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The Beach Boys – Summer Day (& Summer Nights!!)

Bea Turner



It’s that funny time of year; the Wellington spring. Hints and teases of warmer weather cruelly punctuated by biting southerlies, or like today, a total shitfest of rainy squalor. Every year we go through this: will we or will we not actually be blessed with the season the rest of the world calls summer? Regardless of whether or not the sunny days actually eventuate, chances are that girls will still start wearing those ridiculous shorts, boys will start donning board shorts and jandals, we’ll all start drinking a lot more beer in daylight hours, just to kid ourselves, and we’ll also, like endearingly optimistic children, start having barbeques. These will be damp affairs most notable for the startling ratio of raw and bloody inner sausage to crispy black outer sausage, the number of relationships tested trying to light the barbeque, the fact that at about 8pm we’ll all remember what a fucking waste of time the whole thing is and head indoors to eat crisps and drink ourselves sensible, and crucially, that these excursions will be sound tracked exclusively by one of three albums: 1. Fat Freddy’s Drop. 2. The Black Seeds’ new album 3. That Conscious Roots compilation that I will take a hammer to if I have to suffer one more time at work. People seem to like playing these albums every waking breathing second of their lives. But particularly at barbeques. Here’s a notion: one of these albums was once OK until it was ruthlessly thrashed by every major radio station in the land. The other two are so harrowingly boring you don’t notice they’re playing. I’ll let you decide which is which. Meanwhile, it’s raining, I’m inside writing reviews and dreaming of a real summer, and y’know what I’m playing? The Beach Boys. If I was a cleverer writer than I am I’d find a way to mount a serious argument that Summer Days (& Summer Nights!!) is better than Pet Sounds. It’s probably not, but it contains my favourite Beach Boys song ever ‘Help Me Rhonda’, the immeasurably great ‘California Girls’, showcases the boys at their harmonizing best, is perfect proof of Brian Wilson’s utter pop genius, and reeks of sun and joie de vivre. If you’re going to pretend the Wellington summer is anything other than an annual disappointment, at least go all out with the self-deception.