Throwback Thursday: Pet Sounds by The Beach Boys
It’s been over 50 years since the Beach Boys blessed us with their monumental Pet Sounds album, and in those fifty years the album has been able to capture the essence of what it means to be young and evolving. To say that Pet Sounds is a coming-of-age album wouldn’t do it the justice it deserves, it’s a masterpiece filled with “sad songs about happiness”. The album that is undeniably Brian Wilson’s brainchild, led the band out of their beachy rock bops, and spearheaded a new era of psychedelic, orchestral rock music. In fact it is ranked as Rolling Stone’s second best album of all time, falling behind the album it inspired -- The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.
Part of what makes the album so iconic is that it entered into uncharted musical territories, not just for The Beach Boys, but for any artist. The album still stands out because of its multifarious melodic layers, the unique sounds produced (Wilson’s dog’s barking, soda cans, trains, etc.), and Wilson’s genius ensemble of instruments. Although he faced resistance from the band when he presented it to them, he did afterall write it while they were on tour, eventually the band worked it out and grew alongside the growing-up theme of the album. There’s actually a movie chronicling this, Love and Mercy (if you have the time I highly recommend watching) which provides deeper insight into the drugs and the struggle of the righteous 60’s band.
Pet Sounds is not only artistically exceptional, but it is also a great album to ring in the spring. Songs like, “Wouldn’t It Be Nice”, “God Only Knows”, “I Just Wasn’t Made for These Times”, and “I Know There’s An Answer” are definitely spring-anthem material sure to spruce up any sunny playlist.