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Author Topic: Unleash the Love . . my review . . .  (Read 1084 times)
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« on: November 28, 2017, 12:41:57 PM »

With most of the dialogue falling into the “Mike Love=Satan incarnate, this is terrible travesty and insult the BB legacy” camp, I wanted to write a real review without the side banter – and this board of all places deserves one.

I am sure most of us have heard the music, but I wanted a fresh listen to Mike new album  . . .

Let me just say, at this point, I feel getting any new material from Mike or Brian or Al is a bonus! (Though some may disagree)

Anyway, here goes my song-by-song review – but first, the album cover:   The album cover is god awful, cringe worthy, strange and borderline embarrassing.    If Mike were wearing a while robe and there was a cross in the background, it could not be stranger. . .  

Now the music:    The music is all over the place, and there is a lot of music, so I grouped the songs into 3 categories:

Group 1: New solo stuff
Group 2: Reworked old stuff
Group 3: Note for note recreation of old stuff

Group 1: New stuff . . .

1 -All the Love in Paris:  Great song!   The album’s first cut is enjoyable and pleasant. Nice vibe and good vocal from Mike.  This is in contention for the best track on album, and features a great sax work by Dave Koz.

2 - Crescent Glow:  Who is Morpheus?     The Greek God of Dreams . . . I had to look that up.
I like Mike’s vocal on the previously leaked YouTube version much better. Yet basically the song is harmless - and another easy going soft rock song.    The strange thing is, as IO write this, I can’t get the chorus out of my head . . . “  glow crescent glow  . . “  

3 - Too Cruel:  Nice mid-tempo rocker, very catchy and fun – that being said, I like the YouTube version with ML son on lead vocal a better, but this is a good song.

4 - Cool Head, Warm Heart:  Great song – with a BB vibe and powerful message!  

5 - Pisces Brother:  Another easy going soft rock tune – I know some may not agree with me, but I think Mike pulls this off.  A nice tribute to George Harrison, without coming across as sappy or corny.  I really don’t know how close George and Mike were, or if there was a relationship, but the song is believable.

6 - Unleash the Love:  Title track is up-tempo and catchy!  Acoustic guitar, horns, piano and kitchen sink work together with energy  - well produced.   Lyrically, a good message, with the exception of the line about Temples and Churches.   And Mike would have done better to leave out the “God” reference IMO.

7 -Ram Raj:  A departure from anything else on the album,  and a departure from anything I would expect to hear from Mike.  If you told me Dennis or Brian, yes, but not Mike.  A pleasant surprise though.  Reminds a little of Cool, Cool Water.    I immediately had to listen a couple more times after I first heard it.  I wonder if Mike could write an entire album of Ram Raj type of music?  Would be epic!

8 - 10,000 Years:  Similar in vibe to Ram Raj, but with some nice guitar and blues piano work and an edgy rock-n-roll vibe.  For some reason, reminds me a little of the old John Stewart song, Gold.

9 - Only One Earth:  Gospel flavor mixed with Mike doing a duet.    Catchy, but I find any spoken words in any song to be awkward.

10 – Make Love Not War – I didn’t like this at first, if felt forced, and Mike’s live acoustic version YouTube is great, but when I listened with my head phones the song popped.   Good vocal by Mike!  

Summary:  First a note regarding auto tune:    I know all music has been subject to vocal processing for many years, and “auto tune” is part of our lives, so I am ignoring that for the moment.  Those that have heard early version of these songs on YouTube, sans vocal processing, I understand your beef.  

I would be happy and comfortable to have this have playing the in backgrounds at my next BBQ!    

Group 2:  Reworked old stuff . . .

First, let me say many artists rework old songs with new arrangements, new vocals, etc and I totally get that.   “Lyla” by Clapton may be the most notable.  I take no issue with Mike reworking old songs.   (Keyword: “reworking.”  More on that later.)

1 -Daybreak Over the Ocean:   IMO a little better version than what was on TWGMTR  - at 5 + minutes though, the song seems repetitive to me, but its ok.  
2-I Don’t Want to Know:  This song has been around for a long time.   Organically sung by Doc Robinson with Mike’s Celebration band - Mike does a nice job on the lead vocal.  
3-The Warmth of the Sun:  Nice vocal by Ambha Love!  Fresh arrangement works well IMO.
4-Kiss Me Baby:  I really like this one too.  The vocals are good and I assume that is Ambha Love as well singing with Mike?
5--Getcha Back:  New and improved lyrics that tell a better story.   Maybe because I can relate to these lyrics, having share of "getcha back moments" I was surprised how much I am liking this one!  I Miss Carl’s great vocal, but  this updated arrangement sounds fresh and new.  
6- Brian’s Back.  Good song, and Carl’s vocal is still stunning to me, and works well with the new arrangement.   But why is this song on here?  Brian has been back for a long time.

 - - - - - - -

7-Darlin’:   Nice version with fresh production, AJR does a nice job and the song has a ton of energy, but nothing will ever compare to Carl’s live vocal, and this pales in comparison.   Why this is on Mike’s solo album, I am not sure??  
8 - Do It Again:   I like the Youtube video, I admit.  The song is just a great song, so I would probably like most any version, and of all the versions Do It Again, this one is probably my least favorite.  But I still like it.    While this does not live up to the original, like Darlin’ this has a lot of energy.  
9- Wild Honey:  I appreciate John Cowsill revisiting this underrated tune, but just doesn’t do it for me compared to the original.
10-Help Me Rhonda:  Lead vocal by Mike.   Cringe worthy alertz!!  The song starts out ok, but when Mike sings, “She was gonna be my wife and I was gonna be her man . . “   I hear finger nails on the chalk board, and Mike’s lead just can’t hold a candle to Al.  Mike sounds like a Karaoke’ singer here . . .  cringe worthy.

Summary:   Getcha Back is the highlight, and I also like “I Don’t Want to Know.”  “Daybreak” fits well with the first group of songs.  Mike should have stopped betweem 12 or 16 songs . . . . . but I guess he just could not help himself . . . . so on to the next group of songs.

Group 3:  Sometime less is more.

If you enjoy the occasional adult beverage, start drinking heavily before listening to the next group of tunes . .

As I mentioned, many artists rework old material and make new arrangements of old songs, or add new vocalists.  I totally get that!   However, recreating note-for-note new versions of some of the greatest music of all time is simply bastardizing your own legacy!!  

Why Mike why!  For the love of God, why?Huh?      Why rerecord BB music?

It is not that the songs are all terrible – though IGA is (casual listeners may not notice this is not the Beach Boys . . . but why??)    Hearing these classic songs drenched in auto tune  - NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!! It hurts my ears.  I think I purchased a few K-tel albums back in the day before I knew better, but hey, I was 12 years old.    

Please explain to me, why did Mike cut these songs, does anyone know?   Was this a contractual thing?  

Summary:  Get the album and enjoy!  One of the best BB solo efforts - there is a lot of good music and Mike’s new stuff is good!  I was not sure what I was expecting, but this album is much better than I was expecting.  Some awkward moments sure.  Isn’t that trademark of all BB music?  Yet this is a good album, good vocals, and great musicians (does anyone know who?)

However,  . . . . Do yourself a HUGE favor and spend the extra money and buy the INDIVIDUAL tracks from Group 1, and songs 1-5 from Group 2.  Sure, you will spend $15 or so rather than $12, but do not buy:  
California Girls, Help Me Rhonda, I Get Around, Wouldn’t It Be Nice, Good Vibrations, or Fun Fun Fun . . . .  . .  trust me, you will be glad you did .  . . .

BTW, I wanted to post this on Amazon, but Amazon won’t let me post review since I am not a verified purchase.  (I purchased the album on Itunes)
Thank you . . . welcome your comments . . .  

« Last Edit: November 28, 2017, 12:51:00 PM by BubbaFide » Logged
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« Reply #1 on: November 28, 2017, 01:45:57 PM »

1. All The Love In Paris: Awesome song! Arrangement is good and autotune isn't too bad. Nice nod to Don't Worry Baby.
2. Getcha Back: I don't mind this version. Both versions of this song are very electronic sounding and processed, just in different ways
3. Daybreak: I love this song, but much prefer the version on TWGMTR
4 I Don't Wanna Know: This song would be a 5/5 without the autotune and bizarre female vocals.
5. Too Cruel: Not a fan of this one...
6. Crescent Moon: I think this is a very pretty song, just too much autotune.
7. CHWH: My second favorite Mike solo effort. No glaring autotune on this one which is refreshing. Great vocals.
8. Pisces Brothers: I never minded this song as much as a lot of people on this board. However, I much prefer the version on Mike Love's Soundcloud page.
9. Unleash The Love: Cool message. Soulful vocals. I didn't like this one at first, but it totally grew on me.
10. Ram Raj: AWESOME! This is my favorite Mike Love solo composition of all time (other than Big Sur). Great production, cool melody. Love it.
11. 10,000 Years: Not a huge fan of this one either...
12. Only One Earth: Horrible, just horrible.
13. Production is bad, lyrics are awkward, yet the song is fun.

Overall, I'd take the first CD over SIP. I think the songs are really good. Now onto the second...

1. California Girls: Would be great without the autotune. The intro sounds clean and crisp. I love Bruce's vocals, as always.
2. Do It Again: WTF??? McGrath's vocals make me cringe and that synth sound effect before the last chorus makes me cringe.
3. Help Me Rhonda: The autotune ruins the track. Cowsill should take this lead vocal. I like how prominent Bruce is on the chorus.
4. I Get Around: Horrible vocals. The backing track is fine though.
5. WOTS: This is when things start to look up on the album. Great vocals.
6. Brian's Back: I hate the autotune on Mike's vocals, but the intro with the CG riff is a nice tribute to BW. Carl's vocals save the song, but the one from Endless Harmony is way better.
7. Kiss Me Baby: Other than the horrible punch in edit at the start, this is pretty good.
8. Darlin': Fine, but lifeless.
9. Wild Honey: Best song on the cover CD. I love this. I'd almost take this over the original recording.
10. WIBN: Jeff sounds good, autotune ruins Mike's vocals. The drums sound muffled. Snare sounds like toms.
11. Good Vibrations: Good effort, but there's a weird buzzy sound on the "gentle world". Again the mother f*cking autotune, just ruins Mike's parts.
12. Fun Fun Fun: Autotune, muffled drums. Pretty bad. Like the guitar playing though.

The drums sound horrible on almost every song on the second CD. Like they were recorded far away, and then all the highs were taken out. I literally woudl LOVE this album if it weren't for the autotune. I could get over everything else. I'd even enjoy the BBs covers, because  I liked what I heard in Mike's book trailer which was his Beach Boys re-recording classics. I think the songwriting on the first side is all pretty good except for tracks 5, 11, and 12. The vocals on this album are really good, the processing just ruins them and makes them sound so digital.

The production (while still relatively weak) is a lot stronger on the first CD. Interesting instrument choices and thought out arrangements. The production and mixing on the second CD is so lazy. Sounds like they had to do everything in one day.
« Last Edit: November 28, 2017, 01:53:37 PM by NateRuvin » Logged
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« Reply #2 on: November 28, 2017, 11:14:26 PM »

Nice to see some people approach their reviews without a lot of baggage. I hope to get the cd version soon (funds are a little tight around here, okay?), but have liked what I have heard on youtube.
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