The Warmth of the Sun is designed to serve as a companion piece to 2003's Sounds of Summer: The Very Best of the Beach Boys, and as such, it is perfect. While that earlier volume contained most of the Beach Boys' biggest hits, the cornerstones of the catalog such as "I Get Around," "Surfer Girl," "California Girls," and "Fun, Fun, Fun," the follow-up is, in its own way, just as strong and just as enjoyable. In fact, while listening to it, a fan might wonder why the compilers in 2003 didn't just make Sounds of Summer a double album, include all of this material as well, and be done with it. Certainly, songs like "Catch a Wave," "409," "Surf's Up," "Wendy," and, of course, the title track are every bit as essential to a basic Beach Boys collection as any given track on the previous set. But The Warmth of the Sun not only stands tall by itself, some hardcore fans might prefer it, as some of the tunes on the first collection are so overexposed that there is little desire to ever hear them again. Gems included in this sequel, such as "You're So Good to Me," "Let Him Run Wild," "'Til I Die," "The Little Girl I Once Knew," and "Disney Girls (1957)" don't exactly have the high profile of "Help Me, Rhonda" or "Barbara Ann," but that's why it's so refreshing to listen to this set list: some of these great songs have been so neglected ("Friends," "Please Let Me Wonder," and "Kiss Me, Baby," for example) that they sound almost like lost hits in this context. Even the lack of material from Pet Sounds is a relief -- while that album is indeed one of the greatest ever recorded by anyone, and while "Caroline, No" should have been included on one volume or the other (it's not), anyone who needs to experience the Pet Sounds material should just buy that album anyway. There are by now literally dozens of Beach Boys comps available in as many configurations, but The Warmth of the Sun is one of the most enjoyable pure listening experiences among them.
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AllMusic Review by Jeff Tamarkin