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The Beach Boys: U.S. Singles Collection: The Capitol Years (1962-1965) review

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The Beach Boys: U.S. Singles Collection: The Capitol Years (1962-1965)

The Beach Boys: U.S. Singles Collection: The Capitol Years (1962-1965)

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The Bottom Line

As with all their recent repackages (whoops, compilations) the presentation of these, the historic first fifteen Beach Boys singles, is top-notch. For the nonobsessive fan, however, four songs per CD still seems like a gimmick -- and the rare and unreleased tracks and mixes offered here to make this a must purchase don't, quite. This literal box set could be instructive as a walkthrough of the group's formative years, but that's about all.
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Pros

  • For completists, there are indeed a few previously unreleased mixes here.
  • This is the next best thing to a stack of vintage Beach Boys 45s.
  • It's hard to argue with the sound of the new (and.or recent) stereo mixes.

Cons

  • If you're a hardcore Beach Boys fan, you probably own the bulk of these "rarities" already.
  • Despite the legend, not everything the Boys put out in the early Sixties was worth archiving.

Description

  • Release date: June 10, 2008
  • Capitol 15795
  • Studio (1962-1965)
  • Compilation
  • Box set (16 discs)
  • Limited edition

Guide Review - The Beach Boys: U.S. Singles Collection: The Capitol Years (1962-1965) review

The advent of the individually-packaged singles box set, ironically, seems to sound the final death knell of the vinyl 45s the format purports to celebrate -- if you'll buy 16 discs in this green-conscious age just to get three discs worth of music, most of it repetitious, then you truly have money to burn. Of course, for "real" Beach Boys fans, the artwork of the original 45s, handsomely replicated here, comes into play. But that collector probably already owns most of the bonus-track goodies here; there are only five previously unreleased tracks, and only one -- a new stereo mix of "When I Grow Up To Be A Man" -- is worth owning. It's not that the recent stereo mixes of these classics aren't up to par, but they're already available, spread out over the last decade or so of reissues. Meaning this is not a treasure trove unless you're into the art of the 45 cover.

Some omissions are worth noting, too: although the "The Little Girl I Once Knew" b/w "There's No Other" single was released in '65, just before the double-whammy of the Beach Boys Party! and Pet Sounds LPs simultaneously summed up and left behind the band's first great era, it's not included here. (Their lone EP, 1964's Four By The Beach Boys, happily, is present, in both mono and stereo.) And "I Get Around" is missing its stereo mix, given only the Stack-O-Tracks treatment, with vocals wiped, though it does show how the group's pop sensibility was indeed grounded in rock rhythm. Some of the non-remix bonuses, like the lame "Wipeout" rip "Punchline" and a live version of "409," aren't exactly must-haves, either. Still, those stereo mixes are fantastic, even somewhat revelatory -- so if you don't have them, and want them all in one place, consider this expensive purchase. But only then.

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