Rather, "Brian had defined it as wanting to write something closer to classical American love songs, like Cole Porter or Rodgers and Hammerstein. In a March article, Wilson spoke of recent popular music trends, saying that they had influenced his work and the group's evolution, "but so has my own scene.
That's what I thought we did. By contrast, musicologist Daniel Harrison contends that Wilson's advancement as a composer and arranger was marginal in relation to his past work. He wrote that Pet Sounds shows "comparatively little advance from what Brian had already accomplished or shown himself capable of accomplishing.
Most of the songs use unusual harmonic progressions and unexpected disruptions of hypermeterboth features that were met in ' Warmth of the Sun ' and ' Don't Back Down. Pet Sounds includes tempo changes, metrical ambiguity, and unusual tone colors that, in the opinion of author James Perone, remove the album from "just about anything else that was going on in pop music". The number of unique instruments for each track average to about a dozen.
They were originally recorded as backing tracks for existing songs, but by the time the album neared completion, Wilson decided that the tracks worked better without vocals. Rather, he was trying to get classical musicians to play like rock musicians. He's using these things to make music in the way that he understood, rather than trying to appropriate the orchestra.
In the estimation of musicologist Phillip Lambert, the album's "overall unity" is strengthened by "strong musical relationships among songs", for example, the use of 4—3—2—1 stepwise descents and the reverse. On "You Still Believe in Me", he references a "stepwise falloff of the interval of a third at the end of each verse" as a typically "Wilsonian" feature that recurs throughout the album, along with a "madrigal sigh motif " that can be heard in "That's Not Me", where the motif concludes each line of the verses.
An overwhelming majority of the chords used on the album are slasheddiminishedmajor seventhsixthsninthsaugmentedor suspended. Simple major or minor triad chords are invoked minimally.
Only four tracks feature a single strongly established key. With the exception of "God Only Knows", every composition on the album that shifts keys or has an ambiguous tonal center "uses essentially the same tonic—submediant relation.
Compared to previous Beach Boys albums, Pet Sounds contains fewer vocal harmonies, but the types of vocal harmonies themselves are more complex and varied. With the exception of Today! People always thought Brian was a good-time guy until he started releasing those heavy, searching songs on Pet Sounds.
But that stuff was closer to his personality and perceptions. Asher stated that Wilson aspired to create a collection of songs with subject matter that were relatable for adolescents: "Even though he was dealing in the most advanced score-charts and arrangements, he was still incredibly conscious of this commercial thing. This absolute need to relate.
Wilson drew on his recent marital struggles for much of the album's pessimistic and dejected lyric content. It is sometimes suggested that the tracks follow a formal narrative that documents the unraveling of a romantic relationship.
Even though Pet Sounds has a somewhat unified theme in its emotional content, there was not a predetermined narrative. Responding to the songwriters' denials of a conscious lyric theme, Nick Kent observed the album's lyrics show "the male participant's attempts at coming to terms with himself and the world about him" and that every song "pinpoints a crisis of faith in love and life" with the exception of "Sloop John B" and the two instrumental pieces.
The album is often considered within the canon of psychedelic rock. Jim DeRogatisauthor of a book about psychedelic music, surmised that Wilson's LSD use led him to write more introspective work, a contrast from the Beatles, who after taking LSD began addressing problems in the world around them.
They attribute this to Wilson's "eclectic mixture of instruments, echo, reverb, and innovative mixing techniques learnt from Phil Spector to create a complex soundscape in which voice and music interweave tightly". DeRogatis compared the album's repeated listening value to a heightened psychedelic awareness, that its melodies "continue to reveal themselves after dozens of listens, just as previously unnoticed corners of the world reveal themselves during the psychedelic experience".
With the exception of three tracks, Pet Sounds was recorded from January 18 to April 13, and spanned 27 session dates. For the backing tracks, Wilson used an ensemble that included the classically trained session musicians frequently employed on Spector's records, a group later nicknamed " the Wrecking Crew ". Wilson said that he "was sort of a square" with his musicians, starting his creative process with how each instrument sounded one-by-one, moving from keyboards, drums, then violins if they were not overdubbed.
Britz remembered how most of the time was spent perfecting individual sounds: "[Brian] knew basically every instrument he wanted to hear, and how he wanted to hear it. What he would do is call in all the musicians at one time which was very costlybut still, that's the way he would do it.
Although Wilson often had entire arrangements worked out in his head, they were usually written in a shorthand form for the other players by one of his session musicians. I wrote out all the horn charts separate from the keyboards. I wrote one basic keyboard chart, violins, horns, and basses, and percussion. Discussing Spector's Wall of Sound technique, Wilson identified the tack piano and organ mix in "I Know There's an Answer" as one example of himself applying the method.
The fourth track usually contained a rough reference mix used during playback at the session, later to be erased for overdubs such as a string section. Pet Sounds is sometimes considered a Brian Wilson solo album,    including by Wilson himself, who later referred to it as his "first solo album" and "a chance to step outside the group and shine".
According to various reports, the group fought over the new direction. I said, 'No, it is not! He'd say, 'Oh, you guys can't hack this. But I remember thinking that those were tense sessions.
Most of the objections pertained to the lyrical content; the band members did not dislike the music itself. Mike's a formula hound — if it doesn't have a hook in it, if he can't hear a hook in it, he doesn't want to know about it.
I wasn't exactly thrilled with the change, but I grew to really appreciate it as soon as we started to work on it. It wasn't like anything we'd heard before. He said that there was "not one person in the group that could come close to Brian's talent" and "couldn't imagine who" would have resisted Brian's leadership. I loved every minute of it. He [Brian] could do no wrong. He could play me anything, and I would love it.
In defense of Love, Asher said that "he never was critical about what [the album] washe was just saying it wasn't right for the Beach Boys. In other words, they gave in. They let me have my little stint. Britz: "Most of the time, they were never ready to sing. They would rehearse in the studio. Actually, there was no such thing as rehearsal. They'd get on mike right off the bat, practically, and start singing.
He explains, "Every night we'd come in for a playback. We'd sit around and listen to what we did LP night before. Someone might say, well, that's pretty good but we can do that better. During recording, Mike Love often called Brian "dog ears", a nickname referencing a canine's ability to detect sounds far beyond the limits of human hearing.
We worked and worked on the harmonies and, if there was the slightest little hint of a sharp or a flat, it wouldn't go on. We would do it over again until it was right. Every voice had to be right, every voice and its resonance and tonality had to be right.
The timing had to be right. The timbre of the voices just had to be correct, according to how he felt. And then he might, the next day, completely throw that out and we might have to do it over again.
Similar to subsequent experimental rock LPs by Frank Zappathe Beatles, and the Who, Pet Sounds featured countertextural aspects that called attention to the very recordedness of the album. Archivist Mark Linett notes: "to my ears, it sounds more like the plate [reverberators] rather than chambers. It should be mentioned that you get a significantly different sound from a chamber when you record it 'live' as opposed to doing it off tape, and one reason these records sound the way they do is that the reverb was being printed as part of the recording — unlike today where we'll record 'dry' and add the effects later.
It was full of noise. You could hear him talking in the background. It was real sloppy. He had spent all this time making the album, and zip—dubbed it down in one day or something like that.
I think a lot of times, beautiful orchestrated stuff or parts got lost in his mixes. On April 13,the album's final vocal overdubbing session, for "Here Today", concluded a ten-month-long recording period that had begun with "Sloop John B" in July A similar anomaly is heard in the instrumental break of "Here Today", where a distant conversation was accidentally captured during a vocal overdub.
A true stereophonic mix of Pet Sounds was not considered in largely because of mixing logistics. He did this because he felt that mono mastering provided more sonic control over the final result, irrespective of the vagaries of speaker placement and sound system quality. According to Asher, "It's strange to sit down and write a song about not talking It is perhaps one of the most dynamic moments in the album. Lyrically, it is about a boy who falls in love with a broken-hearted girl who is reluctant to commit herself to another relationship.
It was co-credited to Love, who made a minor adjustment to Wilson's lyrics. This may have been done as a deliberate reference to acid trips. Brian included "Sloop John B" on Pet Sounds to appease Capitol Records, who voiced concerns that the album required the inclusion of a hit single in order to sell. And it's the only song on Pet Sounds Brian didn't write. Fusilli posits that the track fits musically with the album, citing the track's chiming guitars, doubletracked basses, and staccato rhythms.
After about ten years, I started thinking about it deeper And I remember him talking about ' Stella by Starlight ' and he had a certain love for classic songs. It was a beautiful thing. I just thought that to say 'Hang on to your ego' was an ego statement in and of itself, which I wasn't going for, so I changed it.
I gave it a lot of thought. All my friends thought I was crazy to do Pet Sounds. When spoken, however, Brian heard this as "Caroline, No", which Asher thought was "a much stronger and more interesting line than the one I had in mind.
I just felt sad, so I wrote a sad song. Writer Neal Umphred speculated that the song might have been considered for the LP and would have probably been included had the single been more commercially successful. On October 15,Wilson went to the studio with a piece orchestra to record an instrumental piece entitled "Three Blind Mice", which bore no musical connection to the nursery rhyme of the same name.
Another instrumental, " Trombone Dixie ", was recorded on November 1. It was nothing, there was really nothing in it. In lateWilson devoted some Pet Sounds sessions to experimental indulgences such as an extended a cappella run-through of the children's song " Row, Row, Row Your Boat " that exploited the song's use of rounds. These recordings remain unreleased. According to documentarian Keith Badman, "Just as with his music, Brian insists on perfection for 'Dick' and [six] further takes are made by Carol to tell the joke.
The front sleeve depicts a snapshot of the band — from left, they are Carl, Brian, and Dennis Wilson; Mike Love; and Al Jardine — feeding pieces of apples to seven goats at the San Diego Zoo while dressed in coats and sweaters. Writing in his memoir, Love said that Capitol planned the cover shoot after the company had conceived the would-be album title Our Freaky Friendswith the animals representing the group's "freaky friends". He credited Album) art department with the idea.
The cover photo was taken on February 10, by photographer George Jerman. Zoo officials were not keen about having their beloved beasts connected with the title of the album, but gave in when the Beach Boys explained that animals are an 'in' thing with teenagers. And that the Beach Boys were rushing to beat the rock and roll group called The Animals. The zoo said we were torturing the animals but they should have seen what we had to go through.
We were doing all the suffering. A taped conversation from the March dog barking session for "Caroline, No" reveals that Brian considered photographing a horse belonging to Carl in Western Studio 3 for the album cover. That was the whole idea". He said, "we didn't have a title. We had taken pictures at the zoo and In the s, Brian credited Carl with the title. The ears of a dog? Asher did not have a favorable reaction to the title.
He remembered that Brian showed him "some proofs of the pictures they'd done at the zoo, and he told me they were thinking of calling the album Pet Sounds. I thought it was a goofy name for an album — I thought it trivialized what we had accomplished. Personally, I think the group has evolved another per cent in the last year.
We have a more conscious, arty production now that's more polished. It's all been like an explosion for us. For updating the band's image with firsthand accounts of their latest activities, Taylor's prestige was crucial in offering a credible perspective to those outside Wilson's inner circle. On March 7, the single "Caroline No" B-side " Summer Means New Love "was released as Wilson's solo debut,  leading to speculation that he was considering leaving the band.
We both cried. Right after we listened to it, he said he was scared that nobody was going to like it. That it was too intricate. Following several meetings — the last of which had Brian appearing with a tape recorder and responding to their questions with eight pre-recorded responses — Capitol accepted the album as the Beach Boys' next LP.
Pet Sounds was released on May 16 and debuted on the Billboard charts at For the album's promotion in the US, Capitol ran full-page advertisements in Billboard that did not distinguish the record from earlier Beach Boys offerings and relied on the group's familiar public image instead of rebranding. Like they had done for previous spots, the members performed a comedy skit without any indication of what the record they were promoting sounded like.
Instead, they relied on their name recognition. Within two months, Capitol assembled the group's first greatest hits compilation, Best of the Beach Boyswhich was quickly certified gold by the RIAA. EMI planned to release the record in November to coincide with the band's tour of Britain.
Pet Sounds was one of the five best-selling UK albums of Early reviews for the album in the U. By contrast, the reception from music journalists in the UK was highly favourable   due in part to the promotional efforts of Taylor, Johnston, and Fowley. The whole LP is far more romantic than the usual Beach Boys jollity: sad little wistful songs about lost love and found love and all-around love.
He prefaced his review as "unbiased" and wrote that his only "real complaint" with the album was the "terribly complicated and cluttered" arrangements. Instrumentally ambitious, if vocally over-pretty, Pet Sounds has brilliantly tapped the pulse of the musical times. A superb, important and really exciting collection from the group whose recording career so far has been a bit of a hotchpotch. Melody Maker ran a feature in which many pop musicians were asked whether they believed that the album was truly revolutionary and progressive, or "as sickly as peanut butter".
I haven't spent much time listening to the Beach Boys before, but I'm a fan now and I just want to listen to this LP again and again. It's the pop equivalent of that, a complete exercise in pop music. It's written for a feminine audience.
In other issues of Melody MakerMick Jagger stated that he disliked the songs but enjoyed the record and its harmonies, while John Lennon said that Wilson was "doing some very great things". The paper's spokesman wrote, "We argued, argued and argued and still the MM pop panel couldn't agree which was the Pop Album of the Year.
The voting was evenly divided Cups of coffee were drunk and sheets of paper were torn up before we finally agreed to compromise and vote for both The Beatles and Beach Boys on top. Wilson later said that despite the positive reception afforded to the album in Britain, he still felt deeply hurt when Pet Sounds did not sell as highly as he expected and interpreted the poor sales as the public's rejection of his artistry. It reminded him of failing. And then he was more tortured.
In mid, Brian began writing songs with lyricist Van Dyke Parks for a new album, Smilethat was never finished but would have included "Good Vibrations". As Wilson's mental health deteriorated, his involvement with the Beach Boys reduced, and the group instead released follow-up records that were less ambitious and largely ignored by critics.
The Beach Boys, accompanied by Timothy B. Schmitre-recorded "Caroline, No" with a new multi-part vocal arrangement for the album Stars and Stripes Vol. The main reason for this is absurdly simple Just as it was settling nicely into its position as the world's number one popular music record, the far more fashionable Beatles released Sgt Pepperand Pet Sounds was forgotten, just like that.
Pet Sounds was not nominated for the Grammy Awards. Geoffrey Cannon wrote in his late column for Listener that the group were "lesser than the Beatles" chiefly due to a lack of "emotional range; all their ballads, in evidence especially on Pet Soundsare juvenile or specious. And none of their albums makes a collective statement. According to author Johnny Morgan, a "process of reevaluation" of Pet Sounds was underway from the late s onward, with a NME feature proving especially influential.
AfterPet Sounds went out-of-print. In Granata's description, the album subsequently "fell into obscurity" and was "relegated to the cutout bins" for decades.
Pet Sounds has since appeared in many "greatest records of all time" lists and has provoked extensive discourse regarding its musicianship and production. Wilson himself felt bemused by the album's continued acclaim. In a documentary about the album, he commented, "It keeps going back to Pet Sounds here in my life, and I'm going, 'What about this Pet Sounds?
Is it really that good an album? I don't know. Leone opined that the work had aged well and deserved its continued praise, although he preferred the band's post- Pet Sounds recordings. He wrote:. Certainly, regardless of what I write here, the impact and "influence" of the record will have been in turn hardly influenced at all.
I can't even get my dad to talk about Pet Sounds anymore. Very famous people waste no time in offering testimonials to Pet Sounds ' greatness The hymnal aspect of many of these songs seems no less pronounced, and the general air of deeply heartfelt love, graciousness and the uncertainty that any of it will be returned are still affecting to the point of distraction.
In Chris Smith's book Albums That Changed Popular MusicPet Sounds is evaluated as "one of the most innovative recordings in rock" and as the work that "elevated Brian Wilson from talented bandleader to studio genius". For all of its inward-looking sentimentalism, it lays out in a masterful way the kind of glow and sui generis vision that Brian aimed to expand in a radical way with Smile. Maloney opined: "The songs on Pet Sounds are great, but you have to wonder, given all the hype and mythology and our love of shallow nostalgia, what we mean when we call it a classic or Wilson a genius.
Consider what [Frank] Zappa was doing into say nothing of Miles [Davis]. Wilson's high reputation is evidence of our obsession with childlike innocence and the victory of boring poptimism. Pet Sounds is recognized as an ambitious and sophisticated work that advanced the field of music production in addition to setting a higher standard in music composition and numerous precedents in its recording.
It's been said that, although hardly anyone bought the Velvet Underground 's records, those who did ended up being inspired to start their own bands. In the case of the Beach Boys' opus Pet Soundsit's likely that each of its 13 songs inspired its own subset of pop offspring Although not originally a big LP, Pet Sounds was "enormously" influential from the moment of its release. Recordssupported that Pet Sounds likely contributed to a higher emphasis on studio artistry among West Coast artists.
It was a landmark record". In terms of musical conception, lyric content, production and performance, it stood as a landmark in a music genre whose development was about to begin snowballing. In rock music, Pet Sounds marked the first occasion in which doubling was used for virtually every instrument, a technique previously limited to classical composers and orchestrators. Strauss, the Beach Boys were also the first major rock group to openly challenge contemporary music trends "and declare that rock really didn't matter.
Cultural historian John Robert Greene stated that "God Only Knows" remade the ideal of the popular love song, while "Sloop John B" and "Pet Sounds" broke new ground and took rock music away from its casual lyrics and melodic structures into what was then uncharted territory. Pet Sounds is often cited as one of the earliest entries in the canon of psychedelic rock.
While many may struggle to see the direct link between the bright, bouncy tones of Pet Sounds and bands like the Beatles, Jimi Hendrix and countless prog-rock bands, there was simply no precedent for the way that notes moved and vibrated across the record. Pet Sounds marked the origins of progressive pop, a genre that gave way to progressive rock. Tidal contributor Ryan Breed cited the album's "non-rock instrumentation strings, brass, Theremin, harpsichord, tack pianodizzying key changes and complex vocal harmonies" as features that informed prog-pop.
The album also furthered the "rock as art" concept heralded by Rubber Soul. Composer and journalist Frank Oteri recognized Pet Sounds as a "clear precedent" to the birth of album-oriented rock and progressive rock. I think there were lots of Beach Boy things on the Revolver album. Especially, the vocal harmony. Wilson really said a lot in his Pet Sounds album.
You know, 'Let's put a french horn in there! In the wake of Pet SoundsWilson was heralded as the leading figure of the "art-rock" movement. Discussions of the greatest albums of all time frequently mention Pet Sounds with the Beatles' Revolver and Bob Dylan 's Blonde on Blondewhich were all released within four months of each other.
Rock historians also frequently link Pet Sounds to the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Pepper  and influenced his Revolver composition " Here, There and Everywhere ". Pepper were the upper-register bass lines, a larger emphasis on floor toms, and more eclectic and unorthodox combinations of instruments including bass harmonica.
During the s, Pet Sounds was influential to indie pop musicians  as Wilson became "godfather" to an era of indie musicians who were inspired by his melodic sensibilities, studio experimentation, and chamber pop orchestrations. The album's influence on emo musicaccording to writer Sean Cureton, is evident on Weezer 's Pinkerton and Death Cab for Cutie 's Transatlanticism In the decades since its release, Pet Sounds has influenced artists from a wide span of genres, including rock, pop, hip hopjazz, electronicexperimentaland punk.
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