Renditions of eight rock classics join a half dozen new originals and 1970’s “Susie Cincinnati” on 15 Big Ones, the Beach Boys’ first studio album in more than three years. Marking the return of Brian Wilson as producer and performer, the disc profits from his genius but also suffers a bit from his idiosyncratic tendencies.
While his oldies arrangements prove consistently fascinating, for instance, they don’t always satisfy; and several of the new tunes, including “TM Song” and “It’s OK,” sound like unfinished ideas. “Everyone’s in Love with You,” however, boasts pensive Mike Love lyrics and vocals and delightful flute work by Charles Lloyd. And Brian’s “Had to Phone Ya” and “Back Home,” which recall the Friends/Smiley Smile era, are only two of the LP’s several other successes.