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48
4.8 out of 5 stars
Sunflower/Surf's Up
Format: Audio CDChange
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on 20 March 2002
After pet sounds not many beach boys CD's gain the critical acclaim or commercial success they deserve. However on this bargain CD two of the Beach Boys finest albums ever are gathered. First to Sunflower, which some reckon even better than Pet Sounds. What it is better than Pet Sounds for sure concerning this album is that it's a group effort. Dennis Wilson decisively shows himself as the second most talented Beach Boy with the funky Slip on Through and one of the most beautiful songs of all time , Forever. Brian however still hangs on as the main man with classics such as This Whole World, Add some Music and All I wanna do.
Surfs Up is nearly as brilliant as Sunflower and only has one bad track. The truly awful Mike Love song Student Demonstration Time. Brian steals the show, even though he's now a peripheral figure in the band on the verge of mental illness.Until I die and surfs up are wonderful. Although the extended version of the former found on the Endless Harmony compilation and performed by brian at his solo shows is that much more awe inspiring. Please take a chance on these two beautiful albums.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on 16 December 2005
As I write this review I am listening to 'Sunflower/Surf's up' for about the zillienth time since I perchased it at Reading festival 3 years ago. 2 years prior to that perchase I was still under the illusion that there wasn't much depth to the Beach Boys music and that they were just an irritating 60's american pop band that churned out hit after annoying hit (i.e. 'Help me Rhonda', 'Fun Fun Fun', 'Surfin USA' ect) Being raised on The Beatles from an early age didn't help as no other 60's outfit was gonna take prefference over them! Then I heard these 2 albums. My friend from school was determined to change my mind about the Beach Boys and played me some of their more experimental/less commercial offerings in the form of Friends/20/20. An experimental Beach Boys!?! At the time the idea seemed obsurd but I listened and eventualy liked them ('Cabinessence' in particular) then after 'getting used to' Sunflower/Surf's up, LOVED the band! Immesureabley!
Both albums filled me with the same emotions as hearing the Beatles for the first time as a little boy. Although an entirly different band, the level of geniouse and origionality expressed on these records equals and sometimes surpasses that of The Beatles. For example on tracks like 'Surf's Up' 'This Whole World' (the sweetest 2 mins of pop your ever likly to hear!) the dark, sad 'Till I Die' and the odd but very beautifull 'Day in the Life of a Tree', the songs (after you look under the suface) churn your emotions till you can't take it anymore. I actualy had nights where I used to stay awake wondering how a record could be so deeply moving. If you don't beleve me, keep listening!! I still find hidden treasure in the songs that I wasn't sure about at first. For example the song "At my Window" seems twee and a bit pointless on the surface, but let it wash over you and it soon reveals itself as a beatifully subtle, dreamy piece of music. I love the highly sung etherial "fly aways" at the end of song. Magic. The rest you'll have to hear for yourself.

My next perchase was 'Pet Sounds' which, although more consistant (and still a masterpiece!) has only one track that 'moves' me in the same way as most of the stuff on these albums, 'Don't talk put your head on my shoulder'.

Just a few more things. For those of you who think you've got the band sussed cause you've heard stuff like 'I get around', 'Do you wanna dance' or even the masterfull 'Good Vibrations', THINK AGAIN. There is a whole other side to this amazing group (the less commercial side in fact) and in Dennis Wilson, a songwriter as brillient and as heartfelt as brother Brian. Enjoy!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Unintentional symbolism marks the transition between the two albums featured on this CD. Brian Wilson's inspired and celebratory 'Cool, Cool Water' makes way for Al Jardine's ecologically aware 'Don't Go Near The Water', representing the step from 1960s innocence to 1970s realisation. Both tracks, in this sense, typify the moods of their respective albums. 'Sunflower' is aptly-named, a largely positive collection on which Dennis Wilson asserts his ability to contribute worthwhile material. 'Slip On Through' slots well into the upbeat Beach Boys tradition, 'Got To Know The Woman' is a return to driving rock 'n' roll and 'Forever' is just sweet and delicate. Bruce Johnston adds mature ballads and Brian Wilson, while not supplying anything of the stature of past hit singles, is on good form.

'Surf's Up', despite its darker feel, is lovingly-crafted throughout. Only Mike Love's 'Student Demonstration Time' disappoints. It's based on The Coasters hit, 'Riot In Cell Block No. 9', a song I've never liked. Carl Wilson weighs in with an unexpected gem, 'Feel Flows', and Al Jardine hits a purple patch with his three songs. Yet Brian Wilson's contributions, three songs left until the end, steal the show. 'Til I Die' is a spine-tingler and the title track is a tour de force.

This is the best two-for-one Beach Boys CD available and offers consistent quality, though it doesn't contain any of the band's classic singles.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 30 March 2004
I bought this album after hearing the ''Til I Die', this is an amazing song which is not only highlight of this double album but one of the best songs ever recorded.
As nearly everyone has said in their reviews Sunflower is a great pop album, personal highlights for me are 'Slip On Through', 'All I Wanna Do' and 'Forever'. I think people are going to far however, by claiming it to be better tan 'Pet Sounds', it is less consistent and sounds more like a collection of songs rather than an album.
Although 'Surfs Up' seems to be getting an unfair amount of criticism, I think that it works better as an album than 'Sunflower', and seems a far more natural progression from 'Pet Sounds'. Musically the album is fantastic, with a very psychedelic feel and some amazing singing from everyone. Lyrically the album does occasionally get slightly cringe worthy, like on songs such as 'Take A Load Of Your Feet' and 'Disney Girls', however this is nearly always made up for by the music and it does add a certain charm to the album. In one particular instance however, namely 'Student Demonstration Time', the album does fail both lyrically and musically; this song should only be listened to out of curiosity and skipped at all other times. When the band gets it right lyrically and musically; Carl's 'Feel Flows' and Brian's 'Surfs Up' and ''Til I Die' the results are breathtaking. Elsewhere 'Long Promised Road' is a pretty catchy pop song and you'll either love or hate 'Day In The Life Of A Tree' (I happen to love it). Please don't let talk of the lyric's questionable environmental concerns put you off this incredible album.

Altough neither albums are better than 'Pet Sounds' anyone who likes that album should definitly invest in this album.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 19 August 2006
I first bought Sunflower way back in the early 70's on musicassette and played it to death then. At that point I was a Beach Boys fan, but that degenerated into a liking for Student Demonstration Time. Woah! I didn't catch up with them again until 2000, when the great early 70's albums were being reissued on CD - at last. Wow! Sooooo good. I find it hard to say which is my favourite Beach Boys album: Sunflower? Surf's Up? Holland? Each one has so many sublimely beautiful tracks. The lyrics of the ballad All I Wanna Do on Sunflower cannot be bettered and the music flows sweetly into Forever. Brian Wilson still sings Forever at his live shows. And then listening to Surf's Up's title track is like bathing your senses in nectar. Sunflower does have its poor songs, in my opinion. I always skip tracks 4 to 7. But the quality of the others more than outweigh these and nothing less than a 5 star rating is due.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 22 March 2013
With The Beach Boys it's all Pet Sounds or Smile, but I've just realized that Sunflower is their best album. It contains some of the most beautiful music they ever created. From the spiritual Add Some Music To Your Day, the woozy spectoral All I Wanna Do, to the sublime chamber pop of Our Sweet Love, this is some of Brian's most inspired work. Even the other guys come up trumps, Dennis's Forever, is a lovely moving ballad, that is on par with Brian's stuff, even the cheesy Deidre is enjoyable.
Listen to the ghostly voices on Cool Cool Water, and you realize what a genius arranger Brian was. It's a damn shame this album bombed on release, because it's up there with the best of their 60's material.
As for Surfs Up, i'm not as keen , I really only like the three Brian songs at the end, Day in the Life Of A Tree is, haunting and strange, written by a man, almost at the end of his tether, Till I Die , is sadly not well known, a shame because it's a stunner, gentle and melancholic, again Brian cast adrift , and then The epic 'Smile' left over Surfs Up,
A kaleidoscopic suite, that captures the whole 60's California trip in 4.00 minutes.
Enough waffle, just listen to them
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 9 January 2011
Fads and fashions in the pop world can be cruel to those no longer ahead of the wave. The Beach Boys at the dawn of the 1970s were almost completely becalmed. They definitely weren't part of the new hard rock trend. They were the guys in the striped shirts, right? They'd also lost their principal song writer, Brian Wilson whose psychological problems after the collapse of the 'Smile' project have been well documented.

Sunflower was a flop but it is a truly wonderful album. Surf's Up faired a little better in the charts but the Boys were still way off their mid-sixities sales figures. But it would be wrong but it would be unfair to judge either of these wonderful records from their chart positions. Taken together these two albums contain some of the finest music that the Beach Boys ever recorded. Indeed it is almost disrespectful not to package them separately. I mean, you'd never get Rubber Soul and Revolver on a twofer and it is a shame that neither Sunflower or Surf's Up enjoy a similar critical reputation. Which is better, Sunflower or Surf's Up? For me Sunflower definitely has the edge. I see Surf's Up as more of a mood piece containing lovely watery songs such as 'Til I Die' and the sublime 'Feel Flows.' The band also reprise 'Surf's Up' from the abandoned Smile project. The Beach Boys may have baulked at Brian's visionary approach and his overall direction on the Smile sessions but they still clearly needed the songs from those times. Sunflower, as I have said is simply lovely. Truly, an embarrassment of riches. The album is very diverse as well; containing great rockers such as 'Slip on through' and 'This Whole World' as well as some tender and affectionate ballads such as 'Forever' and 'Our Sweet Love' which are almost of Pet Sounds standard.

In short, I love to put this cd on when I have friends around: invariably they say 'wow, what's that great record?' You can't ask for more than that.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 6 August 2000
Good to see that enough butts have been kicked to finally get these gems back on the shelves. I agree with the other reviewers comments but would add my own. The track "Surf's Up" on this album is actually two different parts stapled together. The first part sounds cleaner with Carl on lead while one of Brain's original "Smile" sessions makes up part 2. See if you can spot the join! The harmonies at the end of the song are best heard flat on the floor with your head between the speakers!
On another note, it may veer close to cheesy, (hey, this is the Beach Boys) but Bruce Johnston's "Disney Girls (1957)" from Surf's Up does it for me everytime. The American Dream in 3 minutes. Highly recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 19 July 2000
I agree with Mark's e-mail. Surf's Up is an extraordinary album, sadly neglected. In its day, it brought the Beach Boys renewed street-cred.. this was round about the time they jammed with the Grateful Dead at Fillmore East, considered a cooool thing to do.
The title track Surf's Up is one of the most haunting songs I have ever heard anywhere. And the whole album has a strange energy - I think of it as the album which looks at the surf under a moonlit sky, rather than the bright sun that you get from the best known Beach Boy songs.
Other wonders include "Feel Flows" and who could ever ever forget "A Day in the Life of a Tree?" - a magnificent full on epic to tree-hood.
This album reintroduced me to the band and remains in my top 5 ever all time greats. If you have never heard it, play it in the evening on a warm full moon night,and chill. You'll love it.
Just thinking about Surfs Up gets me all misty-eyed.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 13 February 2002
Anyway, Sunflower is a wonderful Beach Boys album--one of their four best, along with Pet Sounds, Today!, and Love You.
Sunflower showcases the best teamwork by the band, with great songs, such as "This Whole World," "Add Some Music," Brian and Bruce's "Dierdre," the ghostly wonderous "All I Wanna Do," and the masterpiece closer "Cool, Cool Water." This album is a must-hear for any Beach Boys fan.
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