Unpopular opinion: Brian Wilson 88 is a better album than The Beach Boys Love You

Unpopular opinion: Brian Wilson 88 is a better album than The Beach Boys Love You


BW 88 has a better song writing, but a worse production, Love You has a sick production, but the song writing is not as good as BW 88.


Imagine they got rid of that Yamaha DX7 synthesizer and started to re-record Brian Wilson 88 in a similar way to Pet Sounds. You know, with real horns and strings


I think the best way to record it would be: Prominent piano parts like in the demos. Strong bass and a bit percussion as well as backing vocals and some sections with horns, like in the Smile version of Wind Chimes. Now add a tiny bit of Love You synths. If they had done it that way and left out some tracks, BW88 would've been one of Brian greatest albums.


What are those tracks which you think they should have left out? I'm curious


Night Time and Little Children for sure. I can't imagine a way Little Children would sound good, both Baby Let Your.. and Meet Me In.., which are both similar, have potential to be good, but not Little Children. Night Time is just boring, evem a better instrumentation can't save this one. (Maybe I'm biased because I always have to think of that awful live version) Amd since there are just so many good demos, on a perfect BW88 there would be less songs of the original BW88 track list


Little Children was initially for Love You, I think it would've made a cool tune back then! But the BW88 version is a little strange, especially the Carnie and Wendy name drops. My big problem with BW88's production is all the random percussion hits here and there. The snare towards the end of Love And Mercy just feels so random and out of place. Otherwise, both Love You and BW88 are some of my favorite albums ever, especially Love You.


I agree, it’s much less bizarre. Brian’s soul comes through clearly on “Love and Mercy” and “Melt Away”. Both albums sure have their moments, though. I wish Brian could’ve kept himself together more consistently. He shined so brightly when he did.


God... Love and Mercy + Melt Away are like, forgotten classics even to a lot of Beach Boys fans. They sound like how he wrote when he was at his peak, but if he recorded them as an older man.


Yes! That period felt like a very brief second wind. He'd locked himself into that same zone that allowed his mind to create at its greatest in the 1960s. They're the last two tracks of his that leave me gaping in awe at the beauty he was able to pull out of himself, wondering, "How can anyone do that?" Though "Love and Mercy" could've used a little more work! Its final version sounds a little wonky. Something about the synthesizers in the back—both the tone and, to my ears, the pitches are a little strange. There's an [alternate version](https://youtu.be/PKRzYS503Rw) I like more: it's a different key and a different vocal. I wonder if they just slowed the track down and that's why it sounds weird. I dunno! And listen to the bridge harmony here. It just sounds absolutely heavenly and uplifting. Like the "ballad" section of "Vega-Tables". Just gives me shivers. You know another song that had a ton of potential? "There's So Many"! Listen to [its demo](https://youtu.be/MpSB1yJJeI0). I think if he had gone more with the "there's so many songs to sing/I'm thankful for the love they bring" concept and less "fantasize/fantasy world", it would've been another incredible production.


I think I prefer Love You for its manic energy, but BW88 is great too. BW88 is, at its best, like a more haggard pet sounds. At its worst, it sounds a little too 80s adult contemporary for me. Love You has this desperate sadness, even when it sounds upbeat. It sounds like it's constantly teetering on the edge and falling apart. The whole thing reminds me of Tusk by Fleetwood Mac. It's a rare feeling in music. Also, to add to that, I think Love You has a more intentionally quirky synth-y production. BW88 has very lush production, but the fact that the synth instruments are modeled after real instruments makes it sound a little cheaper. The weird moog stuff on Love You sounds incredible, wheras the synth clarinets on BW88 sound.... well, like a digital synth clarinet.


I think of BW88 and sweet insanity to be the spiritual successors to love you era. Lots of similarities in my mind


Apples and oranges. It’s your opinion. Glad you enjoy The Beach Boys!


Two of my favorite works of Brian Wilson, it’s so hard to choose between them. Personally I think they’re on the same level, and have a lot in common - Synthy, unique, inspired. It’s funny to me that Brian’s most creative (nearly) solo works came in 66, 77, and 88.


And that each one was followed by an unfinished album -- Smile, Adult/Child, and Sweet Insanity




I was just thinking about this on a plane the other day! You could even count The Smile Sessions for 2011.


The songwriting on the self titled isn't anywhere near as emotional as Love You. Melt Away's lovely though


It's the other way around for me


I do wish we could get something that strips away a lot of that production. Melt Away and Rio Grande are pretty flawless to me though. At least we have some excellent piano versions of Love and Mercy. Those are always my go to.


Just threw it on because of your post… I remember definitely not loving Love You (except for Night Was So Young, which is amazing use of the group’s harmonies). I do remember liking 88 when I heard it. Rio Grande is on a SMiLE level of greatness.


"Johnny Carson" and "Solar System" on Love You have some pretty sweet harmonic action going on as well


I wish there was a Brian Wilson unplugged version of the 88’ album. I suppose we sort of got that with the IJWMFTT compilation.


BW88 and it’s not even close lmao


I totally agree, Brian Wilson 88 is an incredible album, the REAL Brian Wilson comeback we all wanted. It's almost a continuation of Pet Sounds in a way. If I'd had to rate it, I'd probably place it number 4 on my favourite beach boys (related) albums.


Damn I just listened to this album 88 for the third time and it just clicked. It’s fucking great.


BW88 with Love You era vocals and production sounds like it would be pretty great, Love You in BW88 era a bit less so. I personally take production over songwriting most of the time, so Love You would have my vote overall (still, I don't mind BW88's style by any means). I do think Love You has more consistently good songs though, whereas BW88 is a bit more top heavy.


I think there is definitely a line from Love You to 88 but I would have to still keep Love You ahead. That said, if you re-did both with Pet Sounds-era Brian production they would be up there with the best of the best overall.


Unpopular opinion: The production of every beach boys/solo BW album from the mid 70s - the late 80s and most from the early 70s are horrendous. They could have had a lot more hits if not for the fucking awful production. Surf's Up, Love You, all albums that could have had hits if not for the terrible production. The parts that weren't bland as hell were piercing to the ears. Holland is probably the only exception. I can only listen to songs from that era in live versions/solo piano demos. For instance, Carl Wilson's live version of Long Promised Road or Brian's solo Love You demos sound amazing.


Them's fightin' words