Music Review: Brian Wilson–“In the Key of Disney” (2011)

by on July 28th, 2010
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It’s been a generation now since Brian Wilson began his comeback from the precipice of destruction through mental illness and drug abuse. For 20 years, fans have watched him step by step come to terms with his place as one of the great producer/songwriters of his generation. He is settling now into a nice groove with albums that showcase his arranging and producing abilities.

His album, “Imagining Gershwin” (2010) and his newest one “In the Key of Disney”, have taken songs that is a part of American musical history. For the 70- year old Wilson, this seems to be a comfortable fit. The Gershwin album showed Wilson in a light that was different, but very natural. He does a similar job with the Disney album. You don’t think of Wilson as a guy who would do a sound track, but like Elton John (who he covers on, “Can You Feel The Love Tonight”) once you hear it, you wonder what took him so long.

Anyone who is familiar with Disney will recognize most of these songs and they all have a comfortable feel to them and Wilson, who vocally sounds great here, delivers a nice laid back vibe. Since there are no surprises here, the real reason to listen to this album is the arraignments the ideas that he brings musically. His version of “Bare Necessities” is great with its marimbas and banjo. Two other highlights are “Baby Mine”, and “When You Wish Upon A Star” (stunning harmonies).

Fans of Wilson will find this a pleasing album, but if you haven’t bought “Imagining Gershwin” I’d get that first. Fans of Disney will find this a nice sidepiece to the actual soundtracks.

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