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85 of 90 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It really is the best!
I had heard reference to Pet Sounds many times over the years and knew it to be considered by many prominent modern artists to be a formative influence and perhaps the greatest popular music album of all time. However, I somehow never got round to actually finding this out for myself. Firstly, although I had heard and loved some of the well-known Beach Boys classic hits,...
Published on 10 May 2002 by Holf

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Beach Boys feed goats at pet zoo...
Purely as sound, this lives up to its reputation as one of pop/rock's most notable works. The problem with it is, there's a lack of energy and a complete absence of edge. Pet Sounds feels like an essentially passive, inert record; so much so that co-opted single Sloop John B, a pretty staid track by most standards (I remember our parish priest singing it 30 years ago at...
Published 2 months ago by gille liath


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85 of 90 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It really is the best!, 10 May 2002
This review is from: Pet Sounds (Audio CD)
I had heard reference to Pet Sounds many times over the years and knew it to be considered by many prominent modern artists to be a formative influence and perhaps the greatest popular music album of all time. However, I somehow never got round to actually finding this out for myself. Firstly, although I had heard and loved some of the well-known Beach Boys classic hits, I never considered them to be worthy of ‘all time greatest’ material (except perhaps ‘God Only Knows’ and ‘Good Vibrations’, one of which is actually on Pet Sounds and the other of which is from the same era). Secondly, the fact that it was mixed in mono also put me off. I would love to say I am sufficiently discerning to appreciate a mono mix for pure musical content alone. But the truth of the matter is I like the quick audio fix that stereo gives – I am very much into swirling vistas of moving sound.
So, it was with great anticipation, and some apprehension at being let down, that I first listened to this Pet Sounds release. I skipped the mono tracks and jumped straight to the stereo re-mixes. I couldn’t quite believe what I was hearing, so I played it back again… and again. It is now two weeks on and I haven’t stopped playing it, back to back, time after time. And although I will no doubt listen to other music again at some point soon, I know I will be able to revisit Pet Sounds any time at all for the rest of my life. It really is eternal.
There will be classical purists who will snort with derision at comparisons between Brian Wilson and the great classical composers such as Mozart and Beethoven. I love classical music too, especially getting to know a new symphony or concerto properly, understanding more with each listen until I almost feel as though I am inside the composer’s head. And I can honestly say that I feel the same way about Pet Sounds too. Although there are many other pop albums which I have taken a while to get into, there are none which I have got into immediately, and then again, and again in so many different, progressively deeper ways. There is just so much going on in these songs! How did he do this with the tools available at the time? In fact, how could anyone do anything like this ever again, even with all the wizardry which can happen in a modern studio?
I could never before appreciate how bands such as The Beatles, Screamadelica and REM cited the Beach Boys as a major influence. Listening to Pet Sounds, it is now so clear. It seems like a distillation of the best bits of many different modern classic albums. And then I have to remind myself that actually this was the pre-cursor to them all. I’m still trying to get to grips with the fact that Brian Wilson did this in 1966!
And this brings me on to the mono mixes. I have seen reviews of this release slating the stereo remixes as being nothing like the original and being a trashing of Brian Wilson’s legacy. However, although I do appreciate that there are differences they are quite clearly the same songs, drawn from the same cuts. And on the contrary, I have found both the stereo and mono mixes to be very complimentary. There are so many moving, flowing melodies in there that often a part which is obscured in one mix jumps out in the other. And then you can appreciate the part in the context of either mix. (So much for me thinking I was not able to appreciate a mono mix – I now know that I could have bought and loved Pet Sounds in mono many years ago.)
So, what more can I say? You might buy and not like it, but if you’re curious and are reading Amazon reviews of Pet Sounds because you’ve heard about it like I did and think it’s your kind of thing, then you’re already on the right track and buy it, buy it, buy it! And even if you’ve stumbled upon this by complete chance, buy it anyway, because although it might not click with you, if it does, then truly you will have found something rarely, profoundly, achingly, joyfully moving.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best albums ever period, 29 Oct 2002
This is one of THE best if not the best album ever. I wasn't going to bother writing a review until I saw a review which only gave this album 4 stars! I was shocked simply because there are very very few albums that have bettered this cycle of songs. If there's one thing to be said it's the fact that the songs are so spiritual and emotional. The slower songs such as tracks 4 and 13 are some of the most beautiful songs you'll ever here. In fact if you are in love or have ever been loved then these songs will mean so much. And like love this album grows on you. It's no wonder Paul McCartney thinks this is the greatest album ever, so moving in fact that he has often cried when listening to it. Like he said when giving a copy to each of his children, to be given a head start in life you need to listen to this record.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow...umm...wow, 7 May 2004
Just before Christmas I turned on the radio and, quite by coincedence, heard they were going to play God Only Knows by The Beach Boys. I was intrigued; The Beach Boys on Virgin? Then I heard the song. I can actually say that song changed my life, and will probably remain my favourite song ever. So, soon I...acquired it..., and listened again, and again, and again. Finally I decided to get the album for Christmas.
My first impression was of VAST disappointment. I mean, I felt so gutted. The masterpiece I had heard so much about, and anticipated for so long, had about 3 good songs and the rest were just filler. However, since I had heard it was one of the best albums ever, I persevered. Wow. Wow wow wow wow wow. Words cannot describe how incredible this album is. The sweeping harmonies of Still Believe In Me, the joyously up-tempo Wouldn't It Be Nice, the mind-bogglingly heartfelt Don't Talk, and of course, God Only Knows. And do you know what. My parents STILL think that it's "Christmas music". And all my friends think that it's a load of tripe (while they listen to Kings of Leon and Blink-182).
Now, only 5 months on, I've already bought my ticket to see Brian Wilson in July, to see SMiLE. Wish me luck!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wouldn't It Be Nice?, 1 Aug 2003
In some of its concepts this album isn't original; Rubber Soul was Brian's bellwether album and introduced him to the idea of creating an album as an entire concept, and Spector (Brian's long held nemesis) was the original creator of the 'Wall Of Sound' method of recording, which is basically the entire crux of this album. It also doesn't contain arguably Brian's greatest masterpeice 'Good Vibrations', which will probably always be held as the most complex, well structured, well written pop song ever made.
But just listen to this album. Every argument you could muster to put this album down, or to underrate it, will just float away on a bed of the most melancholy, beautiful, twisted, but strangely uplifting pop music ever made. This album isn't just about the notes and words, nor is it about techniques and musical 'sleight of hand'. It's entirely about perception, it allows you to look into the soul of not only Brian, but yourself. If there was ever such a thing as musical therapy this is it!
This album is essential to any collection worth its salt and if this has given you a taste for Brian, I would certainly recommend the double album ' Sunflower/ Surf's Up', under Brother Records. Brian actually was only involved in 3 of the songs on Sunflower, but they are instantly recognisable. Listen to 'Forever' and you'll never need another love song...
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33 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well desrving of the hype, 11 Feb 2001
By 
Dwight Steven-boniecki "author of "Live T... (Koeln (Cologne), NRW Germany) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Upon first hearing this album, I have to honestly say I couldn't relate to the album as a whole. I liked the hits (God Only Knows, Sloop John B, and Wouldn't It Be Nice?), but that was it. Over twenty years later and it is now in my top 10 desert island albums, and will always remain there.
Brian Wilson took a HUGE gamble in writing music from his soul, and while Pet Sounds has become a bandwagon classic among music fans world-wide, it is a personal listening experience that improves over time. You simply cannot get it the first time around.
The Beach Boys vocals are stunning. At the time of its creation Brian Wilson used the latest 8-track recorders to expand the groups vocal dynamics. This is an important aspect of the band...that is, they were a vocal group rather than a rock group.
Pet Sounds is a shining gem waiting to be discovered. Given that the Beach Boys haven't attracted the most favourable reviews for most of their later careers, this album is a rare example of praise given where praise is due.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Musically Sophisticated, 11 Dec 2006
This review is from: Pet Sounds (Audio CD)
I am not a rock fan, so I won't complain about the lack of aggressiveness in the music of Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys like some other commentators do. I am simply interested in chord structures, instrumentation, vocal arrangements etc With those points in mind, this album can't be beaten!

In terms of chord structures, many of the songs are more complex to what the Beatles were doing in Rubber Soul, Revolver and Sergeant Pepper's (not to deny that these albums were masterworks too!). E.g Let's Go Away For Awhile, God Only Knows, Don't Talk. In terms of arrangements and production, this is, I believe, where classically influenced instrumentation was applied on a large scale for the first time - in a pop album (The Beatles would not do so until Pepper's and Abbey Road) - with splendind results. This was not your usual rock and roll, drums, guitars bass sound.

Even the lyrics are simple but honest.

Ignorant are those who think Elton John and Barry Manilow are superior to Brian Wilson's talents (this reviewer seems to forget that Elton John himself has said Wilson was one of his heroes). It is well known that many musicians and producers including McCartney and George Martin hold this album in high esteem (Leonard Bernstein thought highly of Wilson too, at least with regard to his work during the '66-67 years).

The album has also stood the test of time, and it sounds great in concert too!

So, I would suggest you purchase the album without considering the garbage of reviewers who dismiss it for the simple reason that they are musically illiterate!
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surely one of the great albums of all time, 27 Mar 2006
By 
Lozarithm (Wilts, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Pet Sounds (Audio CD)
Surely one of the great albums of all time, Brian Wilson used his troubled genius to unsurpassed effect, pouring heart and soul into this collection of 13 masterpieces. In the Beach Boys he had at his disposal an incredibly skilled vocal group whose voices could blend and mix in the empathetic way that only comes from a family group who have grown up singing, and who were also perfectly capable of recreating the core of the album's sound in live performance.
Brian Wilson had worked hard for the group for several years, composing many of the songs, singing lead, arranging the harmony vocals, playing bass guitar and piano and honing his production skills, which were greatly inspired by the work of Phil Spector. He used the same pool of musicians and occasionally the same studio in Hollywood, and like Spector he was an innovator and pioneer who could brilliantly combine unusual pairs or multiples of instruments to create a unique single sound.

It all came together on this album, by which time he had retired from the touring group to concentrate on his composing and record-making. The beautiful melodies and the "pet sounds" he created were matched by some exquisite lyrics that were written in collaboration with Tony Asher and other writers. Brian Wilson had been inspired by hearing Rubber Soul and was fuelled by an ambition to match it in which he was wholly successful. In turn, Pet Sounds inspired the Beatles to go on to create Sgt Pepper. It was this spirit of competitive creativity that led to his unfortunate burn out during the creation of Smile, his response to Sgt Pepper.
Although not exactly a concept album, everything was recorded specifically for the album apart from the traditional song Sloop John B, which had already been released as a single and was included on the insistence of the record company. It does not sound too out of place. The first single from the album was the heartfelt God Only Knows (What I'd Do Without You). This got to number 2 in the UK, but suffered in America from lack of radio exposure by nervous radio stations, who began playing the flipside instead. This resulted in Wouldn't It Be Nice, surely an A-side in its own right anyway, reaching the US Top Ten.
The title song Pet Sounds is an instrumental that was originally called Run James Run, inspired by James Bond, and when heard with this in mind takes on a whole new meaning for the listener. The closing track, Caroline No, ends with more pet sounds: Brian's puppies Banana and Louie barking as the song fades. This had also come out on a single before the release of Pet Sounds, but under the name Brian Wilson, and without the beagle and weimaraner or other sound effects.
Of course, the original album already resides on everyone's CD shelf in mono. Brian Wilson was deaf in one ear and so preferred to work monaurally, again like Phil Spector. He also felt that he could present the sound to the listener in exactly the way he wished, without interference from any stereophonically knob-twiddling listener.
However, a stereo edition was produced and engineered by Mark Linett in 1997 for the Pet Sounds box set, created under the close supervision of Brian Wilson himself, and this edition follows the original album with this scrupulously remixed true stereo version. Not only are these versions often slightly longer, the additional clarity afforded by the sound separation adds a whole new dimension to hearing them, and takes away absolutely nothing. Technological improvements since 1997 have meant that the new stereo mix of Wouldn't It Be Nice on this edition is less different from the original mono mix than on the box set.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I just wasn`t made for these times, 15 May 2004
By 
Pet Sounds remains one of the most music changing albums of our time along with The Beatles-Sgt Peppers. Brian, as ever influenced by Lennon and McCartney spent 2 months on and off with Tony Asher on this project laying down the instrumental tracks in the first 2 weeks.
The album starts off with the pleasing Wouldn't It Be Nice, then moves into the moody You Still Believe In Me, the up-tempo That's Not Me jars uncomfortably with Brian's epic melancholy Don't Talk (Put your head on my shoulder).
I'm Waiting For The Day and Lets Go Away For Awhile finds Brian in reflective mood while Sloop John B and God Only Knows show that Brian can appeal to the masses , both being top 5 hits. I Know There's an Answer and Here Today are both very clever pop songs showing off the classic Beach Boys harmony but the real masterpiece of the album is the almost suicidal I Just Wasn't Made For These Times which ironically shows Brian totally unaware of his genius.
The album finishes with the instrumental Pet Sounds, a thoroughly adept piece of lift muzak never bettered and Caroline No, a song written for and about his then wife Marilyn.
Pet Sounds changed the way I myself looked at music and certainly changed the progression of modern conceptual music forever.
Brian was and still remains one of the very few artists deserving of the label "genius".
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38 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pet Sounds Wonderful, 22 Aug 2003
By 
Kenneth Mchardy "baronynine" (Bonnie Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Pet Sounds [DVD AUDIO] (DVD Audio)
I was never one of those who thought Pet Sounds was as great as everyone used to say. I prefered Smiley Smile and Surf's Up but I still had Pet Sounds on CD and even bought the excellent Pet Sounds Sessions boxed-set.
However on receiving this DVD-A release from across the Big Pond this week I must say that I am blown away! You have the hi-res 2 and 5 channel mixes as well as a hi-res mono mix. On the other side of the disc there are DD and DTS versions for those with only DVD-V machines.
My fav mix has to be the hi-res 2 channel one. It is absolutely wonderful and shows off the format really well especially as it was recorded in 1966
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For newbies only really..., 1 Sep 2006
By 
TeamScoop (Southern UK) - See all my reviews
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Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This package, nice as the fuzzy packaging is, compiles a lot of already released stuff. So basically, if you already own the original album, the DVD-A version, and the Endless Harmony and Pet Sounds Live DVDS, you already have everything on this set except for a brief George Martin interview and a "Good Vibrations" video. For a complete roundup of Pet Sounds in one hit it's excellent. If you're a big fan you already have the stuff that's worth having. If you're a completist though, it'll be an essential buy!
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Pet Sounds
Pet Sounds by The Beach Boys (Audio CD - 2001)
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