The Beach Boys, 'Adult/Child' (1977)
After being sidelined for the first half of the seventies by metal illness and drug addiction, Brian Wilson was prodded out of hibernation in 1976 to resume his role as the Beach Boys' producer and resident genius. The resulting albums, 15 Big Ones (1976) and Love You (1977), weren't stellar, but the sessions reestablished his confidence. Wilson threw himself into his next project with a creative fervor rarely seen since his unfinished Smile sessions a decade earlier.
Adult/Child was Brian Wilson's attempt at making a big-band album, with swinging, brassy arrangements scored by Frank Sinatra's own arranger. Wilson's newfound élan is apparent on the album's opening track, "Life Is for the Living," featuring the unforgettable admonishment: "Life is for the living/Don't sit around on your ass/Smoking grass/That stuff went out a long time ago."
For all its ostentatious instrumentation, the songs on Adult/Child offer a surprisingly intimate glimpse of Wilson's days. Uptempo numbers like "H.E.L.P. Is on the Way" lament his "pudgy" frame, and "Lines" documents a mundane trip to the movies. Twin ballads "Still I Dream of It" and "It's Over Now" are as emotionally devastating as anything found on the second side of Pet Sounds.
The music was not well received by the band. Upon hearing the heavily orchestrated demos, Mike Love apparently turned to Wilson in utter disbelief and gasped, "What the fuck are you doing?" They rejected the music, and in its place released the much-maligned M.I.U. Album.