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Music / Brian Wilson (1988)

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Brian Wilson is the self-titled debut album in the solo career of Beach Boys mastermind Brian Wilson. The first attempt for Brian to record a solo album was when he composed and recorded what would turn out to become The Beach Boys Love You.

Many of the songs on this album were originally demos dating back to the mid-70s and were intended to be made for Beach Boys albums. In fact, the song "One For The Boys" is a shout-out to the band from which he was estranged by psychiatrist Eugene Landy (who had co-producing credits on the album until his license was revoked). Other notable co-producers on the album are Electric Light Orchestra's Jeff Lynne and Andy Paley who would turn out to be Brian's songwriting partner from the late eighties to the mid nineties.

Brian Wilon was acclaimed by critics but did weak sales. The album has been nicknamed ''Pet Sounds '88 by its fans, comparing it to the The Beach Boys' magnum opus in terms of quality. One song off the album, "Love & Mercy", turned out to be Brian's Signature Song of his solo career. He would keep playing it on tour, and especially in parallel of crisis events happening around the world.


  1. "Love & Mercy" (2:52)
  2. "Walkin' The Line" (2:37)
  3. "Melt Away" (2:58)
  4. "Baby Let Your Hair Grow Long" (3:15)
  5. "Little Children" (1:48)
  6. "One For The Boys" (1:47)
  7. "There's So Many" (2:46)
  8. "Night Time" (3:34)
  9. "Let It Shine" (3:57)
  10. "Meet Me In Your Dreams Tonight" (3:05)
  11. "Rio Grande" (8:12)

Love & Tropes is what you need tonight:

  • A Cappella: "One For The Boys"
  • Broken Record: The outro of "Melt Away" is simply the song title being repeated
  • Epic Rocking: "Rio Grande" lasts over 8 minutes and is the longest track ever recorded by Brian in his career.
  • Face on the Cover: Only half of a seemingly-troubled Brian (the other half can be seen on the back cover).
  • Fade Out: Only "Let It Shine" and "Rio Grande" don't end with a fade-out.
  • Genre Mashup: "Rio Grande", in a similar way to Smile as a whole, has different passages differenciating each other. It mixes bluegrass, american native chanting and americana with a psychedelic treatment on top of it all.
  • Longest Song Goes Last: "Rio Grande" and its 8 minutes.
  • Lyrical Cold Open: "Love & Mercy", "Baby Let Your Hair Grow Long", "Little Children", "One For The Boys" and "Let It Shine".
  • Pacifism: "Love & Mercy" is a peace anthem and has been played live during charity events.
    I was lying in my room
    And the news came on TV
    A lotta people out there hurtin'
    And it really scares me
  • The Power of Love: "Melt Away"
    Sometimes I close up to the world
    You know I close up to you girl
    But when I hear you talking
    I feel my heart unlocking
    And my blues just melt away, melt away
  • Sequel Song: "Baby Let Your Hair Grow Long" is a call-back to the Pet Sounds ending track "Caroline, No" and how the title character cut her hair.
  • Shout-Out: "One For The Boys", the boys in question being The Beach Boys since the track is an acapella track referencing the harmonies of the band.
    • Brian's daughters Wendy and Carnie are referenced in "Little Children".
  • Spiritual Successor: "Rio Grande" has elements which are heavily reminding of songs from the SMiLE project, particularily the use of americana and the native chanting which is similar to the track "Fire".