Various artists

Caroline Now: The Songs of Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys


Oh come all ye faithful: It’s time to worship yet again at the altar of the Beach Boys. On Caroline Now, 24 artists pay tribute to the genius of Brian Wilson. The album is celebrity-free; the most recognizable name here is Alex Chilton (the Box Tops, Big Star). Thank God for this. I’m just not ready for Billy Joel and Elton John backing Will Smith in a rap rendition of “Good Vibrations.” The songs were also chosen without concern to mainstream popularity, several being previously available only on bootlegs. Chilton’s version of “I Wanna Pick You Up” and Souvenir’s “Girl Don’t Tell Me” (in French) are both fantastic. Too many of the tracks, though, are marred by unimaginative production. The Peter Thomas Sound Orchestra’s take on “Pet Sounds” is so bad I actually find myself angry with them for their blasphemy. But at least half of these 24 songs are worth hearing. Long live the cult of Brian.