The Beach Boys is the twenty-fifth album by (guess who) The Beach Boys. It was released in 1985, giving this album the nickname "Beach Boys 85" amongst fans.
This is the first Beach Boys album released after the death of Dennis Wilson in 1983 and the first album the band released after 1980's Keepin' The Summer Alive. After this album was a commercial failure, the band focused on touring and estabblished itself as a "jukebox act" based on their early songs which was quite popular in their country (this is when they earned their "America's Band" nickname). The only few songs recorded during that period were a cover of California Dreamin', a collaboration song with The Four Seasons (which was rumoured to be the first step to a collab album but was cancelled after the single's faillure) and a song for Up the Creek's soundtrack. Outside of the band, Brian Wilson's mental and physical health was at its lowest and the psychiatrist Eugene Landy (who already treated him back in 1976) came back on the Wilsons' request. Mike Love started his solo career with 1981's Looking Back With Love and Carl Wilson took a short break from the band in order to focus on a solo career (spawning two solo albums). Dennis Wilson wasn't involved in the recording sesions of Keepin' The Summer Alive but he remained a touring drummer for the band until his death by drowning in late 1983.
This self-titled album was a new beginning for the band which came back in the Pop scene during a new era: the digital one. Produced by Culture Club's Steve Levine, this is the first Beach Boys album to ditch analog recording in favour of digital. There is also a variety of guest stars ranging from Ringo Starr to Stevie Wonder. The recording sesions were partially troubled due to Landy's presence. He would constantly keep an eye Brian and was also credited as a co-writer for any song penned by his patient.
Reaction to the album was mixed but it managed to reach the 52nd spot in the charts and one of its singles "Getcha Back" would still be played on The Beach Boys' recent concerts.
- "Getcha Back" (3:43)
- "It's Getting Late" (3:52)
- "Crack At Your Love" (2:36)
- "Maybe I Don't Know" (4:06)
- "She Believes In Love Again" (2:52)
- "California Calling" (3:00)
- "Passing Friend" (2:52)
- "I'm So Lonely" (3:31)
- "Where I Belong" (3:14)
- "I Do Love You" (3:10)
- "It's Just A Matter Of Time" (2:23)
A bonus track called "Male Ego" was included on the CD version of the album.
And you know I'd like to get a crack at your tropes:
- Break Up Song: "I'm So Lonely".I'm so brokenheartedSince we've been parted
- The '80s: Thanks to Steve Levine's digital production, this Beach Boys album in particular incorporates many musical trends which shaped the 80s Pop music scene.
- Evolving Music: "Getcha Back" had some of its lyrics changed when Mike rerecorded it in 2017 for his Unleash The Love album. The Beach Boys sing that version of the song ever since.
- Fade Out: All the songs end with a fade-out.
- In the Style of: Stevie Wonder. He wrote the song "I Do Love You" but the Beach Boys went along to the point that Al and Carl pull out a convincing Wonder impression.
- Journey to Find Oneself: "Where I Belong":I've spent my whole life driftingTowards an elusive sunI would have wandered foreverIf your breeze hadn't comeAnd you just could be my anchorYou are my northern starThat navigates me home
- Male Gaze: The premise of "Male Ego"Male ego walking down the streetSees something looking hot and sweetHey, baby would you like to meet me tonight?
- Mythology Gag: "California Calling" is reminiscent of The Beach Boys' legacy as a Summer rock band, and has its opening lyrics being a reference to the band's hit song "Surfin' USA".
- New Sound Album: Switching from analog recording to digital certainly made this album stand out from any Beach Boys album recorded before. Tracks such as "Crack At Your Love" and "Passing Friend" are a prime example of that.
- Rearrange the Song: "Getcha Back"'s lyrics were considered controversial for its mention of emotional abuse and adultery ("You leave him and I leave her"). When Mike Love rerecorded the song for his solo album Unleash The Love, he changed that part and added a third verse.
- Silly Love Songs: A majority of songs on this album talk about love, particularly "It's Getting Late", "Crack At Your Love", "I Do Love You", "She Believes In Love Again" and "It's Just A Matter Of Time".
- Special Guest: Big names such as Stevie Wonder, Ringo Starr and Gary Moore were session musicians on the album. On the writing part, Stevie and Boy George penned songs for the band to perform.
- Stalker with a Crush: "Maybe I Don't Know":You got me calling at all hours of the nightI don't think it's rightBut still I do it
- The Power of Love: "Crack At Your Love":You make me feel so warm insideA sense of humor you can't hideWho taught you darling how to move that way?And when you smile I know the world's okayAnd when I see the twinkle in your eyeIt sends my heart all the way to the sky
- Vocal Tag Team: Various unusual co-leads appear on this album:
- Al and Brian on "Crack At Your Love".
- Al and Mike on "California Calling" (the two would rarely sing together on a track outside of the M.I.U. Album).
- Carl and Bruce on "She Believes In Love Again" (one of only two times where this ever happened, outside of the previously unreleased track "Lonely Days" from the Wild Honey sessions).
- Carl and Al on "I Do Love You".