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Beach Boys 'Sounds of Summer' a perfect mix of hits and deep album cuts

No previously unreleased material on this latest release, but 22 tracks have been given new stereo mixes and two songs are appearing in stereo for the first time.
3-CD Edition of Sounds of Summer

3-CD Edition of Sounds of Summer

THE BEACH BOYS

SOUNDS OF SUMMER

Capitol/UMe (3-CD Edition)

4 Stars

By Gillian G. Gaar

The original Sounds of Summer: The Very Best of the Beach Boys (released in 2003) was a surprising success. Despite the plethora of greatest hits/best of collections the group had released since Best of the Beach Boys in 1966, Sounds of Summer struck a nerve, becoming their first album to reach the Top 20 in 27 years, and going on to sell over four million copies.

The album was a perfect distillation of the group’s catalog down to a single disc of 30 tracks, hitting all the high points from “Surfin’ Safari” to “Kokomo,” and it’s remained a steady seller ever since. It was reissued in 2004 with a DVD, but this latest remastered iteration provides a major expansion, with deluxe editions running to three CDs or six LPs.

That somewhat undercuts Sounds of Summer’s original concept; the best of the Beach Boys on one disc. But it does offer a broader perspective of the group. The first CD has the original Sounds of Summer track listing. The other two CDs are pretty eclectic. There are no major hits; instead, it’s a mix of well-known songs and deep album cuts. Thus you’ll find “All Summer Long” (from the album of the same name), “The Warmth of the Sun” (Shut Down Vol. 2), “I Just Wasn’t Made For These Times” (Pet Sounds) and “Surf’s Up” (Surf’s Up) alongside the likes of “Good to My Baby” (The Beach Boys Today!), “I Went to Sleep” (20/20) and “Where I Belong” (The Beach Boys). Diverse to be sure, though one wonders about the rationale behind some choices; what does the inclusion of a song like “Pom Pom Play Girl” bring to our understanding of the band?

There’s no previously unreleased material. But what may entice collectors are the new mixes; twenty-two tracks have been given new stereo mixes, and two songs — “Surfin’ Safari” and “Do You Like Worms (Roll Plymouth Rock)” — are appearing in stereo for the first time. The new mixes give a song’s elements room to breathe; the handclaps in “I Get Around” have a fresh snap, the tambourine in “Help Me Rhonda” emerges with a new clarity. The more complex songs benefit the most from this approach; new mix of “Good Vibrations” is particularly enticing. The rest of the set provides a patchwork of different mixes (“Let the Wind Blow” is a 2017 stereo mix, “Rock and Roll Music” is the 2012 remaster); presumably it was determined that they weren’t in need of a remix.

Is it worth picking up for 26 new mixes? That’s easy to decide if you’re going with the three CD edition; the six LP set (and a pricier edition that includes lithographs). Sounds of Summer is also available on a single CD, an edition on standard weight vinyl or limited edition 180-gram vinyl, and digital platforms, with the first disc also available in Dolby Atmos. The release kicks off a year of 60th anniversary celebrations for the group, that will also include a new document, a tribute special, and the reissue of Carl and the Passions — “So Tough” and Holland in the fall.

  

Other Beach Boys editions are in the Goldmine shop

2-LP edition

2-LP edition

Single CD Edition

Single CD Edition

Expanded Super Deluxe 6 LP Edition 

Expanded Super Deluxe 6 LP Edition