Album Review: Stephen John Kalinich – A World of Peace Must Come

Poetry. Peace. Brian Wilson. What do these three have in common, you might wonder? The answer, friends, is Stephen John Kalinich, and the 1969 album A World of Peace Must Come.

Kalinich was an occasional songwriter with the Beach Boys, working particularly with Dennis Wilson, and Brian Wilson co-produced the album over the course of one night in his house, even playing on some of the tracks (such as organ on “Be Still”). Remarkably, these songs never saw the light of day until the release of A World of Peace Must Come last year.

An album of virtually all poems (“Walk Along With Love” is somewhat sung as opposed to the recitation of other songs), Kalinich’s dreamy yet grounded lines are backed by mostly sparse instrumentation, acoustic guitars here and there, the aforementioned Wilsonian organ. It’s not the easiest listen initially, it’s a little roughly edited at times, and you might feel inclined to write off Kalinich’s poetry as hippie dippy pipe dreams (what, with lines like “be still and know that life is beautiful”). But give it a second listen and you’ll discover it’s actually rather good, idealistic but not naively so, especially if you stop and consider that nearly 40 years later, we’re still deeply entrenched in a world of war. Given the gloomy alternative, Kalinich’s pleas for peace and love and happiness sure do seem like ideals to strive for.

mp3: Be Still


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