That Lucky Old Sun - Brian Wilson
That Lucky Old Sun Image

Generally favorable reviews - based on 26 Critics What's this?

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Universal acclaim- based on 38 Ratings

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  • Summary: The ex-Beach Boys singer releases his latest solo album, which he produced himself.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 26
  2. Negative: 2 out of 26
  1. In many ways, Wilson updates his style, while still paying tribute to the things he loves.
  2. What makes the record work, though, is Wilson's ability to create melodies that blend the childlike and enthusiastic with the melancholic and nostalgic.
  3. That Lucky Old Sun lacks the magnificent shock of SMiLE, Wilson's 2004 completion of that '67 album. But it has a natural, hopeful flow that leaves you warm all over.
  4. Not only an opportunity to look back, then, but a joyous reminder that, when at his lowest, Brian Wilson stepped up and did the unthinkable.
  5. That Lucky Old Sun is a brave but failed attempt to add a new chapter to the ongoing story of a pop legend.
  6. For all its determined optimism That Lucky Old Sun ends up as more an affirmation of Mr. Wilson’s legacy than an expansion of it.
  7. Wilson continues to rehash southern California culture with increasingly less perspective, further eschewing the untamed adolescent aesthetic by including stuffy musical theater elements and a top-down point-of-view that’s more clumsy analysis than sincere memoir.

See all 26 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 21
  2. Negative: 2 out of 21
  1. Mar 6, 2013
    This is possibly Brian's best work. As always, it takes a number of listens. Why? Anything that simple is not. It is a simple lyric line. However, the melody is rich and complex. Just try to follow the chord progressions. They are more that great. They are spiritual. Additionally, there is a story line that loosely puts it the concept album category. Honestly, I like the album, but hate California. Expand
  2. BillT.
    Sep 16, 2008
    Sure, it's pop. But it is beautifully produced, pushes all the right emotional buttons and just plain old makes me feel happy listening to it. Especially driving along the PCH with the windows open. Expand
  3. DaveyT.
    Sep 2, 2008
    Beautiful, and deeply moving.
  4. JohnL.
    Sep 17, 2008
    This may actually deserve a "9", but I'm upping it to a "10". "SMiLE" was all it was cracked up to be, and as great as the work those original Beach Boys did on it in the 60's (I've heard loads of bootlegs), was a work, even though completed & gorgeously executed recently, that is truly from the 60's. "Brian Wilson", his solo effort from 1988, is his last great work of original material, & it suffered from productions issues. The two albums since then have suffered from production issues but been pretty lousy. "Imagination" is better than "Getting In Over My Head", but they both are well below par. "That Lucky Old Sun" carries with it the fine production feeling that was present on "SMiLE". It has 10 bon fide new original songs on it, and 7 are incredible, with the remaining three very good; so good that they would have been absolute highlights on either of his two sub par albums. The narratives are well written, and brief with fine musical backing, & the musical links that are less than complete songs, are even better than the narratives. I love the concept, and the carry out of the project even more. "Surprise" by Paul Simon remains my favorite album of the decade (& "SMiLE" would be up there too, even though it's truly an old album), and Paul McCartney's later career renaissance has spawned two great albums this decade (Chaos & Creation In The Backyard, & Memory Almost Full). This new Brian Wilson is his greatest new original work in 20 years, and it compares pretty favorably to those Macca efforts (though maybe not quite that great). Baring a barrage of great releases in the next two years, it will most probably be one of my ten favorite albums of this decade, and maybe one of my top five. A beautiful album indeed!! Blessings Of Love & Light!! Expand
  5. StuartP.
    Sep 3, 2008
    Smile crossed with Orange Crate Art- lushious!
  6. JamesB.
    Sep 11, 2008
    I wasn't expecting another "Smile", and sure enough "That Lucky Old Sun" doesn't compare, but having said that, I feel the new album (which I'm really surprised was even made, thinking Brian would understandably call it a career after finally realizing "Smile") is a wonderful, if anachronistic (it IS a "nostalgia album" afterall), collection of sun-soaked melodies, patented BW-harmonies, and fine musical arrangements. Brian's voice is pretty much shot at this point, but I think it adds to the pathos of his troubled life, and subsequent triumphant personal and artistic return. My favorite tracks are: "Midnight's Another Day" (a new Brian Wilson classic!), "Southern California" (beautiful tune; love the chorus), "Live and Let Live", "California Role" and "She's Forever My Surfer Girl" (admittedly, borderline cheesy, but Brian's earned the right to re-evoke, and bring full-circle, his 1963 classic). At 66, Brian Wilson still managed to give us one more great album, and I'm eternally grateful for that. Expand
  7. BrendanD.
    Sep 13, 2008
    Dreadful, dreadful, dreadful. Brian has, unfortunately, lost his ability to produce. Since his third comeback began around 1996 with the awful Don Was documentary "I Just Wasn't Made For These Times," Wilson's sound has become sanitized and boring, as if his orchestral overtones are being channeled through Oxycontin rather than LSD. The lyrics are, to be nice, tepid. The spoken-word interludes are embarrassing. The music has been done better by Brian, let alone about eighty other bands currently out there trudging along every day. It is a shame that Brian and WilsonCo. continue putting out record after record of schlocky, over-produced, nostalgia-laden manure like this. I'm thrilled that Brian has been able to overcome such adversity and mental illness; he's a great guy and one of the true heroes for any modern musician. But this record is crap. Expand

See all 21 User Reviews