Sweet Insanity

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Sweet Insanity
The cover of Sweet Insanity's promotional cassette acetates which include a provisional track listing
Studio album by Brian Wilson
Released 1991 (1991) (unofficial cassette acetate)
Recorded 1986 (1986)–1990 (1990)
Genre Rock
Label Sire/Reprise/Warner Bros. (rejected)
Brian Wilson recording chronology
Brian Wilson
Sweet Insanity
I Just Wasn't Made for These Times

Sweet Insanity is an unissued Brian Wilson album that was originally planned for release in 1991.[1] Wilson has said that the master tapes were stolen, preventing an official release, although the songs are available on numerous bootlegs. Five of the songs were rerecorded over a decade later and released on Wilson’s 2004 album, Gettin' in Over My Head,[2] although some critics believed the remakes weren't as good as the originals. Sweet Insanity is one of the more sought-after bootleg albums.[3]


Initially entitled Brian, the album was intended to be a follow up to his 1988 solo debut, Brian Wilson. During this stage in Wilson’s life, he was under the care of psychologist Dr. Eugene Landy, who was known for his unconventional 24-hour therapy. Landy was micro-managing Wilson's life, including his creative career, and became Wilson's primary collaborator. The pair had collaborated on Wilson's first solo album as well.[2]

Sweet Insanity only exists on physical media as a promotional cassette acetate manufactured for Brains & Genius, Wilson's and Landy's production company. The cassette lists the album title in caps (SWEET INSANITY). (The actual cassette was presumably manufactured by Warner Bros. Records; The cassette tape uses Warners' clear shell and typeface) and carries a 1991 copyright date. The cassette includes two bonus tracks: (CD Bonus/"Country Feelin'" and Single, B-Side/"Hotter"). It's unclear whether this particular cassette contains the first or second iteration of the album.[citation needed]


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 2/5 stars[4]

The recordings from the album's sessions were generally criticised by fans and critics as being sub–par[5] and they were ultimately rejected by his label Sire. However, the album is not without media fans. Brett Milano called it "a brilliant album" in the Boston Phoenix. "For the first time since ''Til I Die', he's writing directly about his breakdown and recovery...Landy may have written these lyrics, but it hardly matters; Wilson didn't write the lyrics to Pet Sounds either." Milano later labeled it one of Wilson's best post-'60s albums. Jackson Griffith praised it in Tower Records' Pulse magazine, calling it "easily the finest, most consistently satisfying Wilson disc since The Beach Boys' Sunflower. He's still got it." Bill Holdship championed the album in both BAM and MOJO magazines.[1] The Detroit News' Susan Whitall and Entertainment Weekly's Dave DiMartino praised the album in their publications, and it appeared on several 1991 year-end poll lists.[citation needed]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks, listed alphabetically, were recorded between 1986–1990 and produced by Wilson and Landy, unless otherwise noted.[2]

  1. "Concert Tonight"♢
  2. "Don't Let Her Know She's An Angel"♦
  3. "Do You Have Any Regrets?"[a]
  4. "Hotter"[b]
  5. "Let's Stick Together"♦[c]
  6. "Love Ya"[d]
  7. "Make A Wish"♦
  8. "Rainbow Eyes"♦
  9. "Save The Day"♦[e]
  10. "Smart Girls"[f]
  11. "Someone To Love"[g]
  12. "Thank You" (aka "Brian")
  13. "The Spirit of Rock'n'Roll"[h]
  14. "Water Builds Up"[i]
  • All tracks marked ♢ remain unreleased.
  • All tracks marked ♦ were re-recorded for the 2004 album Gettin' In Over My Head.

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ A cover version was independently released by Wilson's bandmate Darian Sahanaja
  2. ^ Recorded between 1987–1988, produced by Brian Wilson and Russ Titelman
  3. ^ Featuring "Weird Al" Yankovic on accordion, and retitled "The Waltz" in 2004.
  4. ^ Originally recorded as "Sweetie" in the early 1980s, then re-recorded between 1987–1988, produced by Brian Wilson and Russ Titelman.
  5. ^ Rerecorded with new lyrics and renamed "Fairy Tale" in 2004.
  6. ^ A rap sound featuring samples from well known Beach Boys songs. was sent out to radio stations and journalists as a promotional cassette tape but officially remains unreleased.
  7. ^ Deriving a melody from his younger brother Dennis' "San Miguel" from some twenty years back.
  8. ^ Features Bob Dylan on co-lead vocals; recorded between August 1986–January 1987, produced by Brian Wilson and Gary Usher; re-recorded for the 2006 Beach Boys album Songs From Here & Back
  9. ^ Features the same verse melody as "Let's Go To Heaven In My Car".
  1. ^ a b Holdship, Bill (September 1996). "Brian Wilson: The Story of Sweet Insanity". Rock's Backpages Library. Retrieved September 13, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c Doe, Andrew Grayham. "UNRELEASED". Endless Summer Quarterly. 
  3. ^ Milano, Brett. "Old school: Ringo Starr and Brian Wilson". Boston Phoenix. Retrieved September 13, 2012. 
  4. ^ Greenwald, Matthew. "Review: Sweet Insanity". Macrovision Corporation. Retrieved 28 August 2009. 
  5. ^ "The Beach Boys - Solo and Outside Works". http://www.h2g2.com. Mar 19, 2001. Retrieved September 13, 2012.