12 Sides of Summer
BMG Rights Management (US) LLC
Just what is a Mike Love? Is it the cold, prickly nasally lead singer of one of the best groups to ever make music? Is it the guy that provided many of their worst songs in the latter years? Is a Mike Love the biggest jerk in music? Well, yes, a Mike Love might be all of these things but he also had a crucial hand in the song Good Vibrations which means he is instantly better than you. And far, far better than me.
But all that said he is also now the writer of a song called California Beach, one of the few originals on this redundant collection of covers where he mostly covers his own songs and his old band – and also has a go at other crucial tracks from the era (California Sun, Here Comes The Sun). But on California Beach – the key to a Mike Love song, cover or original, is that it mentions ‘Beach’ or ‘California’ so you can see that this was jackpot moment for the big bad boy of the beach – he actually sings, “Where surfers are surfing and dancers are dancing/You’re sure to find a honey that you’ll love romancing”.
A Mike Love might also be 78 years old now. And he is entitled to do some romancing, sure. But he needs to keep that to himself. He should not be singing about it. And if he’s spreading honey – it should be on toast only. He never ever surfed but he made his living saying that he did, or could, or would – or at the least that he liked to watch. He really liked to watch!
Here the voice is more cartoon-like than ever before and when you hear On And On And On and Rockaway Beach you’ll welcome Kokomo and Summer of Love as you did Surfer Girl and In My Room.
Hearing a nearly 80-year old Beach Boy singing about surfing is like hearing a nearly 60-year old Violent Femme singing about not getting laid. Oh, wait…
Somehow, a cheesy-bossa take on Girl From Ipanema is the eventual highlight. But even the worst mojito-mix can taste nearly all right at the end of night of cheap, easy drinks, right?
So, just what is a Mike Love? Well, look for the guy in the sailor’s cap, hand on wallet rather than heart, his telescope cocked out starboard, in search of his fucking soul.
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