CD Brian Wilson [Remaster]  (CD 1320781),
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Brian Wilson [Remaster] 
Brian Wilson (Pop)
Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 25699
Personnel: Brian Wilson (vocals, piano, organ, keyboards, Emulator, vibraphone, glockenspiel, percussion, bells, chimes, sound effects); Andy Paley (acoustic & electric guitars, harmonica, keyboards, bass, drums, percussion); Michael Bernard (keyboards, synthesizer, drums, percussion, programming); Russ Titelman, Terence Trent D'arby, Christopher Cross (background vocals).
Reissue producers: Mark Linett, David Leaf, Gary Stewart.
Includes liner notes by David Leaf.
Digitally remastered by Joe Gastwirt (Oceanview Digital).
Brian Wilson's first solo album created a good share of media hoopla upon its release. This was not necessarily because of the music, but simply because his very existence -- or, at least, proof of his existence via his first fully engaged recording project in about a decade -- was greeted as a cause for celebration. Although it did not shift tons of units, it did spark a landslide of ecstatic-to-charitable reviews, largely because so many critics were eager to latch on to any evidence that Wilson's musical genius was intact. Viewed more coldly after the hype has faded, this self-titled release is an odd, flawed creation, certainly leagues above the Beach Boys' post-1970s output, yet certainly leagues below Wilson's best work with that group in the 1960s. While he retained his gift for catchy melodies and dense, symphonic production, there was a forced stiffness to both the songwriting and execution. Much of the blame for the album's mixed success can be laid upon its sterile, synthesizer-laden arrangements and echoing percussion, which epitomized some of the less attractive aspects of late-1980s production. However, the songs were not among Wilson's best either, their hooks pleasant but easily fading from memory, the lyrics full of ambiguous romantic optimism that was totally belied by the nervous, mannered vocals. The concluding eight-minute suite, "Rio Grande," was a self-conscious and, again, only partially successful attempt to match the grandeur of the miniature conceptual pieces Wilson was penning in the Smile era. For all that, it remains the best album of Wilson's solo career, principally because he has recorded so little material since then, and written even less. The 2000 Warner Archives/Rhino reissue adds more than a dozen bonus tracks, including demos, backing tracks, and alternates of songs from the album. ~ Richie Unterberger
Entertainment Weekly (9/8/00, p.89) - "...The best Beach Boys album since the '60s..." - Rating: A
Q (2/96, p.113) - 4 Stars - Excellent - "...Brian Wilson is eminently buyable..."
Alternative Press (12/00, p.106) - "...A great album..."
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