While the late '60s became a time for rock 'n' roll music to become louder and more brutal, The Beach Boys clung to their gentle emphasis on melody and vocal arrangements. In retrospect, their music remained true to their voices, and their albums from this era are criminally underrated. Dennis Wilson was emerging as a writer of consequence; his "Little Bird" and "Be Still" brought an added dimension just as Brian Wilson was about to take a sabbatical from being the group's main writer. Brian, however, was still deeply involved in the arrangements, and the wordless "Passing By" is every bit as profound as the songs with lyrics that he labored over for months (or farmed out to Van Dyke Parks). The title track is a sweet, catchy tune. "Anna Lee, the Healer" displays the members' peerless vocal harmonies. Influenced by bossa nova, "Busy Doin' Nothin'" evokes an era of far more innocence than 1968, while "Transcendental Meditation" (reflecting a serious interest of Mike Love's) suggests that the members were culturally aware, even if musically they stayed in their own world.

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