Wilson Phillips

Posted November 19, 2008 in Arts & Culture

Wedged somewhere between the newly-emerging 1990s grunge scene and gangsta rap, the daughters of power-pop pioneers Brian Wilson and John Phillips joined forces in a touchy-feely girl group that momentarily rode the coattails of late ’80s singer-songwriter icons Tracey Chapman and Natalie Merchant—and certainly channeled the Bangles. While Carnie, Wendy and Chynna did not imbue their material with the issue-oriented depth of Chapman and Merchant, they did add more pop flare and lushy, harmonizing vocals—an idea they touted as a tribute to their fathers’ legendary groups, the Mamas and the Papas and the Beach Boys. And they struck gold.


By capitalizing on heart-torn tales and inspirational lyrics geared toward the female set—and putting Chynna out in front to snare some wary males—the lassies achieved three number one hits (“Hold On,” “Release Me” and “You’re in Love”) as well as one or two other respectably placed cuts. Still, it was a brief flash for the girls—who were often mercilessly skewered by SNL and other outlets—and as music moved on to harder guitars and fuzzier rifts, the trio was left in the dust almost as quickly as they’d been picked up. And it’s a shame. Saccharine though they may have been, they were certainly as talented as any American Idol-player, and had the pedigrees that portended great things. Maybe their time is now. Their California release this year of sugared-up cover songs is shamefully catchy. Chalk it up as a guilty pleasure, maybe, and lower your blinds. (Stacy Davies)


Wilson Phillips at Morongo Casino Resort Spa, 49750 Seminole Dr., Cabazon, (800) 252-4499; www.morongocasinoresort.com. Saturday, November 22, 8PM, $30-$45


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