**** There's an association I always have with self-titled albums. Though usually a debut album or near there, and not into the 20s of an artist's catalogue as is the case here, I like to think of the self-titled as an artist's most assured work, or the album that defines them as an artist. However this was released about 20 years after their prime, and sounds more like an attempt to latch onto the current sound. Normally this would come across as desperate, but in this case, I found myself enjoying a different sound from them. I'd say it's their most capivating album in over a decade.
*** The release of this album marked the biggest gap (up to this point in their career) between studio albums....5 years. And a lot occurred in those five years....in 1982 Brian finally sought medical attention for all his problems and kicked all his bad habits after over a decade of abuse. Unfortunately the same couldn't be said for Dennis, who's downward spiral of substance abuse ended in December 1983 with he's death (drowned at Marina Del Rey after a massive drinking session). Along with a series of lawsuits through the early 80's their was no room for music.
But once this album came about, it was disappointing....with the group using drum machines (programming) on every track, it took the human feel out of their sound (which has always been one of their trademarks). Their songs became more nostalgic, forced and at times slightly painful to listen too. Brian's tracks don't even feel like Beach Boys tracks, but more like solo tracks.
There is no standout track on this set, their all of average quality....but it set the band up for their biggest success since the 60's with their next project....This also marked the last album Brian Wilson would be a member of the group (went solo in 1987) until the groups 50th anniversary reunion album in 2012.