Thursday, December 14, 2017

Playback: The Brian Wilson Anthology (2017), by Brian Wilson

When I interviewed Beach Boys mastermind Brian Wilson 20 years ago, he told me that for him, music is spiritual. Taking that perspective into consideration, from Wilson’s lips to my ears (both by telephone and through this album), this solo career retrospective is full of spirit.

Covering three decades of Wilson’s music from 1988 onward, this recording abounds with hope, joy, inspiration, aspiration, and a positive outlook on life, even and especially in the face of challenges and turmoil. In this respect, this really is a feel-good record.

Adding to the eternal, effusive optimism on display here are the patented Beach Boy-style vocal harmonies that are the foundation and hallmark of Wilson’s musical persona, regardless of whether he’s with the Boys or on his own. But Wilson’s individual sonic explorations stretch further than that and are just as rich and resplendent.

When you get right down to it, Wilson is a fantastic singer-songwriter and one of the most acclaimed and beloved of the last 50 years, and as this album proves in spades, justifiably so.

--Raj Manoharan

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