Band: The Beach Boys
Album: Pet Sounds
Why Rolling Stone gets it right: “Pet Sounds” is beautifully melodic and shows a marked departure from earlier car song nonsense. Harmony-wise, it's hard to beat; Only Simon and Garfunkel really did anything close. The production is amazing and featured sounds not totally heard of in rock and roll.
Why Rolling Stone gets it wrong: It's not that good. They did a lot of things, production-wise, but it's still just a whole lot of four-part harmony with no real edge.
Best song: “Wouldn't it be Nice”
Worst song: “Pet Sounds” Why have an instrumental song when you have such great singers?
Is it awesome?: Eh. I'm not on the “Pet Sounds” train.
Supposedly, “Pet Sounds” was written and recorded in response to “Revolver.” That's all good and well, but I clearly don't get it. I'm 26 and my music fandom is steeped in the Beatles, as that's all my parents played around me as a kid. I like the big two songs “God Only Knows” and “Wouldn't it be Nice?” are great love songs, but I guess I'm immune to the production nonsense that makes this record so important, I guess. I've heard more impressively recorded records than this one. Sorry.
To be honest, I think the love for the record comes from two things:
- It was such a departure for the Beach Boys
- We all love a troubled genius
Brian Wilson essentially went nuts making this album and I think people like to think the record is great because of that. Troubled=great, in a lot of people's minds, I guess. Well-adjusted people don't make great records, I guess (see Cobain, Kurt for an example).
Yes, it's wonderful, but it's not the second-best album of all time. Sorry.