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REVIEW: Beach Boys - “That's Why God Made the Radio”

By: Jeff Daily
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April 30, 2012

Where to begin with a piece of music this BAD? Oh I know, grab ya a tube of sunscreen and drink it. Hopefully you'll die from the poison. Can someone die from a sunscreen OD? I don't know. It would surely be LESS painful than listening to the brand new reunited Beach Boys single, "That's Why God Made the Radio." Simply put, this is the worst song the group (or what's left of the band...RIP Dennis and Carl) has ever put out. Really, is it THAT awful? YES. The Beach Boys: (Reaganite) Mike Love, ever smiling thru the pain Bruce Johnston, Al Jardine's ponytail, David Marks (semi-original band member - he dropped after the first album quit in the summer of 1963), about forty side musicians, a decaying John Stamos hologram of John Stamos, and a lobotomized Brian Wilson - hardly a quality band and yet, THEY'RE BACK!

OK so The Beach Boys have reunited here and there since they kinda let Brian go on a solo thang in the late 80s, but they are playing shows and releasing a new LP this go 'round. Joy to the world! "That's Why God Made the Radio" is not only the first single, but the name of what will no doubt be an album as shitty as 1992's Summer in Paradise. Come to think of it, THAT album is probably their worst collection of all time. What makes this reunion album worse is Brian Wilson's part of this mess (he wasn't on the Mike Love joyride Summer...). Mr. Wilson seemed to be back on track with his mental faculties and production skills when he miraculously rerecorded the legendary Smile in 2004. Unfortunately, that was just the magic of those songs...Wilson's lead vocal on "That's Why God..." recalls the sadder truth that really as great as he (and they) once were, they never will be anything but a nostalgia act.

The lyrics on this song grasp at a conceit that doesn't make sense. GOD had nothing to do with the radio...plus, WHO listens to the radio? Wilson and co. have warm memories of a time (50s/60s) when the radio actually held power. It was the only way to really hear new music and there was a ton of great new music coming out at that time. The radio was the soundtrack to falling in love...blegh...but here we are in the 21st century. The radio is about the last place "rock n roll" exists. I feel like I'm hearing one of my favorite groups (The Beach Boys 1961-1973 and the Love You record of '77) melodically shit on themselves. PLEASE STOP GUYS! The karaoke music track that plods along and lilts underneath the scientifically calculated "sunny" harmonies is so transparent an attempt to sound like "In My Room," "Surfer Girl," and so on, that this ends up sounding like a "fake" Beach Boys song. Sigh, I guess its best to try and catch the band on tour if you really must take part in their reunion. I would suggest pretending they aren't winning another gold medal in the "Embarrassing Elder Rock Band" category and listen to Pet Sounds, Friends, or last year's Smile box set instead.

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