Listed on Rolling Stone's "500 greatest albums of all time" at number 2 I felt compelled to check out this Beach Boys record. I mean, who doesn't like the beach boys? Fun loving Surf Rock with those timeless vocal harmonies. Well "Pet Sounds" shows of very different side of this band, or more so Brian Wilson who composed and produced the entire record, so much so you could call it a solo record if it wasn't for his band-mates laying down the backing vocals. Being the first Beach Boys record Ive given a proper listen I found most of what I knew about them to be missing. The catchy hooks, surf themes and chart topping, single oriented songs where no where to be found. The only familiarity were their voices which were always the main attraction.
Pet sounds is a strange kinda of melancholy. Through it all a bright, warm soul that's got heart beats away, uplifting and littered with colorful instruments it has a deep sorrow that's felt through Brian's lyrics of heartbreak and loneliness. Its insular and sweet hearted, the sadness seeps through a swell of beauty in the world of music he isolates himself in. A musically somber moment arrives on "Don't Talk" as an outreach of support and comfort in Brian's lyrics reveal such deep sorrow in the music has gesture has exposed. The experience as a whole creates such a unique image of a man torn between pain and beauty, and pouring it all into the music.
The music itself is a dense and intricate pallet as a whole host of instruments and sounds embark on a journey to play out memorable, moving melodies that come in layers, overlapping and intertwining to make up the themes. Subtle instruments and quiet calming sounds fill in all the gaps, even in the slower moments theirs a continual tapestry of fine noises to notice. In the percussive department claps, tambourines, and coconut hoofs expand the drum kit as well as bicycle bells and horns cropping up in places, its quite a delight to hear such care put into it all. With flutes, organs, strings, guitars, pianos and a seemingly endless list of instruments, they all join into delightfully simple, easy to follow and cohesive songs.
Quite often the classic vocal harmonization's drift from the main focus of these songs, grand and captivating in their moments, Brain's voice and his music holds it own alone and some of the vocal lines feel like another instrument, its actually really soothing how they fit in with the instruments and become apart of the song in that way. Much could be said for the lyrics and themes but they are relatively direct and the sorrowful moments come across with sometimes blunt "This is the worst trip Ive ever been on" and sometime poetic words. Ive grown so very fond of this record and quite simply can't put it down. One day this will be a favorite of mine, I look forward to all the times I can enjoy it again.
Favorite Songs: You Still Believe In Me, Don't Talk, Pet Sounds, Caroline No