Various Artists

Get Easy! Sunshine Pop Collection

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The fifth volume in the perennially excellent Get Easy! series is arguably the strongest retrospective of sunshine pop ever compiled -- spanning two CDs and 40 cuts, the set combs the vaults of labels like A&M, Verve, Philips, and MGM to capture the essence of late-'60s pop at its most musically ambitious. Inspired and arguably birthed by the Beach Boys, in particular their landmark Pet Sounds album, sunshine pop married radiant vocals harmonies and lush orchestral arrangements that wonderfully evoked a beatitude and poignancy often forgotten amidst the political and cultural turbulence of its era. There were some major hits of note from acts like the Association, the Turtles, and the Cowsills, but by and large sunshine pop remains largely a cult fascination, and this wonderful collection is the perfect place to hop aboard for both its hits and its rarities -- virtually every song's a winner, but standouts include the Hobbits' "Sunny Day Girl," Spanky & Our Gang's "I'd Like to Get to Know You," the Twinn Connexion's "Oh What a Lovely Day," Van Dyke Parks' "Number Nine," and the The Fun and Games' "Topanga Canyon Road."