The Beach Boys

Summer Days (And Summer Nights!!)

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Summer Days (And Summer Nights!!) was a bit of a regression from the success of Today!, lapsing back into that distressing division between first-rate cuts and lightweight also-rans that characterized their pre-1965 albums. The difference is that the very best tracks were operating on a more sophisticated level than the 1962-1964 classics. "Help Me, Rhonda" was a number one single and would be their last Top 40 exercise in sheer fun for a while. More impressive was "California Girls," with its symphonic arrangement, glorious harmonies, and archetypal statement of Californian lifestyle. Subpar efforts like "Amusement Park U.S.A." and "Salt Lake City," throwbacks to the empty-headed summer filler of previous days, will disappoint. The answer song, "The Girl from New York City," and the cover, "Then I Kissed Her," are well done but don't break new ground. Yet a couple of cuts are among their most essential LP-only efforts. "Let Him Run Wild" is a soulful ballad with a great Brian Wilson falsetto vocal. "Girl Don't Tell Me," with its gorgeous melody, fine lead vocal debut from Carl Wilson, and subtle depiction of romantic rejection and disappointment, may be the best obscure pre-Pet Sounds Beach Boys track.

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