The Beach Boys

Perfect Harmony

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In order to celebrate its 100th birthday, EMI released a series of limited-edition albums showcasing its most popular artists. Among these was Perfect Harmony, a haphazard collection of Beach Boys hits and rarities. Evidently, the idea behind the set was to showcase the group's talents for soaring harmonies, but the approach is confusing. There are hits, of course -- "Good Vibrations," "Sloop John B.," "California Girls," "Don't Worry Baby," "Do It Again" -- but there are also album tracks ("The Warmth of the Sun," "I Can Hear Music," "And Your Dream Comes True"), and vocal-only mixes from the Good Vibrations and Pet Sounds Sessions box sets. While these vocal-only mixes are intriguing, they interrupt the flow of the record, and their very inclusion is puzzling -- presumably, they were added to target collectors, but any serious Beach Boys fans will want the box, not this odd set. Furthermore, casual fans want simply the best stuff, not this carelessly assembled hodge-podge of hits, obscurities, and rarities. And that leaves Perfect Harmony as a collection without an audience; even limited-edition collector's items should have an audience.

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