I haven’t listened to it in its entirety for ages. These days, listening to a whole album is something I do less and less. Today, I made an exception and was glad that I did.
It took me a little while to get into Pet Sounds originally. I’d heard so much about it that I had built up unreasonable expectations. I think part of the reason it didn’t grab me instantly was due to it being originally mixed in mono (because Brian Wilson is deaf in one ear) and therefore didn't have the same bite as Revolver, say, which was also released in 1966.
I now realise that I was missing the point. Pet Sounds is a gentler, more personal album, with production that matches its introspection perfectly. The arrangements are beautiful. The fact the album was masterminded by a twenty-three-year-old blows my mind.
Sadly, the experience was pretty mind-blowing for Wilson too. He succumbed to the pressure of following it up. What an awful price to pay for such wonderful and searingly honest music.
While God Only Knows is my favourite song on the album (and possibly ever), the other highlights are numerous. Here is one that is more often forgotten.
Don’t talk. Listen.