Worth noting on Surf's Up is Stephen Desper's engineering work — the entire album was mixed to a center channel quad matrix that he was developing at the time.
Surf's Up hit the Top 30 on its first release, reaching No. 29 on the Billboard LP charts — the highest chart placement the group had had since 1967. At the time of its release, Surf's Up was hailed by many as a comeback for The Beach Boys, who were beginning to attract raves for their live performances, including highly acclaimed sets at New York's legendary Carnegie Hall.
Carl Wilson makes solid contributions on Surf's Up with "Long Promised Road" and "Feel Flows," but the album's twin jewels are both from Brian Wilson — "Til I Die" and the title track — one of the centerpieces of the then-unreleased Smile (cowritten by lyricist Van Dyke Parks and here given that album's "Child Is Father to the Man" as a glorious coda.)
Surf's Up track "A Day in the Life of a Tree" is the first in a series of Brian's songs that close the album. It's simultaneously one of Brian Wilson's most deeply touching and unusual compositions; he is the narrator and object of the song (though not the vocalist; co-writer Jack Rieley lends a hand), lamenting his long life amid the pollution and grime of a city park while the somber tones of a pipe organ build atmosphere. "Til I Die," isn't the love song the title suggests; it's a haunting, fatalistic piece of pop surrealism that appeared to signal Brian's retirement from active life.
|Brand||Capitol Records / Analogue Productions|
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