Why “Pet Sounds” By Beach Boys Is A Progressive Pop Masterpiece
The Beach Boys live in concert, 1964 - Andy Lewin / Youtube
The incessant demand for the Beach Boys in the mid-sixties took a heavy toll on the members, especially for their prime creative, Brian Wilson. This burnout occurrence prompted him to focus on personal wellness and songwriting, thus marking the start of Pet Sound’s conception. The 11th studio album of the band was released in 1966, and evoked a reaction from the masses that proved its groundbreaking progress. Pet Sounds was like no other Beach Boys catalog, with Wilson and Tony Asher working side-by-side on the progressive masterpiece.
Wilson’s plan was to take things to a personal level, shying away from the jazz-influenced material from their previous work. Hailed as one of the most ambitious projects in the music industry of the era, Pet Sounds focused on a more orchestral approach to the music, with the implementation of the Wrecking Crew, a well-known group of session musicians who tackled all of the instrumentation on the tracks. The rest of the Beach Boys helped in solidifying the album with their impeccable vocal harmonies, making sure the high register clarity shone throughout the catalog.
Themes of maturity, relationships, and a bit of mysticism dominated Pet Sounds, a variety from the previous surf-themed tracks of the past. One of the most notable techniques used were the inclusion of bizarre sounds like bicycle bells, buzzing organs, even a Theremin, on the recording, adding a touch of reality to the surreal wall of sound the album had. Pet Sounds marked a sort of maturity for the Beach Boys, and though it is frequently referred to as more of a Brian Wilson record, the album still had the biting quality of the group that fit in with counterculture of the era.