|1. That Lucky Old Sun|
|2. Morning Beat|
|3. Narrative: Room With A View|
|4. Good Kind Of Love|
|5. Forever She'll Be My Surfer Girl|
|6. Narrative: Venice Beach|
|7. Live Let Live/That Lucky Old Sun (Reprise) Medley|
|8. Mexican Girl|
|9. Narrative: Cinco De Mayo|
|10. California Role/That Lucky Old Sun (Reprise) Medley|
|11. Narrative: Between Pictures|
|12. Oxygen To The Brain|
|13. Can't Wait Too Long|
|14. Midnight's Another Day|
|15. That Lucky Old Sun (Reprise)|
|16. Going Home|
|17. Southern California/That Lucky Old Sun (Reprise) Medley|
A musical love letter from Southern California, 'That Lucky Old Sun' shimmers with sun-dappled choruses and arrangements that swell and swirl as if carried by the Pacific tides. The album is narrated in transitional interludes spoken by Wilson. The narratives, cameos on life and the heartbeat of Los Angeles, propel the album's musical story.
Last summer, Wilson found himself singing the 1949 classic song, "That Lucky Old Sun," which became the inspiration for a unique approach to what would become his next studio release. He bought Louis Armstrong's version of the track and was inspired to collaborate lyrically with his band mate Scott Bennett, and with Van Dyke Parks, his old 'sidekick'.
This nostalgic aspect has been used too often. That Lucky Old Sun - premiered last year on London's South Bank - is a romp by a 66-year-old through halcyon days that never existed. When he says ''when you wake up here you wake up everywhere'' it's the sound of a man who's bought into a myth of Los Angeles: one that undoubtedly contributed to him losing touch with reality in the mid-60s. How else could he perform something as trite as Mexican Girl ("Girl, you cast a net/On the day we met")? It's certainly a different vision of immigrant LA compared to that of Ry Cooder on his Chavez Ravine album.
As ever, the Wondermints revive the sound of Wilson's ideal Beach Boys (without the griping of Mike Love, for starters) and they somehow manage to do justice to the legacy of lost brothers Carl and Dennis. But you can't help thinking that they're giving us a photocopy of the idea of the band.
Luckily, Wilson employs genius wordsmith Van Dyke Parks to toughen things up a notch, though his imagery on the spoken interludes sounds sound oddly gruff and stilted compared with the sunny eulogising going on elsewhere. ''Hucksters, hustlers and hawkers/set up their boardwalk shops/ Home for all the homeless hopeless/Well heeled and deranged'' or ''Pumps Drunk with oil/Dance like prehistoric locusts on the hills to L.A.X'', indeed.
None of this makes That Lucky Old Sun an unmitigated disaster. Wilson IS a genius, and there are still enough touches of that melodic brilliance to keep interest alive. But something this pat will never join the ranks of Smile or Pet Sounds. Yet to still have a Wilson in any kind of operating form is probably good enough for now. --Chris Jones
Find more music at the BBC This link will take you off Amazon in a new window
This product's forum
Active discussions in related forums
Search Customer Discussions