March 25, 1963
Pop/Rock, Surf, Rock & Roll, Early Pop/Rock, Sunshine Pop, Pop

Album Review

The real breakthrough, as Brian Wilson asserts himself in the studio as both songwriter and arranger on a set of material that was much stronger than Surfin' Safari. Besides the hit title track and its popular drag-racing flip side ("Shut Down"), this has a lovely, heartbreaking ballad ("Lonely Sea") and a couple of strong Brian Wilson originals ("The Noble Surfer" and "Farmer's Daughter"). There are also a surprisingly high quotient of instrumentals (five) that demonstrate that, before session musicians took over most of the parts, the Beach Boys could play respectably gutsy surf rock as a self-contained unit. Indeed, the album as a whole is the best they would make, prior to the late '60s, as a band that played most of their instruments, rather than as a vehicle for Brian Wilson's ideas. The LP was a huge hit, vital to launching surf music as a national craze, and one of the few truly strong records to be recorded by a self-contained American rock band prior to the British Invasion. [Surfin' Safari/Surfin' U.S.A, a Capitol two-fer CD, combines this and Surfin' Safari onto one disc, with the addition of three rare bonus cuts from the same era.]
Richie Unterberger, Rovi

Track Listing

  1. Surfin' U.S.A.
  2. Farmer's Daughter
  3. Misirlou
  4. Stoked
  5. Lonely Sea
  6. Shut Down
  7. Noble Surfer
  8. Honky Tonk
  9. Lana
  10. Surf Jam
  11. Let's Go Trippin'
  12. Finders Keepers
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