The Beach Boys, ‘That’s Why God Made The Radio’ – Song Review
Who would have thought we’d be reviewing a brand new Beach Boys song in 2012. After all, brothers Carl and Dennis Wilson are both long gone from this world.
Luckily, Brian, the one everyone would have pegged a goner ages ago, has rebounded in leaps and bounds over the last several years, even moving that mountain called ‘Smile’ out of his way. And Mike Love, the one it’s so easy not to, has even mellowed with age. With their 50th Anniversary tour underway (so far, so good, by all accounts) the men who would be boys are back with their first new recording in well over two decades.
‘That’s Why God Made The Radio’ is the first offering from the forthcoming full length album and while it’s not perfect… it could have been a lot worse! The first thing we should mention is the vocals. Miraculously, the harmonies are all in check and sound beautiful, especially on the very catchy chorus. When they hit that minor chord section just before the end, it’s perfection.
The song itself has a very early Beach Boys feel to it. Early as in first couple of albums, ’50s hangover, slow dance at the hop kind of feel. A ballad that swings, if you will. The bridge tries to rock things up a bit before the bottom melts away and leaves nothing but those beautiful harmonies to bask in before relaunching that chorus.
The main problem with the song, really, is the lyrics. They’re pretty hokey and overly rooted in nostalgia and cheese. Where’s Van Dyke Parks or Tony Asher when you need ‘em?! If the lyrics matched up to the vocals, we’d be talking a very different animal here. Then again, people love nostalgia (they love cheese as well), so we may be too harsh in denouncing the lyrical content.
First God gave rock and roll to you, then he made the movies (ask Paul Simon), and now radio, but it’s doubtful the Beach Boys’ new music (or new music from any older artists) will ever get played on the radio at this point. But that’s a whole other barrel of shot fish to argue over.
The bottom line is, it’s the Beach Boys, it sounds like the Beach Boys, and fifty years after they first walked out of that Hawthorne garage, they certainly could have done a lot worse that this. We’ll give ‘em the benefit of the doubt here. Sail on sailors..