Mike Love: a steward of optimism

By David Beard

Some of The Beach Boys most well-known hit recordings are about some form of escapism or another. Not surprisingly, Mike Love’s new COVID-19-themed digital single is being offered up as a salve … something to possibly help us feel better for the time being. Our lives have dramatically changed, but Mike – true to his California-based roots and stewardship of optimism – offers up “This Too Shall Pass”; a rollicking barroom/sock hop time machine recording that harkens back to doo-wop with a grungy garage band honkytonk blues burst throughout.

Music director Scott Totten shared his thoughts on Mike’s writing process, and the intention of the recording.

Scott Totten: “Mike gets an idea and it germinates, he gets excited about it and works on it over and over and will call me. He kind of sang and spoke it over the phone. He called me a couple of days later and it was different. Once he finally got it worked out to his satisfaction he gave me some inspirational direction by telling me he was kind of feeling a Little Richard/Chuck Berry vibe, so we started with that.

“Maybe it’s a strange observation, but in a lot of ways some of Mike’s more recent compositions are almost rap or hip-hop in nature. If you think about the difference between the pop music of the 1960s and the hip-hop of today is there are about 10 times the amount of lyrics.

“Mike really wanted to say something … his intention is to remain optimistic. Let’s all hang in there together, we’ll get through the other side.”

One of the really notable moments on the song is the layered vocal hook of “let’s get back to having fun, fun, fun, in the sun” … The Hook, along with Scott’s electric guitar and Randy’s saxophone drives the track and provides a welcomed escape … unfortunately the song ends, and we find ourselves still in the midst of dealing with the pandemic. Thankfully, the message is eternal, and so is the music.

All royalties from “This Too Shall Pass” will go to Feeding America’s COVID-19 Response Fund to help food banks across the country as they support communities impacted by the pandemic. The fund will enable food banks to secure the resources they need to serve the most vulnerable people during this difficult time.

So, as the song says, “This Too Shall Pass.” I hope Mike is right, and we can get back to enjoying the music in a live setting with hundreds of fans singing along. Together.

“This Too Shall Pass” on Amazon

“This Too Shall Pass” on iTunes

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©2020 David Beard/All Rights Reserved

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