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Here's the deal with Pet Sounds.......

July 8 2007 at 10:16 AM
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pugeye  (Login pugeye)
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Response to What the ***


First of all, try to ignore the hype. This is an album that is often referred to as THE BEST ALBUM IN POP MUSIC HISTORY. Forget about all that.

Second of all, the album is obviously pretty different from any of the stuff The Beach Boys released before and after it came out, so don't compare it to other Beach Boys albums. It's more like a Brian Wilson solo album, so maybe you should think about it that way.

Now, realize that the album may take some time to get into for other reasons- mainly, the lyrics are depressing and introspective, and the songs all share the same "Phil Specter goes baroque" arrangement/production. So yeah, I can see how it can seem "repetitive"- but it's essentially a "concept album", or at least an album that attempts to create a consistant mood, so there's a reason for the relative "sameness" of the songs.

Bear with me for a moment: a bit about the "hype". In terms of both composition and arrangement, "Pet Sounds" is about as complex and sophisticated as "pop" music gets. 40 years have gone by, and nothing else has been able to touch it in those areas. Also, it was practically ignored upon its release, despite the fact that it towered above all of the popular releases of the time, in terms of maturity.

As what I've said might imply, I appreciate and respect the album more than I actually enjoy it. It takes awhile to get into, and no level of sophistication can disguise the fact that it's still The Beach Boys, and The Beach Boys are ALWAYS a little cheesey (although that's part of their charm, IMO.). Just like with any album that's tough to get into, let yourself latch on to some of the more accessible songs ("God Only Knows", "Wouldn't It Be Nice", etc.)- it may ease the other tracks into your favor. Just give it time, and remember that it's an album that must be listened to and criticized on its own terms.

Good luck.

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