Wilson Phillips

Wilson Phillips

SBK Records, 1990


REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


I guess it's time for one more tale of impulse buying and the Pierce Archives - this time, a recent example. Every year, I live for a huge sale that the used record store in my neighborhood holds. It's so cool; tapes at five for 93 cents, CDs at 93 cents... it's a music junkie's dream. (It's also crowded as hell; if you dare move away from the table you're at, you won't get close to it for a long time.)

This past year, while grabbing through the tape bins, I happened to grab the debut album from Wilson Phillips... though at the time, I wasn't sure why I did. Maybe it was because I thought Mrs. Pierce would dig it... or maybe it was because I'd give anything a chance for about 20 cents. (I knew some of Wilson Phillips' music, though I could not say that I particularly enjoyed it on glancing listens.)my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

So, the tape sat in the Pierce Archives since this past August - actually a short wait, compared to some of the things I've bought over the years - and finally dusted it off. And, to my surprise, I discovered there was some substance to this group; Wilson Phillips is a very enjoyable album.

Sure, you could argue that this teaming of Wendy and Carnie Wilson (daughters of Beach Boy Brian Wilson) and Chynna Phillips (daughter of John & Michelle Phillips of The Mamas & The Papas) is rather lightweight material; I'm sure they would even admit that their goal was to create light, enjoyable pop music like their parents did. Thing is, this material has enough catchy edges and choruses to keep your interest through almost the entire album (thanks in part, no doubt, to the production hand of Glen Ballard).

I count five singles from the ten songs that make up Wilson Phillips, and most of these, even eight years after their release, are pretty good. "Hold On" is the defining moment for the album, setting the tone for what was to come as well as letting the listener know that all they have to do is sit back and enjoy the ride. Other singles like "Release Me," "You're In Love" and "The Dream Is Still Alive" all continue the happy journey in popland. I'm sure their poppas were proud.

But some of the songs that didn't get the radio attention are the ones that impress me more. "Over And Over" and "Ooh You're Gold" easily could have been candidates for radio oversaturation, and might surprise even the hardest of hearts at how good these tracks are.

Weaknesses? Wilson Phillips has only two that I can find. "Eyes Like Twins" is the only moment I could classify as being pure cornball; this track just doesn't succeed for me on many levels. And while I'm sure it was a good idea at the time, hearing yet another version of "Reason To Believe" just seems like overkill after living with Rod Stewart's versions all these years.

Still, these are small points of contention, and they don't take away from the overall excellence of Wilson Phillips. Sure, this group got critically lambasted when they were together. Well, here's one critic who's willing to admit that maybe - just maybe - we critics were wrong all along about Wilson Phillips.

Rating: A-

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 1998 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of SBK Records, and is used for informational purposes only.