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Some people only know the Beach Boys as the all-american boy band who sang Good Vibrations and Californian Girls, well they did sing those and great pop songs they are too, but this album for me really sums up the enduring appeal of their music and the outstanding songwriting and arrangement of the exceptionally talented Brian Wilson. Released in 1966 by Capitol Records this was the groups 11th Studio album and was created in an atmosphere of creativity, tension and a new direction for their music. Inspired by the success and the brilliance of the Beatles 'Rubber Soul' Album, Brian Wilson quit touring and put all of his energy into musical arrangement and writing. This would be his masterpiece. In many ways the album was a double edged sword for the band, due to the massive change of direction, they alienated an awful lot of fans and this wasn't a huge seller on release, it is now widely acknowledged as one of the greatest albums of all time and has sold fantastically since. The album has also been credited by George Martin as having forced the Beatles to up their game even further and create 'Sergeant Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band', you can only look back on that era of two such creative forces inspiring and pushing each other to create such marvellous music. The album took the traditional Beach Boy harmonies and layered them even further to create deep, melodic music, Wilson used harpsichords, bells, sound effects and even animals to add texture and purpose to the music, but the outstanding things are the vocals, words and the arrangement The album is peppered with classic tunes but for me, the stand out songs are: Wouldn't it be nice - A fantastic melodic song which everyone knows, it builds and drops, Mike Love's voice sounds great and the harmonies are some of the best ever recorded to record, this is an exceptionally well crafted song. You still believe in me - A beautiful song, filled with pathos, this took the band in a totally new direction and is so subtle and lovely, the band sound amazing. I just wasn't made for these times - Brian Wilson on lead vocals, this is utterly heartbreaking when we review the breakdowns that would subsequently affect his life, his voice is pained, beautiful and vulnerable, the words are amazing, the arrangement is stunning, this is one of the greatest songs i've ever heard, its fragile and as powerful as a lion in the same breath. God Only Knows - Widely accredited as the greatest song this band ever made and one of the greatest of all time, this is a classic. Composed by Brian Wilson and sung by his brother Carl, the lyrics are by Tony Asher, this song is incredibly well produced, the layers of harmony cut off by the vocal, it is a deep song and incredibly emotional it is a masterpiece and one of my favourite songs ever, it doesn't age at all because the message and quality are timeless. The rest of the album is superb with well crafted pop songs, Sloop John B, Pet Sounds and Caroline No are great songs, but all are real treats. I would recommend this to anyone, its available on Amazon for £5.87 and is worth so much more than that, it is an album that helps you really appreciate music, just as the Beach Boys grew up with this album, it is a great transition for any music fan from kids music to adult music.
If you have even a passing interest in 60's music you've surely heard of Pet Sounds. It is the legendary masterpiece crafted together by a 23 year old Brian Wilson who wanted to make an album that was "All good, no filler," and this is the result. This album features in every list of greatest ever albums and rightly so. So what can first time listeners expect from Pet Sounds? The short answer would be beautiful vocals placed over complex arrangements of some of the best songs ever written. The tracks are far from the usual format of verse, chorus, verse, chorus, verse with a key change affair. A feature of Brian Wilson's song writing is that he is a master of both the bridge and the tag. Who can forget the bridge to Wouldn't it Be Nice or the tag to God only Knows. Incredible and memorable bridges and tags are heard throughout Pet Sounds and that's what forces so much melody and variety into the songs here. Actually it's not just here that Brian displays this, it is evident throughout the Beach Boys back catalogue but it all works perfectly on Pet Sounds as a whole and that's what makes it their best. If Pet Sounds was recorded in the digital age it would be possible to believe that Brian listened to the album a thousand times each time adding something new, a bit of sleigh bells here more snare on the drums there and a little more volume on the bass harmonica to give it more prominence. But such luxuries for editing didn't exist at the time so what you hear is what was played. The thing about Pet Sounds is that there is always something new to hear even when you think you're familiar with it. Brian says that it is best to listen to Pet sounds wearing headphones in the dark so you can hear everything. He's wrong, you'll never quite hear everything, not all at once anyway. That is the only thing he does get wrong though. All through this album each and every choice he makes is so very right. For me everything within Pet Sounds fits perfectly as one work, one complete thought. There are those that think Sloop John B doesn't fit onto this album. Maybe that is because they are of the mistaken belief that it is a concept album about love. Although love is the main theme running through the album the concept as such is the production techniques used rather than any subject matter within. I can't do a song by song account because my words could never do any of them justice. I'll simply say that for me there is no real highlight of the album in terms of a single stand out track. The sum of the parts when as fantastic as this equals perfection to these ears. If you backed me into a corner and threatened bodily harm upon me if I didn't' answer your question then I'd say God Only Knows. Maybe familiarity has lessened its impact for most but give it a listen where it belongs on Pet Sounds it will feel like new. As for the mono/stereo question, well I always listen to it in stereo when I am wearing headphones because the sound opens up and sounds more spacious. If I'm blasting it out from speakers though I'll listen to the mono version so I hear it just as Brian would have liked me to. There are slight differences between mono and stereo the most obvious being the stereo tag to God Only Knows having a single tracked Carl singing the first line, Bruce Johnson on the answer vocal and Brian doing the falsetto. In mono, there is no Carl and instead we two Brian vocals, one on the first line and the other doing the falsetto just like we did on the original vinyl. This is indeed my favourite album of all time and even 20 years after I bought my first copy there is rarely a week that goes by without my needing another listen. I believe that it does need to be listened to with fresh ears. Pet Sounds loses something if you listen to it after some hard rock. It's a little like trying to enjoy expertly cooked French cuisine immediately after a Vindaloo. You just can't pick out the subtle flavours and if you miss the subtleties you miss what makes it so great in the first place.
In the mid-1960s, at the height of the Beach Boys' touring phenomenon, lead inspiration Brian Wilson decided he was going to stop touring to concentrate more on writing and creating music than playing it to the thousands of fans the band had made around the world. While this caused friction among the band, the result was the phenomenal Pet Sounds, an album largely created by Brian with the talents of the band focused on in every track. It has been hailed as one of the most influential albums of its time, and it is said to be the most critically acclaimed album ever. These are the tracks: Wouldn't It Be Nice You Still Believe In Me That's Not Me Don't Talk (Put Your Head On My Shoulder) I'm Waiting For The Day Let's Go Away For Awhile Sloop John B God Only Knows I Know There's An Answer Here Today I Just Wasn't Made For These Times Pet Sounds Caroline, No Of these tracks, five were released as singles, and all did relatively well. The feel-good Sloop John B and the emotional God Only Knows have made it onto nearly every 'Best Of' album of the Beach Boys, while the probing and thoughtful Wouldn't It be Nice is one of my favourite Beach Boys tracks of all time. I highly rate this album. You can see the effort and work put in by Brian Wilson, and the contributions by the other band members, in the construction of the album. There are no weak points in the album in terms of musical quality. Ranging opinions will tell you how much people like the tracks, but in terms of quality, there's is no denying this is excellent work. Up until Pet Sounds, the Beach Boys had been all about appealing to a younger, more surfy generation on the West Coast of the US, singing about cars and girls and surfing. What Brian Wilson wanted to achieve while the rest were still touring was an undeniable universal album, still retaining the Beach Boys sound but giving a different aspect and look to their music to appeal to a wider audience, thus increasing their success. Pet Sounds hailed a kind of new beginning in lots of ways for the Beach Boys. It caused disagreements and rifts between some of the band members, with lead vocalist Mike Love notoriously at loggerheads with Brian throughout the years due to Brian's scripting clashing with what Mike wanted to sing. The harmonies were in the sounds, not backstage! I have long been a Beach Boys fan, but curiously had only really heard their single releases in 'Best Of' albums until I picked this up about 10 years ago. I was taken aback by the talents at work, and it has in fact prompted me to examine bands in more detail if I like them. If you can get hold of a copy of this, it's something worth having in your collection as an iconic album, and while it was the band's 11th studio album, it stands out above most of their efforts. A thumbs up from me.
During my early teenage years, my taste in music, (much like my moods), changed incredibly frequently, so much so that I began to feel like nothing was really getting through and relating to me personally, from a point of view that I could understand. Then I saw a show on television regarding the 'social and cultural revolution' of the 1960's, and the album rated as the best on a list of the greatest of that decade was Pet Sounds by the Beach Boys. I had heard some of the songs in passing, such as 'Wouldn't It Be Nice', and 'God Only Knows', but had never been able to visualise The Beach Boys as anything more than a group created to generate audiences of screaming teenage girls. However, after seeing some of my supposed musical icons rating the album as their inspiration, I began to realise that there must be more to this band then meets the eye. It was then that I jumped over the hurdle that I believe many people of my generation have never even attempted, and bought an album by The Beach Boys. From the moment I sat down and listened to the music, I felt like I had found what I had been looking for, direction. Since then I have explored so many different types of music that I would have previously ignored, and come to find that there are so many things out there waiting to be found and appreciated. Now as a young man, I can look back and attribute this change in attitude not only towards music, but the way I thought and acted, to my reaction to this album. Therefore I can truly say that Pet Sounds changed my outlook on life. However, there is the question that my admiration and affection towards this album are due to my discovering it at a time when I was open and waiting for a major influence to hit me, and in reviewing it I am letting my memories of this time cloud my judgment today. The fact that I can listen to it now, and still feel like I did the first time I put in my CD player can be either evidence of this, or evidence that it is in fact a tremendous piece of music. I will let you decide that, and allow you to read this review with that context in mind, should you so wish. Pet Sounds was the brainchild of Beach Boys leader Brian Wilson, who at the time of writing and production was exploring new ideas in song writing, recording, and producing. Having left the touring band citing the pressures of travel as being too great, he set about perfecting his creative musical output, and in 1966 recorded an album with The Beach Boys which many consider the peak of his, and the other members of the group's career. The impact of the record was massive. Already very well known, the Beach Boys popularity soared, as did their influence. Many, including Paul McCartney have stated that Pet Sounds prompted them to record better and more creative material themselves. Encouraged by the success of the album, Brian Wilson attempted to produce even more creative and challenging music, a process which was undoubtedly a contributing factor to his well-documented decline. The music itself features a large amount of childlike wistfulness and hope, both lyrically and musically. This provides a clear contrast with the very adult themes surrounding groups in the sixties at this time, such as experimentation with drugs and spirituality. However, this is not in any way a happy go lucky piece of psychedelic pop. The words sung are expressed in such complex and beautiful harmonies, and the music is arranged so precisely and suitably that the professionalism and efforts of Brian, and everybody featured on the tracks must be applauded. 'Wouldn't it be nice' is a wonderful opener, and immediately displays the high level of musical harmony, and innocent lyrics present throughout the rest of the album. 'You still believe in me' is a slower number, contrasting brilliantly with the opening song, featuring Brian singing lead in a subtle and touching manner, and ending with gentle harmony. 'That's not me' is the first song to feature Mike Love on full lead vocal, and he displays his considerable talent for timing, accompanied by quiet harmony, picked twelve-string guitar, and a stop-go percussion (for want of a better phrase). 'Don't talk (put your head on my shoulder)' is another slower song featuring Brian on lead vocal. The gentle quality of his singing voice makes the lyrics sound heartbreakingly honest, and the accompanying string backing (viola, cello etc) adds to the sadness of the song. 'I'm waiting for the day' has Brian on lead, with very prominent harmony featuring in most of the song, which has a very loud-quiet-loud format with slower and quieter passages suddenly exploding into very refreshing louder, fuller, and more joyful sections. 'Let's go away for awhile' is a transitional and gentle instrumental, and fits in perfectly with the rest of the album. 'Sloop John B' is a far more folk orientated song, with both Brian Wilson and Mike Love contributing vocals. Whilst the genre of the song is different from the rest of the album, the complex and accurate harmonies make the song fit in far better than many give it credit for. 'God Only Knows' has Brian's younger brother Carl on lead vocal. Apparently Brian attempted it first, but thought that Carls voice fitted the song better, as it had a 'sweeter' quality to it. Whatever the reason, it sounds incredible, and the song puts across feelings of love and affection that I believe have been unmatched in any attempted love song since. 'I know there's an answer' is another song with Mike Love on lead, and adds a slightly more frustrated feeling to proceedings lyrically, but at the same time provides a joyful musical backing which results in a fantastic song to sing along to at the top of your voice! 'Here today' has Love on lead again, this time with a song appearing to advise the listener not to fall in love too quickly, as it can be a very temporary feeling. The harmonies in the chorus sections are simply stunning. 'I just wasn't made for these times' sounds like a very personal song by Brian, reflecting his thoughts and feelings about various people at the time he was creating Pet Sounds. This is the only song ever made in which the line "Sometimes I feel very sad", could be put across so believably, and once again the harmonies add to the depth and quality of the song. 'Pet sounds' is another instrumental, and slightly quirkier than the last, as it features a reverb guitar as the lead instrument. Interestingly, it was apparently intended by Brian to be a James Bond theme. Finally 'Caroline No' for me represents everything that is great about Brian Wilson. With a subtly arranged backing accompanying beautifully sad lyrics describing loss, longing, and disappointment, It is hard to understand just how good this song is until you have listened to it a few times, and properly let it sink in. For me it is the best track on the album. After listening to Pet Sounds, I moved on to other Beach Boys records, and found so many more great songs and albums, particularly Sunflower. However, I would recommend newcomers to The Beach Boys to listen to this first, as it allows you to fully appreciate the context of the later albums. Had Brian Wilson managed to hold himself together and move onwards from this to record Smile completely in 1967, 'God Only Knows' how high The Beach Boys career peak would have been. As it is, this is the highest that they managed to get, and is still in my eyes, the greatest album ever made.
Pet Sounds remains one of the most music changing albums of our time along with The Beatles-Sgt Peppers. Brian, as ever influenced by Lennon and McCartney spent 2 months on and off with Tony Asher on this project laying down the instrumental tracks in the first 2 weeks. The album starts off with the pleasing Wouldn't It Be Nice, then moves into the moody You Still Believe In Me, the up-tempo That's Not Me jars uncomfortably with Brian's epic melancholy Don't Talk (Put your head on my shoulder). I'm Waiting For The Day and Lets Go Away For Awhile finds Brian in reflective mood while Sloop John B and God Only Knows show that Brian can appeal to the masses , both being top 5 hits. I Know There's an Answer and Here Today are both very clever pop songs showing off the classic Beach Boys harmony but the real masterpiece of the album is the almost suicidal I Just Wasn't Made For These Times which ironically shows Brian totally unaware of his genius. The album finishes with the instrumental Pet Sounds, a thoroughly adept piece of lift muzak never bettered and Caroline No, a song written for and about his then wife Marilyn. Pet Sounds changed the way I myself looked at music and certainly changed the progression of modern conceptual music forever. Brian was and still remains one of the very few artists deserving of the label "genius".
I am, as I think a few of you may have noticed, quite young. Far too young, in fact, to have a proper opinion about this album. The Beach Boys belong to a time that I will never be able to properly understand, or experience. From what I hear, back in the 60's when they were performing and doing their darndest to outplay the Beatles (incidentally, what a time that must've been, to have The Beatles and The Beach Boys and The Rolling Stones competing for your attention. All we get now is Rhiana vs Amerie vs Ciara, and I think we're poorer for it.) The Beach Boys belong to a period of time, I like to imagine, when people only lived in straw huts by the seaside, when the day was spent sat round a camp-fire, smoking varying substances of dubious nature and playing folk music on a battered old banjo. If you remember the 60's, you're probably laughing at how very wrong that description is - after all, who plays the banjo? - and you're now trying to remember what it was really like. Lucky you. I'm always going to be slightly jealous that I never got to see the birth of popular music in Britain, that I wasn't around to call Dylan a Judas because he started playing electric guitar, or being shocked by the punk set. I wasn't even old enough for Beck and Nirvana to take over and endorse slacker-rock, which is something I feel I could have wholeheartedly got behind. I've inherited a rich musical culture, with so much going on, that it is inevitable that I will never be able to comprehend music itself. Which brings me to Pet Sounds. The Beach Boys, as I hope you know, comprised of the Wilson brothers alongside various other names, including evil Mike Love (I don't exactly know why he's evil, but I've learnt that it makes you look good in front of music shop owners if you say he is), who were performing, as their name suggests, music about beaches and surfing and happy times. Their music was simple but enjoyable, and Pet Sounds has consistently been put in lists of the greatest albums ever, the most important albums ever, and so on. I can't see why. It's blasphemy to say it, and I bow down before you all now in apology, but I can't see what makes Pet Sounds the praised vessel it is. This surely, must be because of my times. When it was released, it was the 60's, things were different, attitudes were different, you could leave your house open during the day without risk of burglary and you could buy enough petrol to last you a year with just a handful of rusty coins. I live in a different age, where everything has already happened. The Beach Boys have been followed by countless other bands which has been inspired by them - The Shins, one of my favourite bands, are certainly in this category - and as such, their music, which was innovative and exciting back then, now sounds drained. Not to say this isn't a good album - it's alright, it's listenable, there's nothing to pick at, but music has moved on from this period now and left Pet Sounds behind. As an album, it's one of the most inspiring ever, I'll give you that. But it's not the greatest. There's a tendency for people to believe that nothing released recently has been any good, and that the golden age of music has come and gone. That's not true. Music is still building on history and new stuff is emerging all the time, music that takes tracks from bands like the Beach Boys and reworks them, provides them with a new energy. I would say that if the Beach Boys were to release Pet Sounds for the first time now, it would not get noticed. Musically, it fits somewhere below Athlete, who are unapologetic in their use of the mood and hooks of Brian Wilson's gang. In fact, I prefer Athlete; who have been wrongly overlooked recently as one of the finer pop bands in the British Isles. Saying this is, I imagine, a bad move, and I'll say now that there are songs which stand up to repeated listening and have lasted. It's not all dull - for Christ's sake, the album contains "God Only Knows", one of the most beautiful and moving ballads ever written! It's starts with "Wouldn't It Be Nice"! I will defend these songs with my dying breaths as classics, songs worthy of their immortality. Yet the rest of the album wholeheartedly fails to keep up with these songs. Whilst Wouldn't It Be Nice is a pounding pop monster, bouncing along unstoppably until it reaches the end, "You Still Believe In Me" has a slow, plodding pace, with barely-there background music, and "I'm Waiting for the Day" builds up to a stunningly poor chorus, which totally fails to interest. The title track is an instrumental which is totally boring, and is played by all the instruments you never wanted to hear a solo from (more tuba, anyone?) Where is the interest is the physics-lessonly dull "Caroline, No"? After one listen to the album, could anyone honestly say that they remember how "That's Not Me" goes? The music is so samey, you could interchange the vocals and you still wouldn't notice the difference. Everything has the same keyboardy-organ sound, tapered up with some half-hearted tambourine, and the vocals, whilst initially superb, begin to die and mix together, until they sound tired. "Don't Talk (Put your Head on My Shoulder)" is a fine example of how NOT to sing a ballad, unless you're Keane (who incidentally, are currently cool to dislike even though their music is growing more and more in step with this - considerably beloved - work.) There are some songs which break free of this dense musical fog, such as the actually quite enjoyable "Hang on to Your Ego", which reuses the music from "I Know There's An Answer". Both though, feature verses which you barely notice, until building up to an organ/keyboard/tambourine based burst, where the two titles, respectively, are shouted out. They're both alright. But the whole album seems such a soulless affair. There's no sense of fun once "Wouldn't It Be Nice" has died out, with each song sounding pretty much like the song before it, with no musical or vocal inspiration. "Let's Go Away for Awhile" is a monotonous drone, with the occasional drumroll showing up. It's like listening to the backing music to a French movie (and not one of the cool nudie-flicks. No, I'm talking about the arty films which are generally based around static 20-minute shots of trees). "I Just Wasn't Made for These Items" also rolls around the same organ and vocal harmonies, which is the aural equivalent of having itchy sand in your hair. "Here Today" and "Sloop John B" are the best two representative tracks from the album. Each contains a mild hook, each are consistent and fairly involving, and they're both fine to listen to. But neither drags the listener in and re-imagines life for them. They won't take you away from the world and make it all seem shiny and new. The album, as a whole, is very South Wales. -- Now I love South Wales, don't get me wrong. In the sunshine it's one of the finest places in the United Kingdom. Yet, as anyone who has ever been there during a wet and windy summer's day will hopefully agree, it can be the most dispiriting place to visit. You stand on the wet sand and feel cold and miserable, and you don't know why it isn't sunny and you wish you could have some fish and chips. This album is very much like that. So... I've just slagged off one of the most beloved albums of all time! Surely I should now run away, for fear of being pelted with sharp rocks!? No, because I'll explain myself. I am young. I didn't get to live through The Beach Boys or Dylan's electric guitar or John Lydon's hair. I'm approaching this record freshly, and it just doesn't measure up to the music that followed it and I've grown up listening to. I don't deny, in fact I endorse, the fact that it is one of the most influential and defining albums of all time. But it's not one of the best. I think personally that music isn't in decline. I think music is improving all the time, and when people stick by the old albums, they miss the point. Music is constantly changing, and in the case of the Beach Boys it has washed over their influence and moved on to greater shores. Call me a young fool, but I'll stick with my Athlete, my Shins, Aimee Mann. These young guns craft songs which are more involving, challenging, interesting and memorable than anything on Pet Sounds, God Only Knows and Wouldn't It Be Nice aside. Let's move on! C'mon everyone - The 1960's just called: they want their memories back.
Pet Sounds (1966) is widely regarded as one of the greatest albums of all time. To be honest, I came to it relatively recently. When I was younger I just didnt get it I think my knowledge of the Beach Boys music was based around a greatest hits tape I had, and the fact that all those fun songs about surfing and stuff werent on it alienated me. Ive since come to my senses, and realised that its actually the most beautiful album ever recorded. The story is pretty well known. The Beach Boys were the Wilson brothers (Brian, Dennis and Carl), their cousin Mike Love and another guy (Al Jardine). They made their name doing light and fluffy songs about chicks, surfing and cars, but stood out from the crowd due to the technical complexity of their music, with their ambitious vocal arrangements elevating it above its subject matter. (Pop doesnt need good lyrics its about the way it sounds. Frank Sinatras songs may seem hopelessly old-fashioned and even naïve nowadays, but listening to his music is still an infinitely more rewarding experience than listening to Coldplay.) The increasingly unstable Brian Wilson, the groups main song-writer, retired from touring with the band, and while they were all away performing, he wrote Pet Sounds (or most of it). Shortly afterwards, his escalating drug use and other psychological problems basically turned him into a recluse, no longer capable of writing or performing. He vanished for almost 40 years. Its impossible to listen to Pet Sounds without bearing in mind Wilsons imminent collapse. The wistful yearning in many of the songs seems like a genuine cry for help. He sings lead vocal on most of the songs, and his voice is absolutely perfect. But the sheer technical brilliance of his voice doesnt rob the songs of any of their impact theres a fragility in there, as if the very perfection of the performance itself somehow contains the seeds of its own destruction. The only comparable album I can think of is Blood On The Tracks by Bob Dylan, another very personal album, but there, while Dylans hard-edged, slightly out-of-tune voice reverberates with bitterness and grief, it somehow sounds a lot healthier. Here the opposite is true the more angelic Wilsons voice seems, the closer to the edge he seems to get. And most of the songs yearn for a better world to live in, or better times, or at least a respite from this crazy modern world but on a purely personal level. Theres no particular desire for world peace or anything, just for a personal utopia for Brian Wilson. I know perfectly well Im not where I should be. And so forth. Im no good at talking about music, really, but one thing that seems to make the tunes here so great is that theyre unpredictable and complex. Some great pop melodies unfold exactly the way you expect them to (no bad thing, necessarily). Songs like Yesterday or Strangers In The Night, for instance when you first hear them it feels like youve known them all your life. The melodies here dont have that simplicity theyre none the worse for it, and dont at any point sound like theyre getting too clever for their own good. But for me (at the moment, anyway) it certainly elevates Pet Sounds above anything Paul McCartney ever did with the Beatles. Wouldnt It Be Nice is pretty famous. Its one of the most upbeat songs on the album, although the lyrics have an ambiguity to them that goes against the cheerful tune and backing vocals. You Still Believe In Me slows things down, having the feel almost of baroque church music almost a hymn to the woman who sticks by him in spite of all his problems. The great escalating chorus that ends the song could almost be played in the tackiest small-town American chapel. Which at least suggests that Brian Wilson still had a sense of humour. Thats Not Me is a song about finding ones true identity in this crazy modern world through the love of a good woman. Much like the previous two songs, in fact. One begins to get some hints about what was on Wilsons mind when he was working on the album. Dont Talk (Put Your Head On My Shoulder) is a rather lovely slow number in which a perfect romantic situation with a perfect girl is seen as a way to escape the real world (again). Im Waiting For The Day is a bit more cheerful, a guy telling his girlfriend (or maybe prospective girlfriend) that hell wait for her to get over her old boyfriend. Its a bit more dynamic than the other songs, and Wilsons vocals are actually quite rugged in places. Next up is a weak instrumental track, Lets Go Away For A While, which sounds like it should be incidental music for a reflective moment in a rubbish police drama. (Still, check out the title he could have called it The Happy Windmill or something, but no, once again we get the desire to get away from it all ) Sloop John B, a rather jaunty sea-shanty type song (the only cover version on the album), is a bit of a sore thumb. Technically perfect, it just doesnt really fit in with the rest. Its fun and all, but its as if Brief Encounter had had a rollicking bar-room brawl in the middle. God Only Knows is certainly the best-known song on the album, and also probably the best. Like You Still Believe In Me, its a song of near worship to an ideal woman (sung by Carl Wilson rather than Brian, but done very well, somehow avoiding being too syrupy). I wonder if this woman really existed. Shed have had a lot to live up to I Know Theres An Answer is about the problems of relating to other people in this um crazy modern world. Its a bit less reflective than some of the other songs, at least in the way it sounds, with some of the other Beach Boys getting to share the lead vocals with Brian, and a banjo and saxophone combining to make it a bit less otherworldly than usual. Here Today is one of the best melodies on the album, at times almost reminiscent of the Beatles (at least until the backing vocals kick in). Its also slightly funnier, rueful about a lost love rather than insanely needy and desperately sad. I Just Wasnt Made For These Times is about well you can guess. Crazy modern world = bad, idealised cloud cuckoo land = good. But a lovely song nevertheless, with some really nice, ethereal backing vocals that would have had Joe Meek spitting with jealousy. Pet Sounds is another instrumental, a lot more lounge-y than anything else on the album. The kind of music that should play in a bar on beach somewhere exotic, where everythings lined with bamboo and they serve ludicrous cocktails in coconuts. Caroline, No is the last song, and one of the best. Truly perfect. A lament for a relationship gone sour. Maybe its the girl from all the previous songs, finally fed up with him. In those terms it makes for a rather depressing end to the album. Luckily, the copy of the album Ive got has a bonus track on the end (Hang On To Your Ego, a slightly different version of I Know Theres An Answer), and then plays the whole album again! (One version is mono, and one stereo this means that I generally end up listening to it twice). So OK, after a while (especially if you think about it too much, as I have evidently been doing) the single-mindedness of the lyrics may seem slightly ridiculous. But that doesnt change the fact that this album is absolutely wonderful (apart from the instrumental tracks). As I said, lyrics dont matter so much. And heck, who doesnt have days like that? Days when youd like to forget all about money and public transport and Iraq and just run off to some desert island with a nice lady with soulful eyes and live a life unfettered by all the everyday nonsense? When it catches me in the right mood this album makes me feel absurdly wistful. Even when it doesnt, I still love it. Its genuinely life-enhancing, and there arent many things Id say that about. Amazon sells it for about £11, but you can easily get it for less than that if you look around a bit.
With worldwide sales topping 100million, a place in the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame and having an album as great as this under their belts it is safe to so that the Beach Boys are true musical legends. Their sunny, fresh Calafornian sound has its origins way back in the 1950s when Brian Wilson taught his younger brothers to sing. Growing up in the Los Angeles in the suburb of Hawthorne; they spent a lot of time learning to harmonise; vocals are of course the most important element in the Beach Boys sound. It wasn't long before their cousin Mike Love joined the group. They spent their time singing carols or singing along to songs on the radio. The line-up was completed in 1961 when Al Jardine, Brian's friend from high school, joined the group. They settled on the name of the Pendletones and set about trying to record songs. Their first song was a hit. "Surfin" reached the top 3 in the charts but it took a record company chief to persuade them to change their name to the Beach Boys. Still unsigned to a major label they had to record demos. It wasn't long before Capitol Records seen the potential and snapped them up in 1962. And so begins the success story of The Beach Boys. Firstly they had a strong line-up. Carl Wilson took lead guitar, with brother Dennis on drums, oldest brother Brian Wilson played bass, added his backing vocals to tracks and after fighting with the record company finally got the control over production and the creative side of the Beach Boys. Their cousin Mike Love was on lead vocals and Al Jardine played rhythm guitar. Secondly, the group had an ability to write some fantastic and catchy songs. Tracks like "I Get Around", "Fun, Fun, Fun" and "Surfer Girl" were always going to be sure fire hits. Amongst all this success Brian was hungry for something else. What he wanted the most was to lay down all his feelings, his hopes and his dreams into an album. He was desperate to make something that would take not only the Beach Boys but music one step forward. To do this he honed his skills in production, learning to get the feel for songs with their layers and textures. But how was he going to translate this into music? He didn't really know how to, could he do it with the Beach Boys or should he go solo? Amidst this he was forced to record another album by the record company, their 11 albums in four years wasn't enough for them! This spawned the "Party!" album of 1965. However it wasn't until something else happened that Brian got the kick up the backside he needed to put his master plan into action. This wake up call was none other than.....The Beatles. Winter 1965 seen The Beatles unleash "Rubber Soul". "Rubber Soul" was fantastic album and it showed an album that was complete with no filler. It also displayed The Beatles at their finest with the Lennon and McCartney partnership working perfectly. Brian Wilson knew that it was time to get his plan to make "the greatest record ever" into motion. Not just to push The Beach Boys on creatively but also to try and better "Rubber Soul". It would take a masterpiece to beat that and it wasn't going to be easy. Brian was only 23 and he was attempting to produce a complex album by himself. He was on his own, after all Lennon had McCartney and McCartney had Lennon. Finally in 1966 he joined forces with advertising copywriter Tony Asher and together they penned the songs for the new album. The new album which would attempt to be better than Rubber Soul and be a work of art, perfect from start to finish. And so "Pet Sounds" was born...... The hopeful, fun-loving "Wouldn't It Be Nice" starts the album off. There is a real sense of youth and innocence to it, "Wouldn't it be nice if we were older, Then we wouldn't have to wait so long". In essence it's a feel good, bouncy song about love made all the better with the sheer variety of instruments everything from accordians which form the intro to the song to saxophones and trumpets. Brian and Mike's voice harmonise wonderfully and the arrangements are really quite complex.; you can't help but smile when listening to this song. "You Still Believe In Me" is a unique and spiritual song but also dealing with breaking up in a relationship; the deep sounding piano chords make it feel rather grand and regal. To get this sound apparently one of the Beach Boys had to get inside the piano to pluck the strings while someone else had to hit the keys. What really makes this song for me is listening to the progression; Brian's vocals go up the scale, then pause and continue reaching higher notes. They never once go down again. The percussion driven "That's Not Me" is next. Mike takes the vocals and gives a great performance; his voice has a sense of youth to it and he delivers every line like it means so much to him. "That's Not Me" is a great song lyrically; independance and trying to gain it is the main focus. Chasing the dream, the big step of moving away from your family, friends and your love and then realising it's just not all it promised to be. So, it has a bit of a feel of disappointment but the over-riding emotion is one of honesty. Musically the song has intricate key changes and I love it's percussion; it's simple but the big beats add to the daunting reality of the lyrics. "I'm a little bit scared, Cause I haven't been home in a long time, You needed my love, And I know I left at the wrong time." The album moves on to the deeply romantic and beautiful song that is "Don't Talk (Put Your Head On My Shoulder)" Slow and meaningful, each line lingers as the words just melt into a truely beautiful string arrangement. The strings dominate the song with the slightest touches of piano and percussion being ever so delicate. Again Brian stretches himself to reach the high notes as he describes being in love. The lyrics are so simple yet perfect. "Don't talk, put your head on my shoulder, Don't talk, close your eyes and be still." A huge powerful drum intro is followed by gentle horns and it immediately throws you into "I'm Waiting For The Day", probably my favourite song on the entire album. What I love about this song is the changes in tempo. The pace is slow and music delicate when Brian describes how he met a girl after she had her heartbroken by a guy but it appears she is not over him. He loves her, but she loves the ex, complicated I know. " I guess I'm saying your the only one, I'm waiting for the day when you can love me". The strings join in and suddenly the pace is slow, mellow and sad. At this point you think he has lost the girl. But suddenly out of the blue, the drums bounce back and the tempo increases and the vocals rouse together in a real statement of defiance. "You didn't, oh, think that I could sit around and let him take you." The escapist instrumental "Let's Go Away For a While" provides a little interlude. It's a big satisfying composition with big basses and percussion complimented by sweeping strings and powerful saxes and oboes. "Sloop John B" is a cover version of a traditional folk song. It's bouncy, happy and proved to be a big hit for the Beach Boys. It was only included on the album because it was a hit single at the time. The harmonies performed by Mike and Brian are high and reach all levels on the scale. They give a really rousing rendition of the folk song "Hoist up the John B's sail, I feel so broke I wanna go home, Let me go home!" Once again I'm amazed at the sheer variety of instruments used on this track; as it builds more and more sounds are added the glokenspiel really stands out adding that sparkly feel to the track. Now, I'm not a religious person but I can't help but be touched by the sense of spirituality and love in this song. "God Only Knows" acknowledges Brian's spiritual side and his belief in God. This song is a real masterpiece. Why? Well the lyrics for me are so powerful. "I may not always love you, But long as there are stars above you, You never need to doubt it, I'll make you so sure about it." Carl took lead vocals and he adds a real angelic touch to it add that to more mellow harmonies near the end of the song and it's destined to be just right. Next the music is just so well composed. The clip-clop beats of the percussion, the sleigh bells, the string arrangement, the flutes and the bass are all used to make the music mellow and not too chirpy. Originally called "Hang On to Your Ego" but with some reworking of lyrics the title changed to "I Know There's An Answer". It's questioning, searching yet uplifting at the same time. It's a big tune with saxophones layered with huge, imposing drums and bells jingling throughout. "I know there's an answer, I know now but I have to find it by myself." "Here Today" shows the realisation that love is ever changing, there are some days when you love a person but the next there are arguements; it charts the ups and downs but throughout it all you still love that person. The vibe is at times spiralling inwards in self-pity "It makes your heart feel sad, it makes your days go wrong". But the song rouses up, changes in tempo and the drums pound on, to take lift the mood. "You've got to keep in mind love is here, and it's gone tomorrow, it's here and gone so fast." One thing it is really cool about this song is: if you listen very carefully at the bridge when there are no vocals you can hear the band having a conversation about cameras. A weird studio accident that I love and for me, adds a quirky edge to the recording. Next up is another fantastic masterpiece that Brian Wilson pulls out of the bag. "I Just Wasn't Made For These Times" is like a mini-autobiography by Brian showing how he felt when he was making this album. When making Pet Sounds the concept was hard for people to get their heads around, putting your heart and soul into a record wasn't trademark Beach Boys. So as people didn't understand what he trying to achieve, Brian felt increasingly alone but determined to make the album. Brian has to take lead vocals on this song and the song is sung with real power and conviction. The added backing vocals add a special touch. The clip-clop percussion sound is used again with both piano and harpsicord build and build throughout the song leading up to the final line "I guess I just wasn't made for these times." "Pet Sounds" is another instrumental piece that is smooth and sophisticated. For me it pulls together all the sounds on the album so far. Twisting and funky Brian Wilson had originally composed it with James Bond films in mind. "Caroline, No" is a pretty, heartfelt ballad that was released under Brian Wilson's name and not the Beach Boys. "Caroline, No" shows a more mature attitude and sound than the first songs on the album. With delicate, mellow percussion and smooth sounding harpsicord, Brian's vocals become the focus as he sings very emotionally about a painful break up of a relationship. "Where is the girl I used to know, How could you lose that happy glow, Oh Caroline No." My version of Pet Sounds includes the bonus track of "Hold On To Your Ego" which is identical to "I Know There's An Answer" musically. Lyrically it's also very similar with the only main difference being in the chorus. "Hang on to your ego, Hang on, but I know you are going to lose the fight." And so all too soon the album comes to an end... Well not quite, the version I have on CD repeats all the songs again but in stereo because they were digitally remastered. Originally Pet Sounds was recorded in mono and I think this is the best way to listen to the album as it has a really special magical quality to it. In the 1960s everyone recorded in mono, maybe not giving as good quality as stereo but in them days records were made to be heard on car radios and all car radios were mono. The cover for Pet Sounds is eye catching with a picture of the Beach Boys feeding goats and inside there are more cliched pictures of the band feeding and petting animals at a zoo. The colour scheme is simple just bold green and yellow. "Pet Sounds" is something special, a masterpiece. Brian Wilson achieved what he set out to do, make something completely different and bare his soul on the record. He took the risk which I admire obviously this wasn't going to appeal to the teenage US fans but in Britain it was very well received. It's a revolutionary album because it set the standard for albums and showed that Brian wasn't prepared to be pigeon holed. In production terms it's flawless with Brian's ambition and vision he took music production on a step. It really is a groundbreaking album because it showed musicians that they were free to try anything. He rose to the challenge that "Rubber Soul" gave him and he surpassed it by miles. The Beatles response (Sgt. Peppers) was weak compared to this album. What I love about the album is the amount of instruments used on each track, there is such a wealth of sounds. At times they stick out and you can tell which is which. But sometimes a magical thing happens and all the sounds just fit togther to create one big arrangement. It's a timeless album that takes me on a journey with every listen. With every listen I find a new sound or a new lyric that is really stunning. There is the naive youthful spirit of "Wouldn't It Be Nice" and then at the opposite end of the scale the maturity and beauty of "I Just Wasn't Made For These Times" and "Caroline, No". A whole range of emotions are explored and lyrically it's flawless: love, hurt, feeling alone and spirituality all being explored. The harmonies are so good, even nowadays people try to imitate them. You can't listen to this album and not be touched in some way either by the music and it's composition or just the sheer beauty of it. This album is a timeless masterpiece that nobody should be without, it's really as simple as that. **Pet Sounds is available from HMV priced £8.99 for the mono album or £12.99 for the complete album in both mono and stereo.
I was never really interested in the Beach Boys before I heard Pet Sounds. Their brand of retro American surf-rock didn’t ever seem to have any depth whatsoever though nobody can deny the love and charm emitted by such classics as Good Vibrations and California Girls. It wasn’t until I read in a music publication about the striking similarities between Weezer and the Beach Boys. I have to tell you that really got me going! I am a huge Weezer fan and avid readers of my opinions will all know that I consider their sophomore record, Pinkerton, to be the best album of all time- with their debut not far behind. As soon as I read that sentence- I knew that I needed a Beach Boys album and everywhere I read, Pet Sounds seemed to be the record of choice. I went to HMV and was shocked to find Pet Sounds at £20.00- sorry, I don’t want it THAT much! So, I waited until I found a considerable price that appeared in the least likely place- Makro. One payment of £4.99 and after I saw Bad Company (a great film) at the cinema, I headed home to hear “the best album ever made”. Most people think it’s either Pet Sounds or Nevermind and after being disappointed somewhat by Nevermind, the thought of hearing another “best album ever made” didn’t bode well. Nevertheless, I was hopeful as I placed Pet Sounds into my stereo and pressed play. I have to say, Pet Sounds was not what I expected it to be. I thought jangly guitars; surfing basslines, light drums and cute (but overtly sentimental) vocals were on the agenda. It turns out that I was wrong. Pet Sounds uses probably every instrument you can think of right now, including some sounds made by no instrument I know of. Here’s my pick of some of the instruments that would not be normally heard in a pop album: Flute Horn Trumpet Accordion Organ Cello The sheer diversity of the instruments used really push es this album up into the stratosphere. Also, since most of these instruments would never be seen dead in your average pop album- everything sounds so innovative and fresh and exciting. Kudos to Brian Wilson and others for really creating something original on this album- there's no denying the ambition of this album. However, as we all know- ambition accounts to nothing. Just hear Radiohead's latest "music" and Papa Roach's foray into garage punk. What really counts to make a good record is really catchy hooks, meaningful lyrics and the ability to touch someone emotionally. Pet Sounds has all of these qualities in truckloads: The tunes never let up and although they are very convoluted and uncalculated at times, they always sound mesmerising. The lyrics are easily relatable to with some great lines on this album as well. The album has a huge ability to affect people's hearts and is emotionally packed to the brim with feelings of despair and happiness, excitement, sadness, loneliness. It isn't really on par with Weezer's Pinkerton on an emotional level (that album can make the coldest of hearts cry and laugh) but it really does pack a punch several times. Musically, the record charts into unknown pop territory on thirteen pop nuggets, two of which are instrumentals. For me, there is no better opener than Wouldn't It Be Nice. From its hallucinatory harp chords at the beginning to the introduction of Brian Wilson's incredible voice accompanied by a tidal wave of drums and an overbearing accordion. Yes, it is a sentimental song but the subject matter is beautifukl. Wilson sings about daydreaming about things he wants: "Wouldn't it be nice if we were older, and spend one night together". The real key to the song is the "wouldn't". This creates a sense of despair in the song as it is apparent that Wilson cannot have what he desires, like most of us. What als o makes it an intriguing song is the use of backing vocals. Now, I know this is classic Becah Boys style but the backing vocals in this song are much more pumped up and actually become an instrument- alovely instrument at it! That's Not Me is for the best song the Beach Boys have ever written. The lyrics are above anything written by ANY band in the last twenty years (excluding Weezer of course, and maybe Green Day and Nirvana): "I had to prove that I could make it alone but that's not alone, I wanted to show how independant I'd grown but that's not me, I could try to be big in the eyes of the world but what matters to me is what I could be to just one girl". Now if you don't relate to those lyrics or recognise the genius in the rhyming- then you have no taste in music! The song, like most songs on this album, is powered by a buzzing organ. Now organ's although undoubtedly great for church aren't really made for a pop songs and many failed attempts to incorporate them into songs by Robbie Williams and Weezer (on their album five demo- The Organ Player) make the songs just sound cheesy and overtly sentimental respectively. However, the organ used on this album doesn't drag any of the songs down but instead builds on them. The organ is a key part of the tune of every song and the key is that the organ is used to play all the melodies and not to provide support for the tunes. On Here Today, this is particularly evident as Wilson sings "It starts with just a little glance now, and already I'm searching for romance now" under everchanging organ chords. Although Wilson clearly knows how to write upbeat pop songs with evidence shown on the vocal caressed Wouldn't It Be Nice, the flute ridden That's Not Me and the holiday-themed Let's Go Away For A While- his real power is in writing power ballads. And I don't mean Whitney Houston or Celine Dion sounding like castrated sheep style ballads- but the more stripped down, subtle ballads with the minmum of adlibbing. This power is clearly shown on songs like Pet Sounds that has a beautiful spanish guitar tunerunning through it- it really takes you to another planet (and it's only an instrumental!). Don't Talk is another key song on this album with the classic line "I can see so much in the signs, I can see so much in your eyes, there are words we can say but don't talk, put your head on my shoulder". However, the real trump ballad-wise is the worldwide known God Only Knows. It has been used constantly in love scenes (gross out or realistic) in films and adverisements and always never loses its magnetic other worldly power. It is the one song that has noticeable guitars but otherwise guitars rarely crop up on this album. It has THAT line: "god only knows what I'd be without you". And that line combined with the song's moonlit tune is enough to make me cry, and I don't EVER cry! So, there's no denying that Pet Sounds is an absolutely mindblowing album but is it REALLY the best album ever made? Well, while it is lightyears ahead of Nirvana's Nevermind, there are still albums better than it. The best album ever made is still for me Weezer's Pinkerton. And if you haven't got that album- read my opinion then get it. Pet Sounds was released in 1966 to a cynical American public who immediately dismissed it as depressing and crass. A similar scene betook Weezer's Pinkerton and I believe in ten years time when Weezer have released a truly mindblowing album commercial wise, then people will look back on Pinkerton as one of the best albums ever made. Just like Pet Sounds! Anyway, to wrap this opinion up, I'd like to say that Pet Sounds is a hauntingly beautiful, ever touching and original album that deserves to be in your collection (but don't buy it for £20.00!) Also, don't forget to drop me a line on the message boards because I always write back. Thankyou all for supporting me so much (except the idiots who dissed my last two opinions!). Pinkertonisrad
Pet Sounds is frequently cited as the best album in the Beach Boys' career and indeed the very history of pop music. It was written as the drug-addled rivalry of those classic rock geniuses reached its peak: as another reviewer wrote, it was inspired by the Beatles' Rocket and it was said to inspire Sergeant Pepper. But while its qualities cannot be denied, it has few of the songs that jump up and grab you by the throat - with a notable exception. Even Good Vibrations, produced in the same sessions, did not make it to most cuts of the record, although it is sometimes included on special editions. It is the technical elements of the record that makes Paul McCartney and millions of other fans, and it is the very best showcase of the instrumental talents of Brian Wilson. He brought in a flock of session musicians and painstakingly built up the multi-layered sound that combines so well with the Beach Boys vocals. This comes out most effectively in songs like Wouldn't It Be Nice and Caroline, No. However, while Wilson's musical genius is clear, the record does not necessarily showcase the best of his lyrical and popular appeal. In my opinion, the harmonious joy of Break Away (recorded slightly later) or the great lyrical syncopation of the early hot-rod songs are not matched by the technical sophistication of Pet Sounds. One of the beauties of the Beach Boys is their excitement and group harmony, and this was a low time for the group as a whole. Brian Wilson was suffering a dark period in his mental health and the combination of sex, drugs and rock-n-roll meant that the Beach Boys had little unity. In fact, Wilson brought the rest of the Beach Boys in to do their vocals almost as an afterthought, and they did not feel involved in this legendary record. It may not be cool to like the 'happy' Beach Boys repertoire, but it was what they were all about. Pet Sounds was certainly a showcase of Wilson' ;s genius, and musicians will be able to spend hours picking through the layers. But for average music fans, other albums will give you a much better sense of the joy infused in the Beach Boys' music. But what about that notable exception? God Only Knows is without a doubt one of the best songs of all time and if you haven't got it, then this album is worth buying just for the one track. It is one of those songs you really should be able to pull out in times of need, so you wont feel cheated if you buy this record.
Brian Wilson started recording “Pet Sounds” as soon as he heard the Beatles’ “Revolver”, clearly feeling he had some inner sense of perfection to aim for in order to keep up. Because what the Beach Boys recorded as a result is, to my mind, better than Revolver. Don’t get me wrong, I love The Beatles, I love Revolver, too – I just feel that Pet Sounds is a better album… somehow, more complete, and, yes, perfect. Incidentally, I read somewhere that “God only Knows” is supposed to be Paul McCartney’s favourite pop song. So the respect is mutual. The cover is slightly strange – the band members feeding goats at San Diego Zoo seems quite mundane, in view of the perfect music contained within. Ah well, onto the music… It’s full of beautiful melodies, and harmonies, studio tricks, and extra sound affects, but more than that, it works as a cohesive piece of work - an entire album, rather than a lot of singles or other songs collected together. This was a first, at the time, but it still sounds that way today. It’s impossible to select a favourite song. The UK hits, “Sloop John B” and “God Only Knows”, are the ones I know best, but all the songs are wonderful. I do love Carl Wilson’s pure vocal on “God only knows”, a song which Brian says was the first pop song to mention God in the lyrics. He also claims that prior to the recording session, the band prayed for guidance – well what can I say, except it worked. There’s a subtle mix of styles. “I’m waiting for the day” has an immaturity about the lyrics, recalling their earlier surfing music, and there’s a light, funfair kind of sound to the backing. It’s a love song with sometimes simple (“I know you cried and you felt blue”), sometimes adolescent (“you belong to me”) sentiments. ̶ 0;Wouldn’t it be nice” is another innocent-sounding song, full of the joys, and frustrations, of youth. Elsewhere, there’s a distinct grown-up sound to the lyrics, especially evident on “Caroline No”, which bemoans the way that sweet little girls can turn into bitchy adults. A couple of the tracks are instrumentals, “Pet sounds” and “Let’s go away for awhile”, which has some nice kettle drums and sounds like a mixture of Bacharach and Spector. The extra bonus tracks are very interesting, particularly “Hang on to your ego”, which is an alternative version of “I know there’s an answer”, with some different lyrics. The song was later covered by Frank Black on his first solo album after leaving the Pixies. “Trombone Dixie” is lighter in tone, with its oompa-style, bringing things to a very satisfying close. The booklet and liner notes are excellent, providing a wealth of information and detail. Brian Wilson performed the album with an orchestra and backing band The Wondermints (whose albums are well worth a listen if you like the Beach Boys. Their song “Tracey Hide” would sit extremely well on “Pet Sounds”). It may or may not be the best album of all time, but it's definitely one that everyone should own and play regularly!
What an incredibly silly album cover. Five flower-power dudes intoxicated in the moment as they feed a herd of wild billygoats. For men who were undeniably clever musicians the Beach Boys had a surreal geeky edge that took from their profile. This alone is likely to turn people off. Those that don't venture inside this great album, however, would deny themselves a rare treat because Pet Sounds is quite simply one of the best albums of all time. Pet Sounds reaches levels of aural satisfaction that most albums can only dream of. What you get is Brian Wilson, thankfully shorn of his surfing fixation (and come to think of it, he's beard as well), in the mood for creating a technicolor cloak of blissful harmonies and soothing musical arrangements. It was his response to the Beatles 'Rubber Soul' and it worked because way back then the Beach Boys outsold the fab four. It seems strange that nowadays the Beach Boys are almost a forgotten band. Pet Sounds is made up of 3-minute wonders at every turn. 'Wouldn't it be Nice' has a multi-layered vocal that sits on a chugging rhythm that can't help but make you smile. 'I'm waiting for the Day' has an underlying carousel theme, which adds to its addictive nature. 'I Know There's an Answer' shares a melody with 'Hang on to your Ego'. Watch it transport you to that dandelion field you dream of every night. 'God only Knows' is unquestionably one of the Beach Boys greatest moments and remains the most endearing love song you're ever likely to hear. Pet Sounds is an indescribably happy record without any of the cheese of earlier Beach Boys records. Boy band material they certainly weren't but this fact hardly matters as Pet Sounds is heaven sent. A record made for those times, these times and the times we've yet to experience.
I am not going to say any album is the best of all time, because there is never a true "best," but this ranks right up there with the best." The new stereo mix is fabulous, as is the original mono, and every song is arranged in such a way that it captures the listener and keeps them flowing with the album. The lyrics are amazing, and speak directly to the listener. If you don't believe me, just take a look at the wonderful "Caroline, No" or "I Just Wasn't Made For These Times." Everything on this album flows, sounding as if it belongs together. For sure, if something were removed, it just would not sound right.
Pet Sounds is my all time favourite album. This album is a classic, and although some of the early Beach Boys music would sound out of place in this day and age, the heavenly music on Pet Sounds sounds as fresh and happening today in the year 2000 as it was when it was recorded some 34 (christ is it that long) years ago. Many people say that Brian Wilson is a genius. This may well be so, it may not. Either way though his (and the rest of the Beach Boys') music has had a profound influence on my life and on many thousands of other people's. Pet sounds contains many of the well known Beach Boys songs. Hit such as Wouldn't It Be Nice, Sloop John B and God Only Knows (which is also one of my favourite *singles* too)as well as lesser known tracks which are still hauntingly beautiful and cleverly laid down by Brian. The songs here have many aspects and assets to them and are made up of many 'layers'. If listen to Pet Sounds loud on headphones (or just on speakers come to that) you hear things you have never heard before. There is always something new hidden in the depth of this gorgeous musicThese tracks stir your emotions, elate you, and fill you with loving 'vibes'.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Caroline No
2 Wouldn't It Be Nice
3 You Still Believe In Me
4 That's Not Me
5 Don't Talk
6 I'm Waiting For The Day
7 Let's Go Away For Awhile
8 Sloop John B
9 God Only Knows
10 I Know There's An Answer
11 Here Today
12 I Just Wasn't Made For These Times
13 Pet Sounds
14 Hang On To Your Ego
15 Trombone Dixie