of It’s All Coming Back to Me Now.

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Fri Dec 08 2023
2

This one just struck me as bland. It's not bad. The musicianship is fine. I don't actively dislike it. I just found it to be relentlessly mediocre, so I gave up after 19/33 songs on Spotify's deluxe edition. To be honest I probably would have given this a "This was fine, I guess" 3 if it was only 10 songs, but the more I listened to it the less I liked it. Maybe I just wasn't in the right mood for this. 2.5.

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Fri Dec 04 2020
5

A masterpiece. You never regret going back to this one!

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Fri Mar 05 2021
5

Brilliant, peaceful and polished.

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Thu Apr 01 2021
5

Been meaning to listen to this for years. Definitely the soulful Beach Boy. Really liking this

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Thu Jul 29 2021
5

I discovered this album about five years ago and I fell in love with it instantly. Dennis Wilson was a man in the midst of self-destruction in the wake of his abusive upbringing and the excesses of fame as a member of the Beach Boys. He was not known as a sensitive man, but for his drunken escapades which eventually culminated in his death by drowning. His voice was rapidly deteriorating which can be heard here and in subsequent live performances of this material. Here, Wilson is concerned with environmental devastation and love. In 'River Song' the opening track, he confronts the claustrophobia and smog of LA, opting instead to champion a cleaner, more natural environment. In the title track, 'Pacific Ocean Blue,' penned alongside cousin and bandmate Mike Love, Wilson laments the destruction of ocean wildlife. This is an album very close to my heart both for its lyrical and musical value, but also because it gives us an insight into the enigmatic and broken person that was Dennis Wilson.

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Fri Aug 13 2021
5

Haunting and beautiful in conveying the depths of Dennis Wilson's talents. The drummer moves to the forefront and the results are huge!

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Thu Nov 25 2021
5

This blew me away, then I read the back story and wiki

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Wed May 18 2022
5

that was a lot better than I was expecting the diversity here was honestly crazy, several times listening to this, I thought this was a compilation of different artists songs but apparently these all came from one guy super beautiful album, crazy to think he’s one of the beach boys, this is a 10/10

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Mon Aug 29 2022
5

Классный альбом! Неожиданно. Он звучит как прог-рок, но при этом на прог-рок 80-ых не сильно похож. А где-то даже напомнил Дэвида Боуи и Криса Риа.

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Wed Sep 21 2022
5

Lang album maar wel goed! Veel verschillende stijlen door elkaar. Wel een legendary vibe.

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Fri Sep 30 2022
5

Spectacular album. Wilson's vocals combined with great arrangements and production make this a 5/5 for me. I cannot believe I had never heard of this record.

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Fri Oct 28 2022
5

This is the perfect example why I'm doing this. This is a masterpiece, however I've never heard about it. Background story of Dennis Wilson is also interesting (and sad).

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Thu Dec 22 2022
5

so after all these years where we were led to believe brian was the musical genius in the beach boys and he wasn't even as good as his brother on drums. didn't know anything about him so read up a bit; was done over by charles manson and his cult, met some of them and then before you know it they've squatted in his house he's ended up moving out and they've sold all of his belongings. did the famous recordings of charles mansons music and when asked for the recordings as part of the investigation he said he'd destroyed them because in the most california surf dude way possible - "the vibrations connected with them didn't belong on this earth"

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Fri May 19 2023
5

Not only is it an amazing record song-wise, but I'm absolutely astounded by the clarity of the recording and mix here. It just SOUNDS excellent, before you even get to the equally excellent songs themselves.

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Thu Jun 22 2023
5

This was a such a good album with a very chill, and sometimes somber and introspective, atmosphere. Dennis Wilson paints an intimate picture of love, loss, and gratitude with an expertly crafted and performed set of songs. I feel like this album influenced a lot of different musicians. If you don’t know anything about Dennis, please read up on him. He was an interesting character who led an interesting life.

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Mon Jul 10 2023
5

This was a great surprise. Incredible arrangements and production value. 1hr 50 is too long for me though.

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Thu Aug 03 2023
5

A wonderful mix of genres and styles, tied together by a silky smooth voice and a consistent sort of vague 'feel' - which is hard to quantify! Much more interesting and textured than most of his band's early saccharine pop efforts, while (obviously) not to the height of their best stuff. A tragic tale too, which doesn't hurt the mythos of the album. I had only heard a couple of songs before, but now struggle to pick a favourite track.

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Thu Oct 12 2023
5

Hidden gem. Like if the Beach Boys put out a cooler album.

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Thu Oct 19 2023
5

Omg I love this. Not what I expected and I got quite emotional times. A lovely 5 star surprise

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Sun Oct 29 2023
5

i am a huge beach boys fan, so of course, i was pleased to give this one a listen again, as it had been a while. pacific ocean blue is, in my opinion, one of the pinnacles of the beach boys, and is the climax of dennis wilson's rise to, undoubtedly, the best songwriter in the group. and what's more, it doesn't sound like a beach boys record, it sounds like its own thing, which is something I don't think any of the other beach boys really accomplished on their own. overall, i really love this album.

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Fri Dec 08 2023
5

I don't know what instrument is playing at the beginning of DREAMER, but it is amazing. Between that instrument and the song THOUGHTS OF YOU this record is earning a permanent place on my shelf. It is albums like this that make spending 4 years listening through a book well worth it.

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Tue Jan 09 2024
5

Beautiful melodies and incredible production that the Beach Boys were known for from Pet Sounds.

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Fri Jan 12 2024
5

What a lush, tightly produced album. Just imagine what Dennis might have accomplished had he lived.

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Wed Jan 31 2024
5

One of my favorites I’ve listened to yet. Hoping to grab this one on vinyl!

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Thu Feb 01 2024
5

Didn't even know that Brian Wilson had brothers that were in the beach boys. This album was an absolutely dreamy surprise. I wouldn't say that any of the writing struck me as particularly top-notch (through 3 listens). But the orchestration/arrangement/feel for each song is all so different and perfectly walks the line between complexity and instant grokkability. At any given moment in each track it feels like there are 5 or 6 different things you can focus on. I love the layering in Time that happens after the trumpet solo when the keyboard (or perhaps prepared piano??) comes in. Great album!!

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Thu Feb 01 2024
5

The least known of the Wilson brothers (and first to leave us sadly) gives us a solo record for the ages. It's clear that there was an insane amount of talent there. Glad we got at least this one testament to Dennis' artistry as a standalone songwriter.

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Fri Feb 02 2024
5

I didn't know much about Dennis Wilson before today. Especially if you compare it next to how much I knew about, say, Brian Wilson or even stupid Mike Love, it's pretty much nothing. Hell, the only thing I really DID know about Dennis is that he was the only true surfer in The Beach Boys and that, ironically, he'd drown in 1983. That's always been the framework I've viewed this album through, then: that it was the only solo project he released while he was alive. And going in, I felt that was kind of unfair to Dennis. Like, come on, this album should mean more to me than what its relation to the fact that he passed tragically young. I mean, hell, in my mind it always feels to me like they happened closer together than six years apart like they really did. I should be trying to see what this album provides on its own, seperated from all that. However, that turned out to be a lot more difficult than I'd thought. There's just so many moments in there that remind me of it. "Moonlight", in how it sounds to me, evokes that kind of "lost someone you love" melancholy, even if the lyrics probably have nothing to do with that. Though, speaking of lyrics, "Thoughts Of You" hit me especially hard with the part that goes "All things that live one day must die, you know." On my first liste that was the only lyric I picked up, and, gawd, I felt like it could have destroyed me if I were in a worse place. That's not even to mention "Farewell My Friend", which I found out was played at Dennis's funeral. And I tell you, learning more about Dennis and his life surrounding this album's recording certainly didn't make anything better. Knowing all that context just makes this a very sad album to me. It was never meant to be that, but looking back on it nearly 50 years later and considering all of that context... Hell, even Brian Wilson has said at point that he hasn't listened to it because there's too many sad memories for him relating to it. But then, that's still one reason why this album touched me so much. As much as I hate to admit it, it's because the album ends up being so sad that pushes it over for me from just being really good late 70's rock n' soul. It can even make me look past that one farty instrument on "Dreamer", though that break it has in there probably could've done it, too. Don't get me wrong here. If you're a big, BIG fan of The Beach Boys, and post-SMiLE Beach Boys especially, this might not do it for you. Luckily for me, I dig that stuff a lot, even if I don't necessairly think this album comes as close to SMiLE as that comparison implies. I just wish he'd had the chance to do more; see BAMBU through to completion, at least. But for what he's done here, as "End Of Show" fades surrounded by applause, for the people who know, he's really made something that'll last forever. And besides, it's better to view this album like I just did than through his relation to Charles Mansion. Wouldn't even make sense; Charley there didn't even have anything to do with this album!

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Fri Feb 02 2024
5

so i just went down such a good little rabbit role from his wikipedia and it is all so interesting, but i think even more than that, the most interesting thing is that i love the beach boys and without realising who he was, thought ‘oh this reminds me a bit of the beach boys’ on the first couple songs, but overall, it’s just a really good album in my opinion. so is the unreleased one. i really really like his vibe, i would give it a 4 but there’s actually two albums in one technically, and i really like both of them, so, it’s gonna have to be a 5.

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Wed Feb 07 2024
5

It was a incredible album, I loved it! 5 Stars!

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Fri Feb 09 2024
5

Dennis Wilson: An utterly unique album that's touching in a way only a Beach Boy is capable of. From the jump, we are WAY more in rock land than any beach boys album has been. Echoes of the Stones, more bluesy, more obviously big rock storyteller energy. But the first track certainly makes you feel like that's going to be the abiding energy of the album... it is not! There's so much more beneath the surface... waves of obvious angst, grief, loneliness. The kind you quickly pick up on after a few spins of a Brian Wilson record. My radar's going off, in a big way, Some of these songs have an unbelievable sense of emotion and hurt. I feel like Dennis is more in touch with that side of him than on any Beach Boys record I've heard... it's more raw, more honest in some ways. Amidst this texture of Haleakalā blues, the real pet sounds, in a way that only a Beach Boy could do. It's an intimate and deeply personal version. It's got less of the childlike, and wide-eyed naïveté of Brian Wilson, it's more mature, but no less... hurt. He's spilling his heart out in a way only he can do. I love it, but I also want to cry. 5/5

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Thu Mar 14 2024
5

A surprising treat. The songs on this album feel transcendental, all at once joyful and melancholy which depicts the time and space in which they were written.

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Mon Feb 01 2021
4

Peculiarly refreshing. 7-7.5/18 FT: Thoughts of you

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Sun Jan 17 2021
4

oh wow yeah, very nice. no prior experience with dennis wilson or the beach boys etc but this is great

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Wed Mar 03 2021
4

Off to a great start, has me interested. Super chill listen, like it a lot. Will look up more by this dude.

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Tue Apr 06 2021
4

Interesting, soft or energic songs

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Wed Apr 07 2021
4

Surprisingly diverse collection of songs for what was expected from a former beach boy. Very good production throughout. Has a concept-album type feel to the music. Highlights: -River Song -You and I -Rainbows -Only with You -Holy Man -Common -

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Wed Feb 03 2021
4

Sensitive beard dudes shall endure.

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Sun May 30 2021
4

Easy to enjoy. River Song and Pacific Ocean Blues stand out for me, though there is little to not like. Cool soft rock vibe with a light Beach Boys influence.

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Thu Feb 04 2021
4

Sorprendentemente maravilloso. Una delicia para escuchar mientras te tomas una buena copa

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Thu May 06 2021
4

Definitely better than the last two albums

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Sat May 01 2021
4

This guy is hard to get a read on. Sounds like Pink Floyd, Chicago, and what I imagine Randy Newman thinks he sounds like.

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Thu Jul 22 2021
4

Tämä oli omaan korvaan sopivaa rokkia. Vähän teatraalistakin jopa taustalauluineen. Merellisyyttä löytyi.

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Thu Mar 04 2021
4

Mooi album van de drummer van de Beach Boys. Doorstaat de tand des tijds goed.

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Fri Mar 26 2021
4

I love this album but two deluxe albums combined together is waaaaaay too long for me to actually appreciate it properly. I've listened three times and I'm like what. But. It's rock n roll, it's jazzy, it's moving, it's pretty excellent.

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Wed Jun 09 2021
4

This album is something really special. Dennis Wilson's incredible voice and rough-hewn surfer soul conveys so much pathos. I don't know who would have realized the depths of feeling he would be able to convey with this record. There are a few songs where he veers a little too close to easy listening, but never over the brink. And the incredible highs more than make up for these moments. I feel like this record highlights how he was only starting to come into his own as an artist before his tragic death. Favourite tracks: River Song, Thoughts of You, Pacific Ocean Blues, End of the Show, Farewell My Friend

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Wed Jun 09 2021
4

An extremely poignant record, as Dennis Wilson, the blueprints used by the Beach Boys to bring their California sound to the 60s. The strain and melancholy in his voice combined with its richness is really something to behold. The highs of this record are undeniable, and seem like a mix of Beach Boys harmonies, with a little of Big Star's Third and a lot of heart. I can forgive the overly blues-y parts. Fav Tracks: Thoughts of You, End of The Show, Pacific Ocean Blues, River Song and Moonshine

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Thu Apr 01 2021
4

Some pretty cool melancholy jams, some beach-boy-esque vibes at times. Would listen again

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Thu Jun 24 2021
4

There’s a lot of interesting ideas goin on within this album, especially within the instrument choices. Some you don’t hear in many albums of the era, makes the listening experience so much better since you keep anticipating what could be next. I strongly recommend listening to this album. Favorite Tracks: River Song, Dreamer, Rainbows.

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Thu May 27 2021
4

It's not going into my rotation or anything, but I quite liked this. Reminded me of Eels in places.

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Tue Jun 08 2021
4

really great album from the former beach boy, very enjoyable and would listen again

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Tue Jul 20 2021
4

It's very long but good songs.

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Tue Jul 27 2021
4

This definitely doesn't sound like a Beach Boys record. I liked this a lot. Highlights were Pacific Ocean Blues and What's Wrong

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Thu Aug 12 2021
4

Look what happens when unencumbered. A strong set of songs.

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Thu Aug 26 2021
4

Lovely stuff, would listen again.

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Thu Nov 11 2021
4

Este disco me sorprendió, me gustó más de lo que esperaba, para ser un artista y un género con el que normalmente no estoy en contacto ni escucho muy seguido. Escuché la "versión ultra-extendida", lo cual fue un poco tedioso, pero encontré un par de canciones agradables que no venían en el disco original, como "It's not too late". Mi calificación sería 3.5, pero redondearé hacia arriba.

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Mon Nov 15 2021
4

I enjoyed this album a lot. I'd revisit most of these tracks again.

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Mon Dec 06 2021
4

Love the lush arrangements on some of these songs

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Thu Dec 09 2021
4

This was a great surprise…. The beach boys drummer pulls out the best beach boys solo effort I’ve heard!

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Fri Feb 11 2022
4

This is a hidden gem of an album. Sure, there are some corny parts, but I just kept getting caught in the hooks. This whole album just sounds like someone who is genuinely having a great time making music, and that makes me happy.

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Sun Feb 20 2022
4

Very good, very chill album. It's very easygoing but that doesn't mean it's poorly made or anything like that. There is certain art to making an album this seamless.

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Sun Feb 27 2022
4

Although Mexico is not on the original album, I'd add a star for it. What brilliant and warm music!

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Sun Mar 20 2022
4

I never heard anything from him or from The Beach Boys before, but I really enjoyed this album! Was expecting something totally different judging from the cover. Favorite tracks: * River Song * Friday Night * Time

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Mon Apr 04 2022
4

Sometimes the day makes the album- and I had a Long Beach run and this was the perfect accompaniment

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Sun May 08 2022
4

like this a lot all sorted of different genres and sounds coming out here.

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Mon May 09 2022
4

Did not know about this album, quite liked it and will be giving it a second listen. A little darker, Beach Boys comes through a little bit at parts but a good listen.

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Thu Jun 16 2022
4

Jg gillade detta! hade ingen aning om att det var strandpojkarna-killen.

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Fri Jul 15 2022
4

This is no formulaic Kokomo designed for adult contemporary radio. An interesting, melancholic country blues album that is much better than I expected.

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Wed Jul 27 2022
4

This was a surprisingly cool album, saved one song from it.

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Wed Aug 03 2022
4

Really enjoyed it! Awesome horns, typical 70s beach.

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Thu Aug 11 2022
4

Yes, that Wilson family and it more or less shows that those Beach Boys documentaries where Brian Wilson is the only true musician is inaccurate.

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Fri Aug 19 2022
4

Dennis was the most soulful and moodiest of the Beach Boys. His compositions and voice are hard and feely, sensitive things. The songs on this album are dramatic and expressive and bound to stir your emotions up at least once. To my ears, 'Farewell My Friend' is the most moving.

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