One Track Mind: The Beach Boys, “Do It Again” / “Wake The World” (1968)

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Having turned the pop universe on its ear with sun, surf and car anthems, the Beach Boys staged a daring detour in 1966 and began exploring other sonic realms. Instigated and conducted by Brian Wilson, the Hawthorne, California band shocked, stunned and startled listeners with their psychedelic symphonic productions.

Albums such as Pet Sounds and “Smiley Smile,” not to mention the awesome “Good Vibrations” single, viewed the group breaking barriers every which way. For a brief moment there, the Beach Boys changed or attempted to change their image from clean-cut young men, sporting short hair, striped-shirts, tennis shoes and flawlessly manicured fingernails, to artsy experimenters. Although critics and other musicians were impressed, the public at large was not buying, causing the band to lose commercial ground.

But come the summer of 1968, the Beach Boys reclaimed the airwaves by scoring a No. 20 hit with “Do It Again” (Capitol Records).

Set to a lolling beat swaying with ease, magnified by the group’s signature striking harmonies, the tipsy little ditty not only sounded like vintage Beach Boys, but the lyrics also revealed a longing for the past. An ode to girls they once knew, when life was simpler and hanging out at the beach and dancing was where it was at, “Do It Again” certainly suggests a yearning for the pre-hippy era. A sparkling innocence drives the doo-wop meets surf rock flavored effort, while the band’s performance is tight and energetic.

The flipside of “Do It Again” is pretty nifty as well. Soft, breezy and rather hypnotic, the sing-songy “Wake The World” blossoms with joy and optimism. A clingy melody further layers the track, and the group’s vocals a usual, are tuned directly to the spine-tingling spot on the dial.

Not the most ambitious or strongest offering in the band’s thick and amazing catalog, “Do It Again”/”Wake The World” still rates high on the catchy scale and is the perfect summertime single. The record promotes fun, love and life, and there is definitely nothing wrong with that.

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