Brian Wilson | Brian Wilson Reimagines Gershwin

Disney Pearl Series (2010)
By JONATHAN DONALDSON  |  August 18, 2010
2.5 2.5 Stars

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George and Ira Gershwin's music may have been the pop music of its day, but — like much of the Great American Songbook — it was more sophisticated than most of the pop of the '50s and '60s. So because the Beach Boys at their height were a major exception to this rule, it makes sense that their leader would want to pay homage to one of his main inspirations.

Unfortunately, diehard fans of good ol' Wilson ingenuity will be disappointed. "Someone To Watch over Me" and "The Like I Love in You" (one of two new collaborations with unfinished Gershwin compositions) are presented as adult-contemporary tinctures of Wilson's own famous Pet Sounds style. Pleasant but uncharismatic. Likewise, wordless vocal renderings of "Rhapsody in Blue" fragments are interesting but ultimately fatigued.

And at least in these instances, George's music is shown a degree of respect — there are also audience sing-alongs like "I Got Rhythm," which is "reimagined" as a generic Beach Boys/Fats Domino/Phil Spector pastiche. Wilson may be most famous for his own good-time rock-and-roll hits, but in underselling the Gershwins he's neglected his own very sophisticated and currently under-utilized capabilities. Stick with Ella Fitzgerald.

  Topics: CD Reviews , Entertainment, Music, Phil Spector,  More more >
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