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Pacific Ocean Blue

August 4, 2011


Eternal Beach Boy Dennis Wilson’s 1977 solo album, the first solo album by any Beach Boy, out-of-print and unobtainable for more than a decade except as a pricey collectors item or bootleg, will return to circulation on the occasion of its 30th anniversary, and the 25th anniversary of its creator’s untimely death in 1983, at age 39.

Much is made of his older brother Brian�s tortured genius, but Beach Boys drummer Dennis Wilson had his own deeply artistic statement to make, one he made with moody, heartrending beauty and fathomless, soulful introspection on his 1977 masterpiece, Pacific Ocean Blue. Awash in studio strings and layered, breathy melodies, the piano-sprinkled balladry of tracks like “Thoughts of You” and “End of the Show” offer glimpses of a more tender, wounded, and never-before-seen side of this most famously free-spirited Beach Boys member while such ecology-themed meditations as “River Song” and the title cut reflect other topics close to the drummer’s heart. But despite the album’s more serious subject matter, the Beach Boys’ good-time pop is still firmly on deck with the horn-pumping R&B of “What’s Wrong” and the sunshine lilt of “Rainbows.” No wonder Brian Wilson himself is one of Pacific Ocean Blues’ biggest fans.


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