Unlike most iconic pop music, the Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds never reaches you over the head with its greatness. But as it turns 50, its suffering beauty merely glows brighter.
I have at least three copies of Pet Sounds , the Beach Boys album that turns 50 this year. I have a version included with a British boxed defined that includes all the material the band recorded for Capitol. I have a vinyl Japanese pressing of the stereo mixture. And theres a Cd boxed defined to be given to only this one album, complete with the version as released in stereo, various backing ways, and a mono mix of the entire record. Does that build me a fanatic?
I dont think so, but then I know genuine Pet Sounds fanatics, and in that crowd Im only a tourist passing through.
For all I know, there are people whose job descriptions include Pet Sounds analytics. Nor would I be surprised to learn that it is the most written-about record album of all time. Certainly it is the subject of numerous volumes, thousands of magazine articles, and several movie and television documentaries. Its Wikipedia entry goes on at dissertation length. Fan boys and fan daughters simply cant say enough.
Whats interesting about that, though, is that unlike most records that get singled out for dissection, Pet Sounds ignited no movements, transgressed no social taboos, defined no styles. It didnt even sell in massive numbers, at least not initially( and it has the dopiest cover art of any great album of any time !).
It doesnt even sound all that revolutionary. It certainly doesnt sound like a boulder album. Nobodys kicking out any jams on this record. If you had to compare it to something, it might be a beautifully stimulated pair of shoes that never wear out and feel more comfortable the more you wear themand induce you feel better merely by having them on.
Or perhaps the metaphor should be aural furniture: something that you live with day in and day out for years. It doesnt change your world in any dramatic overnight sense, it only attains it more bearableand more beautiful.