The Beach Boys

M.I.U. Album

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Recorded at the Maharishi International University in Fairfield, Iowa, M.I.U. Album was the first album to carry Alan Jardine's name as producer. (Notoriously unsteady at the time, Brian Wilson was listed as executive producer.) Unfortunately, the mainstream late-'70s production techniques are predictable and frequently cloying. M.I.U. Album also included several of the worst Beach Boys songs ever to make it to vinyl -- up to that point, of course. Though a few of them are partially saved by great harmony vocals, "Belles of Paris," "Winds of Change," and "Match Point of Our Love" (the latter complete with embarrassing tennis metaphors) are close to unlistenable. Still, the group's covers of rock & roll standards ("Come Go With Me," "Wontcha Come Out Tonight") work better than they did on 1975's 15 Big Ones. Of the originals, "She's Got Rhythm" and "Hey Little Tomboy" are oddly entertaining, and a few tracks ("Kona Coast," "Pitter Patter") enable the group to exercise some gorgeous vocal harmonies. Compared with what had come before, M.I.U. Album was a pathetic attempt at music making; compared with what was to come however, this was a highlight.

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