Beach Boys: Pet Sounds (Remastered): Pitchfork Review
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Cover Art Beach Boys
Pet Sounds (Remastered)
[Capitol Reissues]
Rating: 7.5

The Beatles claim it inspired Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Some critics say it's better than anything the Beatles ever released. NME even called it "The Best Album of All Time." I guess I can see how someone might think that... but I don't.

See, at the time of its original release a mere 33 years ago, this was a historic recording, a classic. Brian Wilson's complex vocal arrangements, elaborate recording techniques, and orchestral flourishes were groundbreaking enough to permanantly alter the course of music. On the other hand, a lot has happened for music since Pet Sounds. For instance, compare Pet Sounds to Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon, My Bloody Valentine's Loveless or Radiohead's OK Computer. To these young ears, Brian Wilson's masterpiece just doesn't stand up.

Sure, the genius of songs like "Don't Talk (Put Your Head on My Shoulder)," "God Only Knows," and "Caroline No" is undeniable-- to this day, few people have come close to penning sweeter melodies. But this style of straight- forward pop music, despite its appeal on an instinctual level, has become passe and cliched. If this were not the Beach Boys, but some indie pop outfit on Parasol Records, it might make a few critics' Top 10 lists, if it didn't just vanish into obscurity.

Also, this long- awaited reissue contains both Mono and Stereo versions of the album, a pretty asinine manuever on the record company's part. The Mono version of the album has been available on CD for years-- there's not a Beach Boys fan in the world that doesn't already own it, and anyone interested in purchasing the album at this point will most likely not really be interested in having to skip ahead to Track 15 every time you want to hear the Stereo mix.

Of course, you've got to give the album credit for influencing people like Weezer, Burt Bacharach, and... oh, the Beatles. And it still remains a seminal pop album-- one of pop music's quintessential works of perfection. But, like its creator Brian Wilson, it just wasn't made for these times.

-Ryan Schreiber

Friday, December 8th, 2000
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