A slightly different gloss on an often-seen theme for Beach Boys compilations, Summer Love Songs compiles beach hits and ballads alike from the act that translated sun and sand onto vinyl better than any other. Included are virtually all of the band's greatest summer hits, from "Surfer Girl" to "California Girls." It definitely skimps on the surfing hits and hot-rod hits, but allows more room for less popular but thematically perfect choices like "Keep an Eye on Summer" or "Girls on the Beach." It's also a mite short for digital-era compilations (at only 20 tracks), but it does contain a boon for serious Beach Boys fans -- who tend to be fans of Brian Wilson's productions -- in one previously unreleased song and six new stereo mixes of Beach Boys classics. The unreleased song is "Fallin' in Love (aka Lady)," a typically eccentric Dennis Wilson original from 1970. (Eccentric in that it's spare in spots but lush in others, as well as romantic but a little haunted, making it perfect for those who fell in love with his solo recordings via the 2008 reissue of Pacific Ocean Blue.) The new stereo mixes are great choices, including "Don't Worry, Baby," "Good to My Baby," and "I'm So Young," three of the most brilliant gems of vocal harmony from their 1964-1965 prime. The omissions of plentiful group classics that don't fit the summer theme -- and a few that would have fit the theme -- make this a step short of classic territory, but listeners who want to hear the absolute best-sounding versions of 20 great Beach Boys songs will appreciate this collection.
AllMusic Review by John Bush