Evolutionary Shift With The Beach Boys’ ‘Pet Sounds’

At some discussion boards and references within the cyclical void of the internet, Pet Sounds has occasionally been derived as the first Emo album ever conceived. Brian Wilson has been classified as a musical progenitor, taking the first initiative to venture into an unknown realm of musical creativity that his contemporaries weren’t willing to penetrate.

Wilson was 23 years old once this album was released. In a way, analyzing Pet Sounds in its thematic and sonic core sounds as if Wilson has just broken through the barriers of maturity. Both his hands constructing a direction so unverified at such a vulnerable age, and the transparent lyricism within the compositions had made Wilson resemble a figure of awakened wisdom.


Image from spin.com

The Beach Boys held a streak of singles, concerts, and albums that issued out playful ensembles appropriated for cruising under the sun or lazily idling in national parks. Surfin’ U.S.A. (1963) exemplified the hyperactive and rambunctious youth culture of the 1960s.

All Summer Long (1964) is as benign as it sounds. Cheeky songs that offered tongue-in-cheek titles in front of the cheery instrumentation led by the Wilson family.

By the time Pet Sounds was released in 1966, The Beach Boys were already in the forefront of America’s moral and social shift. Their name had already spread like wildfire, which made Pet Sounds all the more awe-inspiring and at the same time, confusing.

The band members, supporting musicians, and recording engineers had witnessed and remarked at Wilson’s direction of the album. The authoritarian direction of hitting the vocals at just the right microsecond to the polyphonic harmony of the harps, chords, and bass guitars, all following the same note.


Image from rollingstone.com

A few documentaries and recorded recollections by Wilson’s bandmates and supporting members all held a similar feeling with Wilson. They understood he had a vision in his mind, but they couldn’t grasp as to what it was he was trying to go for.

Not many albums before Pet Sounds held song such as I Just Wasn’t Made For These Times. The song depicts a genius in the midst of his existential crisis, exemplifying Wilson’s perfect vision of himself.

“Each time things start to happen again, I think I got something good going for myself. But what goes wrong.”  

As somber as I Just Wasn’t Made For These Times is, an instrumental session like the two-minute song Pet Sounds can be a wholesome experience. In the cluttering of cymbals and percussion, there is an ear-grazing sweetness from the guitar riffs that stride along the saxophone blows so effortlessly.

Perhaps with every leap in evolution comes along the raid of confusion. Pet Sounds received halfhearted reception from critics and common listeners. It was until every essential fiber was thoroughly studied and evoked that Wilson was finally recognized as an important figure for American music.


Image from udiscovermusic.com

Pet Sounds is the threshold between the old and the new, which showcased the necessary shift in musical consciousness from 1966 and forward. No other album before Pet Sounds was composed with a similar vein, as barely any other album after the album can come remotely close to its historical prowess.

For that, the album to this date is repeatedly mentioned as one of the greatest albums ever created.



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