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Help me, Rhonda, help, help me, Rhonda, get this CD...out of my head. Brian Wilson takes one of the greatest love songs ever written and turns it into the Beach Boys singing “Little Saint Nick.” “They Can't Take That Away From Me,” George Gershwin's hall-of-fame American standard about lost love is simply trashed by Wilson's upbeat “reimagining.”

Who needs to hear Brian Wilson singing a Bossa Nova version of “'S Wonderful,” with his thin and tired voice, when Diana Krall already has set the bar for this arrangement far above his reach? Who needs to hear Brian Wilson singing bad karaoke versions of Porgy and Bess classics “Summertime” and “I Loves You Porgy,” sounding here like “In My Room”? Who needs a doo-wop version of “I've Got a Crush on You”?

There are two unique, unfinished Gershwin songs, “The Like in I Love You” and “Nothing but Love,” which Wilson was given permission to turn into new “Beach Boys–type” songs, and they aren't bad, but there is nothing to compare them to.

Brian Wilson and George Gershwin are both musical wonders, but as we learned in the Gulf of Mexico, oil and water don't mix.

  • Album: Brian Wilson Reimagines Gershwin (2010)
  • Artist: Brian Wilson
  • Label: Disney Pearl Series
  • Songs: (1) Rhapsody in Blue Intro (2) The Like in I Love You (3) Summertime (4) I Loves You Porgy (5) I Got Plenty O’ Nuttin’ (6) It Ain’t Necessarily So (7) 'S Wonderful (8) They Can't Take That Away From Me (9) Love Is Here to Stay (10) I've Got a Crush on You (11) I've Got Rythm (12) Someone to Watch Over Me (13) Nothing but Love (14) Rhapsody in Blue (Reprise)
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Mary Leary Sept. 23, 2010 @ 9:25 p.m.

Sounds like a train wreck - thanks for the warning!


mitchinam Sept. 25, 2010 @ 7:07 a.m.

This review is an exception to most. As music critique tends to be subjective; let's just say I (and the majority of other critics) disagree.

From the beautiful vocal harmonic arrangement of 'Rhapsody in Blue', to Brian's suprisingly nuanced vocal on 'I Loves You Porgy", to the infectious "Can't Take That Away From Me"; far from "trashing" Gerswhin; ReImagine resurrects George and Ira's classics and makes them sound fresh.

As to the reference to Diana Krall...hey, she's great, but do we really need to hear another "lounge music" version of Gerswhin? After all, the title of the C.D IS ReImagines; and Mr. Wilson has done that deliciously.

Listen to this C.D. thru twice; and you'll be hooked.


Alan Segal Sept. 27, 2010 @ 11:43 a.m.

Well mitchinam, you are right in one respect how one reacts to music just like visual art is truly subjective. But when you try to "reimagine" Classic songs that have become American standards and turn their poingant lyrics into Beachboys sounding drivel, you've commited a crime not a new creation.

What if cartoon artist RJ Crumb re-imagined the Mona Lisa or some French impressionist paintings, would you call that "delicious"?

I've been a fan of Wilson for a long time. But his voice is gone, and even auto tune, and studio wizardry can't make his version of "I loves You Porgy", listenable. You need to go back and listen to some of the great artist and singers of the past Ella, Frank,tony Bennet, etc. singing and interpreting the Gershwins. Then listen to Brian torturing these glorius melodies and lyrics. I'll take the United Airlines TV commercial, version of "Rhapsody in Blue" any day over Brian's stacked and over dubbed, familar vocal harmonies, replacing the instruments.

But I think it's more an age thing, especially with the critics you mention who liked this CD. I did read one positive review of this CD in "Rolling Stone" and it sounded like the reviewer, probably a 20 or 30 something had never heard the Gershwin standards and to him even Brian Wilson represented music from the distant past. So if you hear Gershwin for the the first time from Brian and have no Sinatra or Fitzgerald, or even a contemporary such as Michael Buble, renderings to compare Mr Wilson to, the CD is going to sound good, which is the magic of the Gershwin's art whoever practices it. But you can be sure jann Wenner, who is now close to 70, and heard the good stuff for his first exposure to the Gershwins, would not agree with his employee.

I did listen to it a second time as you suggested, and it was worse.


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