I guess it all goes back to the reason I prefer, by however slim a margin, Lennon to McCartney (and yes I know that this next sentence is a massive simplification): McCartney is like a soothing balm, Lennon is an open vein. I’m just more of an open vein kind of guy. Don’t get me wrong: getting to know Pet Sounds has been a delight and I understand why so many people adore it and, taken in context of its time, consider it one of the best rock albums ever made. Would I put it on the same level as my favorite Beatles albums? No. In fact, I find it hard to compare the two bands at all since, according to what I’ve read, the PS-era Beach Boys really weren’t a band: Pet Sounds was Brian Wilson’s vision, with dozens of musicians brought in to realize it and the other Beach Boys providing Wilson-directed vocal support. The Beatles were the real deal: four guys who played together, wrote together, sang together, held each other’s excesses in check while sparking each other to new creative heights.
All that said, the sublime pleasures of Pet Sounds led me to downloading the terrific Beach Boys Classics collection—”Don’t Worry Baby” is a proto-”God Only Knows” and almost as good, “Good Vibrations” is like having all of PS boiled down to one extraordinary track—and stumbling into what may be my favorite Brian Wilson song of them all: “'Til I Die.” Everything exceptional about Wilson’s songwriting, and the Beach Boys as vocal artists, comes together in this gorgeous, deeply sad—and profoundly moving—piece. So please, Beach Boys fans don’t hate me for not thinking Pet Sounds is one of the most staggeringly brilliant musical creations of the past century. Instead, allow me to thank you for turning me on to some exceptional music that I’m sure I’ll be listening to for years to come.
© copyright 2010 J.M. DeMatteis
"I'm Waiting for the Day" is the song that knocks me out. I love it.ReplyDelete
Did you listen to the stereo or mono version? The mono is far superior. I think producers had a better ear for that stuff back then.
Glad you dug it, but of course The Beatles trump The Beach Boys. There is something magical about musical collaborations versus dictatorships (however benevolent they may be).
"I'm Waiting for the Day" is a good one, Nicholas. It's actually the one song on the album that -- with a little stylistic shift -- I could see as a mid-60's Beatles song. Great drums, too.ReplyDelete
I have both the mono and stereo versions. I haven't immersed myself in the mono yet, but I will. From what I understand, Brian Wilson mixed the album in mono and didn't have anything to do with the stereo mix.
For me, the Beach Boys have always been "Kokomo."ReplyDelete
I smile every time it plays on the radio. A very effective, feel good song, even if that's about the extent of it.
My classmates and I played that track to death in '88...and it still works (though it could easily wear out its welcome if I played it that much now).
Well, David, I'm going to echo the other folks on this blog who recommend PET SOUNDS. Give it a listen, I think you'll like it. And if you can, download "'Til I Die," too.ReplyDelete
I'll give it a shot, JMD, as it has so many solid recommendations here.ReplyDelete
BTW, downloaded some of my Beatles' tracks to my son's MP3 player, and he's enjoying them, too. Last night he was running around the house (while he listened) telling me how great they are--especially "Paperback Writer."
Another generation under the Beatles spell!ReplyDelete
Be a tough spell to break, wouldn't it?ReplyDelete
I noticed the other day there's a "Lennon and McCartney Songbook" available on instant Netflix.
Worth a look?
I've never seen it, David, but the comments at Netflix seem to indicate a strong McCartney bias; so don't expect an objective look. (Said the man with the strong Lennon bias!)ReplyDelete
I think Pet Sounds must account in some way for that radical change in sound between Revolver and Sgt. Pepper. :)ReplyDelete
Please also check out, if you haven't, both Brian Wilson presents Smile and the bootleg Purple Chick reconstruction using the finished and unfinished Beach Boys tracks.
Thanks for your many kind words for my Welles radio page. I bought all the issues of Moonshadow when they came out in the 80s and still keep them in the same comic bags I placed them in back then. :)
A friend of mine recently sent me all the SMILE material, Hadji. Haven't had a chance to really listen yet, but I will. And I will absolutely check out Brian Wilson's recent reconstruction.ReplyDelete
So the Welles page is yours? Great. It's always a pleasure connecting with another Welles fanatic. I was just listening to a THIRD MAN in the car the other day.
All the best -- JMD