DENNIS WILSON > Pacific Ocean Blue–Legacy Edition

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

Dennis Wilson had announced himself as a major Beach Boys songwriting talent with his contributions to 1970’s Sunflower (“Forever,” “Slip on Through”), but then, like the group in general, seemed to put his creativity on hold to cash in on the oldies revival.Label: EPIC/CARIBOU/LEGACY
[RATING: 4.5]

Dennis Wilson had announced himself as a major Beach Boys songwriting talent with his contributions to 1970’s Sunflower (“Forever,” “Slip on Through”), but then, like the group in general, seemed to put his creativity on hold to cash in on the oldies revival. So when Pacific Ocean Blue came out in 1977, it was a shock. The first solo Beach Boy album, it was a fully realized, complex, satisfying work-of-art. Melodic songs with powerfully introspective, touching lyrics about the nature of love (and a love for nature) were co-produced by Wilson (with Gregg Jakobson) and set to lushly orchestrated arrangements and harmonies that reached back to the traditions of 1960s-era L.A. sunshine pop (and “Pet Sounds”) but had a darker, ominously swirling rock ‘n’ roll edge. And his piano playing-which opened such songs as “Moonshine,” “Time” and “Thoughts of You”-was a gorgeous revelation, since he was a drummer. However, his voice sounded rugged, even ravaged, at times-this was not the 1960s Dennis we used to know. Perhaps in light of his tragic death by drowning in 1983, we can appreciate the tension in that voice more fully on this deluxe reissue, which adds four bonus tracks as well as a complete second disc of songs meant for an aborted follow-up, Bambu. This is definitely an album worth coming back to.



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