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Brian Wilson’s Guest-Packed New Album Grew Out of Beach Boys Disappointment

Vince Bucci, Getty Images

Brian Wilson says he turned to a series of guest collaborators, many of them young female pop stars, to help jump start his muse after the Beach Boys‘ 2012 reunion tour came to an abrupt halt. In fact, Lana Del Rey ended up singing a song that deals directly with the issue, called ‘Last Song.’

“It was a shock,” Wilson says of his group’s latest split, in a new talk with Rolling Stone. “I was so proud of how the Boys were singing. Then it just ended.”

He found solace in new voices, among them Del Rey, Kacey Musgraves and Zooey Deschanel. Musgraves appears on a song called ‘Guess You Had to Be There.’ Deschanel worked with Wilson to complete ‘On the Island,’ which Rolling Stone describes as a “space-age bossa nova.” The as-yet untitled project also includes ‘Summer Means New Love,’ described as a remake of a mid-’60s-era instrumental; and an update of ‘Danny Boy’ from last year’s collaboration with Jeff Beck.

As details continue to emerge from these on-going sessions, we’re learning that Nate Ruess from fun. and Don Was are also on board. Frank Ocean added vocals to a song called ‘Special Love,’ though it’s unclear if that will make Wilson’s final track listing.

The album is being co-produced by Joe Thomas, a long-time Wilson collaborator. He did similar work on Wilson’s 1998 solo effort, ‘Imagination’ and co-wrote 11 of the 12 songs on the Beach Boys’ 2012 comeback ‘That’s Why God Made the Radio.’ He also ran the label that produced ‘Stars and Stripes Vol. 1,’ a 1996 project that saw Beach Boys re-recording some of their biggest hits with country artists.

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