The Beach Boys, Spirit Of America

Lenny Kaye

By Lenny Kaye

on 05.18.11 in Reviews

Spirit Of America

Beach Boys
A cultist’s delight

There weren't many hits left over after Endless Summer had gotten first dibs on the Beach Boys catalog, but its chart dominance was so inescapable that there was little doubt a follow-up would soon be forthcoming from Capitol. Which makes Spirit of America a cultist's delight, most especially for the inclusion of its title cut, a tribute to land-speed record holder Craig Breedlove that could easily be overlooked on its original album. Other worthies include "The Little Girl I Once Knew," (with its unheard-of mid-song silences) and "Break Away." The title is significant as well, since a large part of the Beach Boys' appeal was their embodiment of the promise of mid-twentieth century America, unbounded and ever idealistic. Where there's a choice between the truth and the myth, print the myth.