Album Review: The Wilsons

The Wilsons, by the Wilsons

After the breakup of Wilson Philips after their unsuccessful sophomore album, the two Wilson sisters joined each other and their estranged father Brian Wilson and came up with a family group that released a studio album together in 1997 after releasing a Christmas album together. While this album was praised by critics, it was disastrously unsuccessful commercially, even more so than the previous album released by Wilson Philips. Naturally, the group broke up never to record anything else again, although the Wilson sisters did release material on their own and later came back to do cover albums and a Christmas album with Wilson Philips in the 2000’s and 2010’s. Does this album deserve to rest in obscurity? It should be noted that when I listened to this on Spotify that the album was so obscure that only five of the twelve songs on the album had any number of listens at all, with two of those just over 1,000 listens all time, one at around 3,000 all-time listens, and two songs that had been listened to a total of around 60,000 times apiece. This may be the most obscure album I have ever listened to.

The album begins with the single “Monday Without You,” which has catchy music and vocal harmonies and a theme of love and devotion. “Good About You,” is a peppy number that expresses the desire of the narrator to do things that make her feel about herself and her partner. “Miracle” is a beautiful song about the struggles of life and the folly of looking for a miracle in the midst of a troubled relationship. “Goddess’ Revival” seems to be one of those sacred feminine sort of songs about, well, revival, but it’s sweet enough sounding. “Candy” is a narrative song, with a bit of a nervous sound about it, and a message of daughter estranged from her father. “‘Til I Die” is a somewhat somber song with a nice bass groove and a lovely fiddle about being the same way for one’s whole life. “St. Joan” has somewhat nonsensical lyrics about someone whose grip on sanity appears to be slipping badly. “Open Door” is a lovely song that expresses the narrator’s devotion to someone who is not exactly behaving in an honorable fashion but who she leaves an open door to anyway. “I Hate Your Face” is a song about a breakup with some unfinished business involved. “Everything” is a song that seeks to appeal to a fairy tale vision of romance and happiness to the narrator even in the face of less than ideal circumstances. “Not Your Average Girl” expresses the narrator’s frustration with living inside the vision of a partner even if it doesn’t suit her and she struggles to be honest about her feelings. The album then ends with “Everything I Need,” a lovely song that has a lot of layers of instrumentation that attracted some harsh comments by drummer Hal Blaine.

This is a beautiful album that largely continues the trends of Wilson Philip’s sophomore album Shadows And Light in featuring gorgeous vocal harmonies, excellent production, and tackling of the difficult subjects of adult life and love. As was the case with Shadows and Light, to an even larger degree, though, no one seemed to want to listen to the Wilson sisters, with their father harmonizing on some of the tracks, singing adult alternative songs about relationship drama. And though this is a beautiful album to listen to and some of the songs are quite good, one cannot be a professional musical act if no one is willing to buy your music. It is to be regretted that this lovely album of beautiful songs remains among the most obscure albums ever to be released by a major label, especially with artists who between them had sold many millions of albums. It is hard to explain how this happened, but after the disastrous reception of this album, there was no question of the Wilsons making a follow-up album, and the Wilsons largely abandoned the attempt to make albums of original albums. After all, no one seemed to want that.

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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