After gaining control of the Beach Boys' entire catalog (including all the band's post-1969 material), Capitol released two-fers covering their out-of-print '70s records and a Brian Wilson-selected compilation titled Classics, then later, this hits compilation -- the longest single-disc American collection ever seen. With all but five tracks coming from their 1962-1969 peak, and every one a Top 40 hit, Sounds of Summer: The Very Best of the Beach Boys is also the best, a worthy digital-age successor to previous classics like Endless Summer and Greatest Hits, Vol. 1. Though the songs don't appear in chronological order, the compilers improved the concept of a hits compilation by bunching the disc into mini-sets -- one of classic adolescence songs ("Be True to Your School," "When I Grow Up [To Be a Man]," "In My Room"), one of surfing songs ("Surfin' Safari," "Surfin' U.S.A.," "Surfer Girl"), one of frat-boy classics ("Dance, Dance, Dance," "Barbara Ann"), and another including selections from their masterpiece Pet Sounds ("God Only Knows," "Sloop John B," "Wouldn't It Be Nice"). Nearly any compilation on an important artist can be argued, but it's the rare one that covers as many bases and leaves out so few classics as Sounds of Summer: The Very Best of the Beach Boys.
The overall effect of this thirty-track overview of the Beach Boys' career is similar to that of the Beatles' 1: Both compilations strive to blow you away with the sheer amount of hit singles at hand, and both succeed.
[The disc's] track listing [is] heavily weighted toward 1962 through 1967, when the Beach Boys were responsible for quite possibly the greatest run of hit singles in rock history.