I had been planning for months to post a speculative look at what might appear on “Made in California”, but I took too long, and now we have a firm release date and a tracklisting.
It’s first interesting to simply finally learn the nature of the set, as we hadn’t gotten much on details in the past year and a half. We got vague allusions to “career spanning”, “deep cuts”, etc. So what did we end up with? Something that does indeed generally resemble a “2.0” version of the 1993 “Good Vibrations” boxed set. A career-spanning selection of hits and other key tracks, plus interspersed rarities, culminating in a final disc of all unreleased material.
It’s fun to speculate on but impossible to know the presumably long list of criteria they used to compile the tracklisting. We know the actual band members were involved to some degree, whether simply okaying tracks, or suggesting tracks, or vetoing tracks. The compilers seem to have made a concerted effort to not duplicate too much from the “Good Vibrations” boxed set.
I also have a suspicion that they also considered what was already out there in “boot” land in good quality. I can’t imagine any reason for not putting anything from “Adult Child” on this set (other than a band member veto) other than someone stepping back and saying “well, the whole album is already out there in pretty good quality.” That’s not to say this set doesn’t include some previous booted material.
Internet discussion is the expected mix of wild extremes (e.g. “Be thankful for anything they give us” all the way to “this set sucks, there’s nothing new on it, I’m not buying it”). A lot of fans seem to be hung up on the idea that this set was supposed to be mostly or all rarities. Since nothing at all specific was officially announced previously, this attitude is a bit hard to justify.
I certainly would prefer 6 CD’s of all new material. I don’t need another copy of their several discs of greatest hits. But I also recognize that Capitol and the group would not have signed off on a 6-CD set of nothing but unreleased material. Capitol needs the hits on there to lure in “casual” fans, likely purchasing as a holiday gift. At least some of the band members likely needed to be given a “career spanning” vibe from the set to justify its release. Tell Mike Love you want to release 6 CD’s of often Dennis-centric and Brian-centric, previously unreleased material from what Mike probably feels is some of the darker eras of the band’s career, and that’s probably a tough sell. But put the set in a bright, sunshiney box and throw “Kokomo” and “Summer in Paradise” on there, put lots of recognizable surf and car song titles, call it “career spanning”, and then it’s easier to justify some unreleased stuff that leaves most everybody represented.
More comments to come……