Monday, October 20, 2008

The Beach Boys - Pet Sounds (A Capella Version)

If you look at any major music magazine's "Greatest Albums of All Time" list, Pet Sounds is typically somewhere in the top 5, if not being heralded as the first or second greatest record ever. Upon its release, it was by no means considered a failure, but only moderately successful in contrast to their earlier singles. Poor promotion had much to do with the album's less than extraordinary performance, but I'm sure the shift in sound and lyrical content also played a bit of a role.

The Beach Boys were known for writing catchy pop songs about surfing, girls and cars and the themes of loss, depression, growing up and the search for personal identity explored on Pet Sounds dig much deeper. Frankly, much of it is incredibly depressing and introspective and I'm sure that caught the casual Beach Boys listener off guard. Interestingly, the album didn't even reach platinum status until the year 2000, which kind of blows my mind based on how incredibly important it is.

The A Capella version was actually released on The Pet Sounds Sessions, a 4 disc box set full of alternate takes, mixes and the original mono recording of the album. There is also a really great booklet with a lot of nerdy information and photos included, but the real gem is the A Capella disc. The Beach Boys were always a vocal group and on this, all you hear are their voices working together, each unique, but essential to the sound as a whole. Hearing this definitely changed the way I hear Pet Sounds and made my appreciation for The Beach Boys even greater. I highly recommend checking this out.

The Beach Boys - Pet Sounds (A Capella Version)

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