The Beach Boys, Pet Sounds

My brother, easily the most knowledgeable scholar of Beatle lore I’ve ever known, introduced me to Pet Sounds long, long ago. And this under the pretense that the Beach Boys’ 1966 album was what inspired the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Paul McCartney, apparently, saw in Pet Sounds a personal challenge to create a more brilliant kind of music. Which, in fact, most anyone could arguably qualify Sgt. Pepper’s as. This is all the more enlightening given that Brian Wilson supposedly considered the Beatles’ prior effort, Rubber Soul, as a personal challenge to write the most amazing album he possibly could.

This is all part of modern music history, and should be swallowed with the hindsight that both McCartney and Wilson were assuredly solid whacked out on major reefer from mid-1965 through the end of the decade and may not have gotten all the details just right later on. It’s also part of a history that shouldn’t concern us as listeners, because it’s as listeners that we can really love Pet Sounds, and not as music historians.

For even though it’s a major piece of our collective musical subconscious, Pet Sounds is really just an amazingly good album. Lush, beautiful, imaginative, and willing to take us away from all this nasty-crap bad weather outside right now.

And I’m fairly sure that ‘God Only Knows,’ ‘I Know There’s An Answer,’ and ‘I Just Wasn’t Made For These Times’ are the songs that will break apart all these clouds, despite the cold rain that like totally soaked the legs of my jeans yesterday morning, and that will ensure your world can be well rocked over and over again, on repeat listens, if necessary. And that all of us, musical geniuses or not, can at least appreciate that.

Because, seriously, I had to change clothes when I got home.


Andrew Womack is a founding editor of The Morning News. He is always working on the next installment of the Albums of the Year series at TMN. More by Andrew Womack

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