Surf’s Up Songs Ranked

Surf’s Up is the 17th studio album by American rock band the Beach Boys, released August 30, 1971 on Brother/Reprise. It received largely favorable reviews and reached number 29 on the US record charts, becoming their highest-charting LP of new music in the US since 1967. In the UK, Surf’s Up peaked at number 15, continuing a string of top 40 records that had not abated since 1965. Two singles were issued in the US: “Long Promised Road” and “Surf’s Up”. Only the former chart, when it was reissued with the B-side “Til I Die” later in the year, peaking at number 89. In 1993, Surf’s Up was ranked number 46 in NME’s list of the “Top 100 Albums” in history. In 2000, it ranked number 230 in Colin Larkin’s All-Time Top 1000 Albums. As of 2021, it is ranked as the 761st highest-rated album of all time on Acclaimed Music. Session highlights, outtakes, and alternate mixes from the album were collected for the 2021 compilation Feel Flows. Here are all of Surf’s Up songs ranked.

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10. Take a Load off Your Feet

“I don’t know what message Brian and Al intended to get across with this song. Self care? I think they were going through the motions here, but “Take a Load Off Your Feet” is innocent enough that I can listen to it every now and then and feel warm, but also be reminded I never want to reach this level regression as a grown”

9. Lookin’ at Tomorrow (A Welfare Song)

“Lookin’ At Tomorrow” proves that Al is a more talented, if possibly more forgettable member of the band than Mike. It’s kind of an intersting track, but it goes nowhere. It does accomplish me imagining Al dressed as an old prospector from the 1850s as he sings it.”

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8. Disney Girls (1957)

“Disney Girls (1957)”. This is the only song title I’ve come across that tells me what year I’m supposed to associate it with when I listen to it. I dig that concept in theory, but the production of the song doesn’t sound like 1957. Also, Bruce just doesn’t do it for me, but this track has slightly grown on me.”

See more: The Beach Boys Albums Ranked

7. Student Demonstration Time

“Student Demonstration Time” I don’t need to get into how much of a stretch this song is lyrically. Not only is it hilarious in how tone deaf it is, it’s funny hearing Mike sing earnestly about Kent State. However, it’s not the subject matter or the vocal that makes this track an absolute waste of studio energy, it just sounds like utter shit.”

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6. Don’t Go Near the Water

“Don’t Go Near the Water” is the first of several tracks on this album that sound like how the album cover works. It has an interesting production quality, but ultimately is another example of how Mike and Al were inferior songwriters to the Wilson Brothers”

5. A Day in the Life of a Tree

“A Day in the Life of a Tree” is sung by Jack Rieley (the band’s manager), Van Dyke Parks, and Al Jardine. It feels like a sad children’s storybook song, and it’s brilliant.”

See more: The Beach Boys Songs Ranked

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4. Feel Flows

“I can totally use “Feel Flows” after the previous track. Like “Long Promised Road” this song is all over the place with no discernible genre, but it’s just so damn catchy, yet I don’t remember any of the lyrics once I stop listening to it. This may be one of the most intriguing Beach Boys tracks”

3. Long, Promised Road

“Long Promised Road” is an example of Carl doing what he loves: drawing inspiration from his eldest brother and belting out the chorus with his blue-eyed-soul delivery. I love that this track sounds like nothing else and the production is eclectic without being messy. The harmonies are also not your typical Beach Boys fare, but work well here.”

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2. ’til I Die

“‘Til I Die”, a melancholic rumination about one’s place in the universe which at times can’t help but sound like the last of Brian’s self-confidence and creative spirit slipping away into the void.”

1. Surfs Up

“While I prefer the inclusion and placement of “Surf’s Up” on the original The Smile Sessions recordings, it was during the recording of this album, that Al’s outro was added to the song, which added a haunting and eloquent message at the end of this already perfect song”