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