The Beach Boys - Pet Sounds (Vinyl) Mono

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The Beach Boys' iconic 1966 album, 'Pet Sounds', is universally hailed as one of popular music's most important recordings of all time. It contains the classic tracks 'Wouldn't It Be Nice', 'Sloop John B' and 'God Only Knows'. This expanded edition was released in 2016 to mark the album's 50th anniversary. 'Pet Sounds' is one of those albums that frequently ends up somewhere near the top of the 'Greatest Albums of All Time'. With good reason, of course, but it is curiously one of the most un-rock and roll albums of the rock era. The reason for this is the use of vocal harmony, and the utter lack of an orthodox rock and roll sound. Contemporary albums by The Beatles - 'Revolver' and The Rolling Stones - 'Aftermath' - both have recognisably rock and roll tropes such as guitar solos and twelve-bar rock songs. 'Pet Sounds' has guitars, but they're mostly electric twelve strings, and they're used on a textural basis, not for solos. No, 'Pet Sounds' scores because of the strength of Brian Wilson's ruminative and thoughtful songs, and the detailed keyboard, string and woodwind sections, and the use of Brian Wilson's exploratory bass guitar playing, which would influence Paul McCartney greatly. Wilson doesn't play riffs, but adds an almost Classical dimension to this instrument. Lyrically, this is so much removed from the 'Fun Fun Fun' / 'I Get Around' BBoys style - and is brilliant as a result. 

This is the MONO edition.

Pet Sounds is an album that (at least for me), I could never get into when I was younger. It was a bit too strange and out of this world for my immature brain to handle. But as I have grown older, I have started to understand the appeal of the album and why it is considered one of the finest records ever made.

Even now, after playing it quite frequently for the past few months, I can still understand why Pet Sounds may rub people the wrong way. It does not have any specific style and instead chooses to utilises many different sounds, some fairly normal for the time and others that are quite unusual. Fans of the band will be quick to point out the fan favourite tracks like the opening, Wouldn't It Be Nice, Sloop John B and of course God Only Knows. Three stand out songs and for a very good reason.
The album as a whole is an interesting muddled mess of psychedelia and '60s pop. It is very progressive in a way and strange in so many ways. It is too soft to be a rock album, it's too complex for a pop album and the concept is so elaborate that it should by all means put off people from both sides of the fence. But for whatever reason, it works beautifully. It just takes a little time to appreciate.

The copy of the album I own presents the album its original mono as well as a more recent stereo mix. The original sound is very warm, has a traditional '60s production and fits in perfectly with the rest of The Beach Boys catalogue. You could argue that it's exactly how the album should sound and should always be played that way. However, I have grown to appreciate the stereo mix just as much. Where the mono provides us with how it should sound, the stereo gives us an interesting alternative. By separating the tracks and hearing them with a lot of space between each instrument, it's fascinating. It lets you hear a lot of details that can be easily missed in the original print. I'm not going to pretend that I understand the concept behind the album. But I can say that after many years of listening to it, I finally understand why people love this record so much. It was an extremely daring project by the standards set in the '60s and is an album that has very rarely been matched on a technical and creative scale.
Pet Sounds is worth a purchase, no questions asked. It may seem a bit strange at first, but put on a pair of headphones and listen to the details. I would happily bet that you'll always find something new with every listen.

By: S. Lornie

A1 Wouldn't It Be Nice
A2 You Still Believe In Me
A3 That's Not Me
A4 Don't Talk (Put Your Head On My Shoulder)
A5 I'm Waiting For The Day
A6 Let's Go Away For Awhile
A7 Sloop John B
B1 God Only Knows
B2 I Know There's An Answer
B3 Here Today
B4 I Just Wasn't Made For These Times
B5 Pet Sounds
B6 Caroline No

50th Anniversary, Mono 180g Vinyl Reissue
Sticker on shrink wrap: "The Beach Boys Pet Sounds Mono 50th Includes Download Voucher"