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OT - What Is The Deal With "Pet Sounds"?
Date: October 1, 2009 20:22

I swear - there have been a few times when I just didn't get it. Where I knew that I was wrong; that everyone else was seeing it, and I was just too dense.
"OK Computer" is such a case. For some reason it just put me to sleep, while all I heard was "oh it's the best ever bla bla". Eventually I did see it; and kind of like it.
But someone has to explain "Pet Sounds" to me. Why is this a masterpiece? A couple of decent tunes on there, sure. But man...And I am listening with an open mind. I know a bit about the evolution of recording technique. I know Brian Wilson, (aka the Whale), was doing this on 4 trackers etc. But listen to what the Beatles did at the same time.

Re: OT - What Is The Deal With "Pet Sounds"?
Posted by: T&A ()
Date: October 1, 2009 20:30

great album that you just don't get. no worries. i don't get a lot of other great albums.

Re: OT - What Is The Deal With "Pet Sounds"?
Posted by: CindyC ()
Date: October 1, 2009 20:31

YAY! I feel the same. I used to feel badly if I couldn't appreciate something everyone else thinks is a masterpiece.

For instance "Love in the Time of Cholera". I think that's such a bullshit story. The guy wastes his whole life for some girl that he had a crush on when he was a teenager, but wasn't able to get. WTF - get over it.

I know other people who think Wuthering Heights is a beautiful love story...
Are you kidding me? Sort of a similar theme to "Cholera". He can't have Catherine so he ruins everyone else's life, including his great "loves" daughter. Yeah that's true love, pffft.

Wasn't looking too good, but I was feeling real well.

Re: OT - What Is The Deal With "Pet Sounds"?
Posted by: ghostryder13 ()
Date: October 1, 2009 20:36

i like most of the album but have wondered the same thing in the past. after hearing the mono, stereo, and outtakes my belife is that it was one of the first rock albums to experiment with sounds using multitracks to the full extent possible at the time

Re: OT - What Is The Deal With "Pet Sounds"?
Posted by: Elmo Lewis ()
Date: October 1, 2009 20:36

It took me repeated listening for it to finally sink in. I think it's one of those albums that you have to spend some time with to get.

Yeah, there are a couple of not-so-good songs on there, but that can be said for Pepper, Exile, Moon, etc. too.

As for the music, it shows Brian moving from surf boards and hot rods (nothing wrong with either of those) to more emotionally deep (Emotional Rescue?) stuff.

Three instrumentals is a little much, but moments such as the harmonies on "God Only Knows" or "Don't Talk" are fantastic. "Caroline, No" with only Brian's voice is awesome. They should have included "Good Vibrations" on there too.

BTW, McCartney loves this.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2009-10-01 23:53 by Elmo Lewis.

Re: OT - What Is The Deal With "Pet Sounds"?
Posted by: swiss ()
Date: October 1, 2009 21:05

Great thread! Thank you so much for asking this.

I've wondered the same for years about Pet Sounds. People talk about it being such a seminal album -- and I'm not saying it isn't; I just don't understand.

Didn't the Beatles get acetates of this and were all blown away by it, and it was in part what inspired the musical/production direction of Sgt Peppers?

I'm open to learning, but need a little bit of a guide. Sometimes when people really break it down it opens up new worlds and ways of seeing/hearing (worked for me with late Beethoven and hip hop).

Elmo, your comments are great - do you think it would help to listen to the album before Pet Sounds, then listen to Pet Sounds to fully get how radical a departure it is?

Cuz for me a song like "God Only Knows" sounds basically the same (albeit slower) as what I think of as "Beach Boys" (like Surfer Girl) but I'm admittedly ignorant of them. Also sometimes the intellectual fervor surrounding some Beach Boys' fans is a real turn-off - like my last boyfriend literally shouted and pulled the car over when I [innocently] asked about Pet Sounds: "You're just repeating the Beach Boys orthodoxy -- without acknowledging the canon!!" (wtf????? I have no idea what any of that means! we didn't last long after the Beach Boys incident)

Also, a song like God Only Knows has been played on "lite rock" stations and I'm going to have to re-train myself from hearing it as sappy.

- swiss

Re: OT - What Is The Deal With "Pet Sounds"?
Posted by: Nikolai ()
Date: October 1, 2009 21:15

Quote
CindyC
YAY! I feel the same. I used to feel badly if I couldn't appreciate something everyone else thinks is a masterpiece.

For instance "Love in the Time of Cholera". I think that's such a bullshit story. The guy wastes his whole life for some girl that he had a crush on when he was a teenager, but wasn't able to get. WTF - get over it.

I know other people who think Wuthering Heights is a beautiful love story...
Are you kidding me? Sort of a similar theme to "Cholera". He can't have Catherine so he ruins everyone else's life, including his great "loves" daughter. Yeah that's true love, pffft.


He gets the girl at the end of "Cholera", although they're both old. Brilliant book, I think - Marquez's last good one - but different strokes etc etc.

Re: OT - What Is The Deal With "Pet Sounds"?
Posted by: CindyC ()
Date: October 1, 2009 21:16

Quote
Nikolai

He gets the girl at the end of "Cholera", although they're both old. Brilliant book, I think - Marquez's last good one - but different strokes etc etc.

Right - he's like 90 - so he spend 70 years or so being miserable. i can't imagine any girl is worth it.

Re: OT - What Is The Deal With "Pet Sounds"?
Posted by: Silver Dagger ()
Date: October 1, 2009 21:23

For me it's a magnificent album and what makes it great is that it sounds like nothing else that went before it. So perhaps from an originality point of view it is unique. It also has some great tunes and singing. Butr if it doesn't do it for you, no worries. Move on to something that does.

Re: OT - What Is The Deal With "Pet Sounds"?
Posted by: leteyer ()
Date: October 1, 2009 21:23

Quote
CindyC
YAY! I feel the same. I used to feel badly if I couldn't appreciate something everyone else thinks is a masterpiece.

For instance "Love in the Time of Cholera". I think that's such a bullshit story. The guy wastes his whole life for some girl that he had a crush on when he was a teenager, but wasn't able to get. WTF - get over it.

One of my all time favourites. True, Florentino never got over Fermina but he did got laid quite a lot.

Re: OT - What Is The Deal With "Pet Sounds"?
Posted by: theimposter ()
Date: October 1, 2009 21:28

Well, I love Pet Sounds for what it is - not what it's hyped to be. Now, it WAS a seminal album upon its release back then in that is was totally unlike any other Beach Boys album, just as it was quite unlike anything else out there in that period. The same goes for 'Sgt Pepper', imo.

But as I said, I love both of those records for what they are to me. Specifically Pet Sounds. It's a collection of beautiful, mostly melancholy songs, with amazing harmonies and gorgeous instrumental flourishes. And though it was a product of the definitive 'summer' band, I find much of it appropriate listening on a dreary fall afternoon. Being such a melancholy record in places, I often prefer to listen to it when alone. Also, there's something about the whole package - the songwriting, the production, and the sequencing that makes it such a pleasing record - from the out of tune guitar/harp notes that open the album - to the closing sounds of dogs braking while a train passes by. Brian Wilson may or may not have been telling a story there, but he certainly gives you a chance to write your own along with it if you're inspired to.

Again, the hype that precedes it can and does hurt it for new listeners. Chances are you WON'T get your mind blown listening to it for the first time in the 21st - that was already done in the 60's. But what you can do, as a 1st timer or repeat listener, is simply take it on its own terms. If you find Pet Sounds so be a masterpiece, then so be it. And if you find it to be utter shite, so be that as well (though, hype aside, I don't see how ANY music fan could not at least think it to be decent - to call it anything otherwise, well now THAT would blow my mind!)



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2009-10-01 21:33 by theimposter.

Re: OT - What Is The Deal With "Pet Sounds"?
Posted by: izzyanderson ()
Date: October 1, 2009 21:44

I think to truly appreciate Pet Sounds, you have to put the album into context. Not just into a Sgt.Pepper vs. Pet Sounds kind of thing but into the complete musical landscape of that time. Sure, it's easy to say Gene Krupa is not as good of a drummer when you compare him to drummers that played with Zappa or with Bonham or whomever. But, back then when Krupa was around, he was pretty groundbreaking. In a way, it's true that it's all been done before. We've been so inundated with pop/rock bands using a string section or some other unusual combination of instruments that it's difficult to truly appreciate the vision that Brian Wilson had for his music. I really wish Brian had gone and released Smile after Pet Sounds because that would have just blown everyone away. But, various reasons made him shelve it. There were a handful of songwriters that were miles above the general crowd of writers back then, and Brian Wilson was one of them, in my opinion. There's a Pet Sounds boxset where you can listen to the tracking sessions and hear Brian instructing the musicians on what to play and how to play it. It's just a fascinating experience.
“That ear—I mean, Jesus, he’s got to will that to the Smithsonian.” Bob Dylan on Brian Wilson

Re: OT - What Is The Deal With "Pet Sounds"?
Posted by: theimposter ()
Date: October 1, 2009 21:57

Quote
@#$%&
I think to truly appreciate Pet Sounds, you have to put the album into context. Not just into a Sgt.Pepper vs. Pet Sounds kind of thing but into the complete musical landscape of that time. Sure, it's easy to say Gene Krupa is not as good of a drummer when you compare him to drummers that played with Zappa or with Bonham or whomever. But, back then when Krupa was around, he was pretty groundbreaking. In a way, it's true that it's all been done before. We've been so inundated with pop/rock bands using a string section or some other unusual combination of instruments that it's difficult to truly appreciate the vision that Brian Wilson had for his music. I really wish Brian had gone and released Smile after Pet Sounds because that would have just blown everyone away. But, various reasons made him shelve it. There were a handful of songwriters that were miles above the general crowd of writers back then, and Brian Wilson was one of them, in my opinion. There's a Pet Sounds boxset where you can listen to the tracking sessions and hear Brian instructing the musicians on what to play and how to play it. It's just a fascinating experience.
“That ear—I mean, Jesus, he’s got to will that to the Smithsonian.” Bob Dylan on Brian Wilson

Yep! Some of your points are similar to what I was saying - you can appreciate it thru putting it into context. Also, spot on about the box set - so fascinating to hear an artist at work. It really enlightens you to the genius going on there. I cannot believe the guy is actually able to hear 4-part harmonies IN HIS HEAD.

I am not sure about SMiLE, if I think he should have released it then, or like he did a few years ago. Not being a child of the 60's (I was born in 78), I think I like that it came out in the 21st century. I loved the myth, the legend, and the closure it finally got when completed (albeit not with the actual Beach Boys). It's rare that lingering legends like that DO get such closure. And I love the record, on a much different level. Maybe as much as Pet Sounds - hell, maybe more. I don't know I'd call it a 'masterpiece', but - not to make a bad pun - it really DOES make me smile every time that I put it on!

Re: OT - What Is The Deal With "Pet Sounds"?
Posted by: LOGIE ()
Date: October 1, 2009 22:22

My sister got hold of a copy of Pet Sounds at the time of its release and we were absolutely blown away by every track on the album.

Arguably, the greatest album EVER!

Re: OT - What Is The Deal With "Pet Sounds"?
Posted by: kovach ()
Date: October 1, 2009 22:24

Quote
CindyC
For instance "Love in the Time of Cholera". I think that's such a bullshit story. The guy wastes his whole life for some girl that he had a crush on when he was a teenager, but wasn't able to get. WTF - get over it.

I wasted a few hours of my life watching that movie. Terrible.

Re: OT - What Is The Deal With "Pet Sounds"?
Posted by: Duane in Houston ()
Date: October 1, 2009 22:28

I think there's a BIG difference between "getting it" and "liking it".

I get pet Sounds, I just don't happen to like it.

Same with The Clash, most Reggae, The Band etc. etc. etc.

Re: OT - What Is The Deal With "Pet Sounds"?
Posted by: HelterSkelter ()
Date: October 1, 2009 22:30

Was it the Beatles or more mainly McCartney that was a PET SOUNDS freak? I don't get the whole thing either but maybe you had to have been there.... I wasn't that big on the BEACH BOYS, was more of a BEATLES, STONES, DOORS Hombre....

Re: OT - What Is The Deal With "Pet Sounds"?
Posted by: CindyC ()
Date: October 1, 2009 22:33

Quote
Duane in Houston
I think there's a BIG difference between "getting it" and "liking it".

I get pet Sounds, I just don't happen to like it.
Same with The Clash, most Reggae, The Band etc. etc. etc.


That's an interesting way of looking at it. I guess that's how I feel about it, and i guess partially why I wished I liked it.

Wasn't looking too good, but I was feeling real well.

Re: OT - What Is The Deal With "Pet Sounds"?
Posted by: NICOS ()
Date: October 1, 2009 23:04

Funny thing about this Pet Sound.

Everytime when there is a discussion about this album probaly everyone gives it another try, at least this counts for me.

I never get it .......some great tunes but overall I can't call it a good album not even if I go back in time.

So if you want to call a album overated .........this is the one for me,

By the way in Dutch we got two meaning for Pet ................

This is one



and this two (in other words BAD)



__________________________

Re: OT - What Is The Deal With "Pet Sounds"?
Posted by: sweet neo con ()
Date: October 1, 2009 23:15

i never thought GHOSTBUSTERS was good.


IORR............but I like it!

Re: OT - What Is The Deal With "Pet Sounds"?
Posted by: Justin ()
Date: October 1, 2009 23:35

I also had the same issue when I began my Brian Wilson journey earlier this year. I came to the board with the same issue you are echoing today:

[www.iorr.org]


It took me a while to "get it." I'm not sure how it happened...but it didn't come with Pet Sounds. It was a combination of other tracks from their post-Pet Sounds canon and more importantly it came after a few listens of "Smile." To me, that is the masterpeice. It's beautiful yet haunting. I finally understood the importance of "mood" and "feel" that Brian was so obsessed to create. It was then that I finally connected the dots and went back to Pet Sounds and looked at it from a different angle. Listen to it not with your brain..but with your heart...it's all about feeling and absorbing the song in a different way.

Maybe also pick up the live DVD of Brian performing the entire "Pet Sounds" album in Lodnon. It's a good DVD which elevates the music a bit more by seeing it performed...that probably also did it for me because I saw the music unfolding and then you realize the scope and size of the music which is very wide and vast.

I was in my Brian Wilson/Beach Boys phase for probably 4 or 5 months...only listened to them trying and searching for that "thing" everyone was talking about. And then it just happened.

Re: OT - What Is The Deal With "Pet Sounds"?
Posted by: Elmo Lewis ()
Date: October 1, 2009 23:56

Quote
swiss

Elmo, your comments are great - do you think it would help to listen to the album before Pet Sounds, then listen to Pet Sounds to fully get how radical a departure it is?

Cuz for me a song like "God Only Knows" sounds basically the same (albeit slower) as what I think of as "Beach Boys" (like Surfer Girl) but I'm admittedly ignorant of them. Also sometimes the intellectual fervor surrounding some Beach Boys' fans is a real turn-off - like my last boyfriend literally shouted and pulled the car over when I [innocently] asked about Pet Sounds: "You're just repeating the Beach Boys orthodoxy -- without acknowledging the canon!!" (wtf????? I have no idea what any of that means! we didn't last long after the Beach Boys incident)

Also, a song like God Only Knows has been played on "lite rock" stations and I'm going to have to re-train myself from hearing it as sappy.

- swiss

I think Summer Days and Summer Nights was the album before Pet Sounds. I'm no BB fanatic, but a pretty big fan. Comparing something like "Let Him Run Wild" from SDASN with, say, "Just Wasn't Made For These Times" from PS shows a defininte maturation.

"No Anchovies, Please"

Re: OT - What Is The Deal With "Pet Sounds"?
Posted by: LOGIE ()
Date: October 1, 2009 23:57

Quote
HelterSkelter
Was it the Beatles or more mainly McCartney that was a PET SOUNDS freak? I don't get the whole thing either but maybe you had to have been there.... I wasn't that big on the BEACH BOYS, was more of a BEATLES, STONES, DOORS Hombre....

Interesting point.

Indeed, NOT LIKING the Beach Boys is probably an important factor in all of this, and I would bet that the majority of those who can't get into Pet Sounds would also have difficulty getting off on California Girls, Good Vibrations etc.

For me personaly, I was fortunate enough to have older brothers and sisters whose music tastes were incredibly varied, and within the space of a mere FIVE MONTHS in 1966, was introduced to Pet Sounds, Aftermath, Revolver and Blonde On Blonde.

No wonder I was useless in school.

Re: OT - What Is The Deal With "Pet Sounds"?
Posted by: Doxa ()
Date: October 2, 2009 00:20

I think the case with PET SOUNDS, as with SGT. PEPPER as well, is just they are part of the old canon of the progression of rock music, and that canon is getting a bit dated now. Surely, those albums were big deals in their hey day, but in a long run, well... are they really dated so well? I think that the true genious both of these band are famous for is much better represented in some of their older stuff.

- Doxa



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2009-10-02 00:20 by Doxa.

Re: OT - What Is The Deal With "Pet Sounds"?
Posted by: Jah Paul ()
Date: October 2, 2009 00:33

Quote
Justin
I also had the same issue when I began my Brian Wilson journey earlier this year. I came to the board with the same issue you are echoing today:

[www.iorr.org]


It took me a while to "get it." I'm not sure how it happened...but it didn't come with Pet Sounds. It was a combination of other tracks from their post-Pet Sounds canon and more importantly it came after a few listens of "Smile." To me, that is the masterpeice. It's beautiful yet haunting. I finally understood the importance of "mood" and "feel" that Brian was so obsessed to create. It was then that I finally connected the dots and went back to Pet Sounds and looked at it from a different angle. Listen to it not with your brain..but with your heart...it's all about feeling and absorbing the song in a different way.

Maybe also pick up the live DVD of Brian performing the entire "Pet Sounds" album in Lodnon. It's a good DVD which elevates the music a bit more by seeing it performed...that probably also did it for me because I saw the music unfolding and then you realize the scope and size of the music which is very wide and vast.

I was in my Brian Wilson/Beach Boys phase for probably 4 or 5 months...only listened to them trying and searching for that "thing" everyone was talking about. And then it just happened.

I had a similar experience with "Pet Sounds" - growing up in the 1970's, I was a big Beach Boys fan, but never got into the album as a whole and was only familiar with the more popular tracks (God Only Knows, Wouldn't It Be Nice, Sloop John B, etc.) Although I owned the album, it wasn't one of my favorites.

Then I saw Brian perform the album in 2000 at the Hollywood Bowl, probably close to 25 years after first hearing it (and not digging it!) Since that performance, I've really appreciated what a great work it is. Saw him do "Pet Sounds" again in 2006, with Al Jardine as a guest...like you said, Justin, it's all about feeling and absorbing the songs - beautiful yet haunting stuff.

Re: OT - What Is The Deal With "Pet Sounds"?
Posted by: From4tilLate ()
Date: October 2, 2009 00:57

Finally, I don't feel so alone. I've tried and TRIED to get 'Pet Sounds'. I do love 'God Only Knows' and 'You Still Believe In Me' but just don't get the rest. And I don't care what anybody says 'Sloop John B' is a piece of schlock that makes me reach for the off button. Whichever Beach Boy bleats like a sheep irritates the hell out of me.

Tommy

Re: OT - What Is The Deal With "Pet Sounds"?
Posted by: tatters ()
Date: October 2, 2009 01:56

Quote
Elmo Lewis
Three instrumentals is a little much.


Don't have it right in front of me, but I think there are only two. Let's Go Away For A While, which I first heard on the soundtrack for Neil Young's Journey Through The Past, and which for a long time I thought Neil had written, and Pet Sounds, which, though never used as such, Brian claims to have written as a James Bond movie theme. Not sure if that's true. There was no James Bond movie in '66. Maybe he wrote it for Thunderball, which came out in '65. When these songs were played live during the Pet Sounds concerts, Brian turned his back on the audience and conducted the band. The coolest moments of the show, I thought.

Re: OT - What Is The Deal With "Pet Sounds"?
Posted by: izzyanderson ()
Date: October 2, 2009 02:08

The instrumental Trombone Dixie was a bonus track on the remastered edition. Can't judge an album by it's bonus tracks.

Re: OT - What Is The Deal With "Pet Sounds"?
Posted by: Honestman ()
Date: October 2, 2009 02:26

I can't get no satisfaction with "Pet Sounds" and i try and i try and i trywinking smiley

OK with NICOS, overated since years for me.

HMN
[collectingthestones.blogspot.com]

Re: OT - What Is The Deal With "Pet Sounds"?
Posted by: ryanpow ()
Date: October 2, 2009 03:17

Ive always liked Pet sounds, even from the first listen. To me the music is accessible and it was a very easy album to get into. I already was really into "Wouldn't it Be Nice" and "God Only Knows". I think one way to "get" this album is to have an appreciation for the Phil Spector Wall Of Sound. Brian Is really influnced by this (and its the same LA Wrecking Crew who play on it) and he does his own thing with it with the lyrics, harmonies and moods he creates.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 2009-10-02 03:50 by ryanpow.

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