16 May 2013

16th May - The Beach Boys' Pet Sounds

Artist – Album: The Beach Boys – Pet Sounds
Released:  16th May 1966
Sounds Like:  Quite possibly the greatest of them all

Well, I suppose I couldn’t avoid the discussion forever – just what is the greatest album of all time? Way back when, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was the default answer. Today though, experts are just as likely to plump for Revolver as their go-to The Beatles answer.  Modern(ish) music fans might be more likely to cite Nirvana’s Nevermind or Radiohead’s OK Computer, whilst the uncouth amongst you may well just say Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols. Snuggling up to that top bracket there’s also Elvis Presley, London Calling and Dark Side of the Moon. And sitting squarely in the midst of this gallery of greats is Pet Sounds, today’s choice.

Today’s ‘also released’ could feasibly have been up for contention, as Bob Dylan’s Blonde on Blonde is also one of the finest records of the sixties. But honestly Pet Sounds just blows it out of the water.

Bursting straight in to things with the exuberant ‘Wouldn’t It Be Nice’, the listener is swiftly pummelled into sweet submission. The pace is slackened on ‘You Still Believe In Me’ but the track stands as a good study in the Boy’s strengths – interesting, beautiful harmonies; naive, charming lyrics; and captivating, lush orchestration. The rest of the album continues to flit between the two styles – joyous, up-tempo romps and slow, gorgeous ballads. There’s not a dud note to be found. And right smack in the middle is ‘God Only Knows’, very likely to be the greatest two minutes fifty ever recorded. It is simply without equal.

I think, for me, the same can be said for the album as a whole. It is unequalled. Although... we are only 137 days in, I wonder what the next 198 days hold in stock...

p.s. possible contender for the worst album cover of all time??

Albumaday... rating: 10/10

1.       Wouldn’t It Be Nice – 2:25
2.       You Still Believe in Me – 2:31
3.       That’s Not Me – 2:28
4.       Don’t Talk (Put Your Head on My Shoulder) – 2:53
5.       I’m Waiting for the Day – 3:05
6.       Let’s Go Away for Awhile – 2:18
7.       Sloop John B – 2:58
8.       God Only Knows – 2:51
9.       I Know There’s an Answer – 3:09
10.   Here Today – 2:54
11.   I Just Wasn’t Made for These Times – 3:12
12.   Pet Sounds – 2:22
13.   Caroline, No – 2:51

Listen to ‘I Just Wasn’t Made for These Times ‘: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NR7_TbMIVnA

Also released on the 16th May:
1966: Bob Dylan – Blonde on Blonde

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