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Brian's 1988 comeback recording of his personal insights
on 17 September 2000
We have long waited for the master to reappear in in recorded form - given his still continuing feud with other Beach Boy members, that wrecked the best band in the world. With the assistance of his guru/psychiatrist, Dr Eugene E Landy(described by Brian on the sleeve notes as his 'life saver')Brian created an eleven-track walk through new material that has many echoes of what might have been. Much of the material is melancholy and introspective and you can hear the soul-searching and tormented genius at work - the words and music wrenched achingly from his mind. The album opens with a strong work alluding to Brian being in a cinema watching the deteriorating world. The hook 'the loneliness of this world it's just not fair' calling to mind the 'Caroline No!' yearning that Brian introduces into so many of his personal songs. The voice is not so pure now, but he still hits the high notes. All the lead and backing vocals are Brian's - harking back to the Pet Sounds tour de force. The highlights of the album: Melt Away - Brian saying he is a secret guy, but when he is with this girl he feels his heart 'unlocking'. Baby Let Your Hair Grow Long - A staccato track - again echoing 'Caroline No' with the 'where did your long hair go'questioning the changing status of relationships. Little Children - a simple, short song - interesting for naming Wendy and Carnie, his children, and how they acted as kids. Meet Me In My Dreams Tonight - another one of Brian's dream allegories - put to a rousing rhythm but this time it has the hopeful end 'there's a wonderland waiting for you and I'. One For The Boys - an a capella virtuoso performance from Brian. He does hit all the high notes here; just as if he had never been away. Finally - a magnum opus, reminiscent of what one imagines 'Smile' might have included, 'Rio Grande'. It's a long track in three parts and reminds me somewhat of Heroes & Villains crossed with say, California Saga on Holland. a sweeping track to a cowboy ryhthm. It has rain drops, a key-change; all the Brian 'tricks'of his grand works. The lyrics (not so hot), like many on the album, were penned by Andy Paley, who plays guitars, drums, keyboards throughout. In summary, a good, not great, album reminding us what might have been, if Brian had had more support after the breakdown in the sixties. Buy it and listen to the master studio craftsman at work.