Tuesday, January 27, 2009

January 27: The Beach Boys, "Pet Sounds"

Artist: Beach Boys
Album: Pet Sounds
Year: 1966
Label: Capitol

Easily one of the finest albums of the 1960's, common rumor is that the catalyst for the Pet Sounds was Brian Wilson hearing The Beatles Rubber Soul. Apparently, Wilson was so blown away by how "together" the record was, that he made it a personal mission to attempt to "one up" Rubber Soul. In the opinion of many, with Pet Sounds, he succeeded with flying colors.

Pet Sounds incorporates countless instruments as well as some "odd" sounds like a bike horn, soda cans, and some sounds that are indistinguishable. Wilson weaves in classical string and wind instruments alongside these more modern musical instruments. The vocals and textures throughout the record are the pure Beach Boys sound that generations of listeners have come to expect and love.

The songs on Pet Sounds flow perfectly together and, as a group, create one of the most amazing musical landscapes ever recorded. The sound is rich and full, and yet not overwhelming. The single vocals intermingle with the group harmonies brilliantly. The record even dabbles slightly, as the combination of various instruments and vocals create sounds and moods never before heard, in what can only be called an early version of psychedelic music.

Many of the songs on Pet Sounds, have become "classics." In fact, out of the thirteen songs on the Pet Sounds, five of them became top 5 singles in both the US and UK. While the record did not sell very well upon its initial release, over the decades, it has become one of the highest selling records of all time. In the years since its release, it has topped countless lists of "greatest album ever" and is widely regarded as one of the finest moments in music history.

The Beach Boys have created a signature sound since the 1960's and the sound continues to please fans old and new to this day. Containing some of their best known songs, Pet Sounds, is, by far, the finest moment for this legendary group. If, in fact, the inspiration behind Pet Sounds was to top Rubber Soul, after nearly 50 years, there is little doubt that not only did Brian Wilson top the Beatles this time around, but, with Pet Sounds, buried his competitors.

Standout tracks: "Sloop John B," "Here Today," and "Pet Sounds."

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