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The Beach Boys Today! is the eighth studio album by the American rock band the Beach Boys, released on March 8, 1965. The album signaled a departure from their previous records with its orchestral approach, intimate subject matter, and abandonment of themes related to surfing, cars, or superficial love. It peaked at number four on US record charts during a 50-week chart stay and was preceded by the top 10 singles “When I Grow Up (To Be a Man)” and “Dance, Dance, Dance”, along with “Do You Wanna Dance?” which reached number 12. When issued in the UK one year later, Today! peaked at number six.

The album was produced, arranged, and largely written by Brian Wilson with additional lyrics by Mike Love. Shortly before recording began, the group completed their album All Summer Long (1964), intended to be their final statement on beach-themed music. In December 1964, Brian Wilson had a nervous breakdown while on a flight, and resigned from touring with the group to focus solely on writing and producing. He began using marijuana, which he later said had profound effects on his musical conceptions.

Track Listing:

Side One

1. “Do You Wanna Dance?”
2. “Good to My Baby
3. “Don’t Hurt My Little Sister”
4. “When I Grow Up (To Be a Man)”
5. “Help Me, Ronda”
6. “Dance, Dance, Dance”

Side Two

1. “Please Let Me Wonder”
2. “I’m So Young”
3. “Kiss Me, Baby”
4. “She Knows Me Too Well”
5. “In the Back of My Mind”
6. “Bull Session with the ‘Big Daddy'”

Review: Brian Wilson’s retirement from performing to concentrate on studio recording and production reaped immediate dividends with Today!, the first Beach Boys album that is strong almost from start to finish. “Dance, Dance, Dance” and “Do You Wanna Dance” were upbeat hits with Spector-influenced arrangements, but Wilson began to deal with more sophisticated themes on another smash 45, “When I Grow Up,” on which these eternal teenagers looked forward to the advancing years with fear and uncertainty. Surf/hot rod/beach themes were permanently retired in favor of late-adolescent, early-adult romance on this album, which included such decent outings in this vein as “She Knows Me Too Well,” “Kiss Me Baby,” and “In the Back of My Mind.” The true gem is “Please Let Me Wonder,” one of the group’s most delicate mid-’60s works, with heartbreaking melodies and harmonies. Be aware that the version of “Help Me, Rhonda” found here is an inferior, earlier, and slower rendition; the familiar hit single take was included on their next album, Summer Days (And Summer Nights!!). [Today!/Summer Days (And Summer Nights!!), a Capitol two-fer CD, combines this and Summer Days (And Summer Nights!!) onto one disc, adding alternate takes of “Dance, Dance, Dance,” “I’m So Young,” and “Let Him Run Wild,” as well as a previously unreleased studio version of “Graduation Day.” Most significantly, it also adds the non-LP single from late 1965, “The Little Girl I Once Knew,” which looked forward to Pet Sounds in its studio experimentation and lyrical themes.] —http://albumsbeforeyoudie.com/garden-city-casino/

Schill Score: 8.25/10

Listen to Album on Spotify

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