Gettin In Over My Head
sees the return of one of the most influential songwriters of all time. Following Brian Wilson's triumphant return to the music scene with his Pet Sounds
tours, this new studio album is something of a holy grail to fans of the Beach Boys, for whom Wilson wrote around 40 years ago. This album features stunning guest appearances by Sir Paul McCartney, Eric Clapton and Elton John.
Having miraculously survived decades of personal and creative turmoil, Brian Wilson
re-emerged in the 90s to reclaim his incomparable pop music legacy with joyous tours that celebrated both the music that made him a star and Pet Sounds, the album that forever secured his legend. Utilising the remarkable, dedicated band of musicians who backed him on those shows, Wilson re-entered the studio to once again pick up the promising, yet ever fitful recording career that last yielded '96's vocally gorgeous, if production cloistered Imagination. It's that renewed dedication to organic musicianship, coupled with a robust slate of Wilson songs new and old that will thoroughly delight admirers of the Beach Boys
mastermind. Three of Wilson's '60s/'70s contemporary superstar/admirers contribute performances: Elton John's forceful take on "How Can We Still Be Dancing" evokes the rollicking, youthful prime of both legends; Paul McCartney's guitar and vocals are considerably more subdued on the typically wistful "A Friend Like You"; Eric Clapton's searing guitar nearly overwhelms the chunky rhythms of "In the City." There's also a touching reunion with the disembodied voice of late brother Carl as Brian completes the latter's unfinished mid-'90s track "Soul Searchin'," but the real star here is Wilson's enduring muse. He variously evokes the spirit of Spector past and his old band on "You've Touched Me" and "Desert Drive" respectively then reunites with Smile/Orange Crate Art collaborator Van Dyke Parks on the rustic, fiddle-adorned skewed romance of "The Waltz." The lovely, timeless title track effortlessly dispels any whiff of nostalgia, securing its place as one of Wilson's best contemporary ballads and delivering on this album's most rewarding promise: Brian is indeed back, and gloriously so. --Jerry McCulley