in my car cd player are the following:
1. the clash- the singles
2. green day- 1,039 smoothed out slappy hours
3. the beach boys- pet sounds
4. ben folds five- naked baby photos
5. simon and garfunkel- greatest hits
6. paul oakenfold- traveling, disc 2
on nearly all music top X lists, the beatles take #1 and most of the top 10.
however, number 2 is usually 'pet sounds' by the beach boys.
i wondered about that for years. i didn't recognize most of the songs on there, and those that i did recognize [wouldn't it be nice, sloop john b., God only knows] weren't their most fun songs anyway.
[i should have learned from the 'trainspotting' soundtrack that just because you don't recognize the songs is no reason to think it isn't any good]
the album has plenty of history surrounding it and came from one of the richest times in modern music history.
as i understand it, the beach boys were having fun singing about surfing when the beatles hit and proved that there really is always someone cooler than you.
the pop paradigm began to shift when the beatles released 'rubber soul', another famous album with plenty of good songs you don't know. the sounds and ideas amazed and inspired brian wilson, the creative force behind the boys of summer and he went to work on 'pet sounds'. this in turn showed the beatles what could be done and pushed them further into the studio. meanwhile, mr. wilson went to work on his next audio masterpiece, 'smile.'
but the fab four beat him to the release with 'sgt pepper', and when brian heard that, he declared it so good that all of his work was now for naught and went into a deep depression, about which the barenaked ladies wrote a song many decades later.
side note: 'smile' was released as it was intended a few years ago. it's much much more like 'the white album' than 'sgt. pepper.' weird but cool.
sometime last year, i was working in the camera room at the church's movie studio and the d.p. put in 'pet sounds'.
it really sounded good.
a few months later i was at big daddy's renting the cleanflix version of 'traffic' when i noticed that 'pet sounds' was playing over the speakers.
jokingly, i asked the nice girl working if it was for sale, figuring it was her own copy. she said it was, and i bought it immediately.
best $6.95 i ever spent.
it played over and over in my car for weeks. that the whole album is only forty-some minutes long doesn't hurt for repetition, and that it is on the cd twice, once in stereo and once in mono, makes it that much easier to listen to it over and over.
i don't know how something that was recorded 40 years ago and that has influenced
countless artists can sound so fresh and new, but this does.
the songs hold that quality similar to ben folds of being able to capture the three-dimensional emotions of life, yet there is no twinge [or saturation] of bitterness or the like. the whole album feels soft and kind and, like the child in all of us looking at the world with confusion in trying to find our place, holds no malice or hurt, but patience and love.
even the sad songs somehow make me feel happy without ignoring the sorrow.
i haven't made a top 10 cd list for a while, but i daresay that 'pet sounds' would be the one cd i would take to a deserted island.
i wanted to buy it for everyone i knew for Christmas.
nice to know that when you think you have heard it all, or that nothing will come along to amaze you anymore, that there are things like this out there.
final word: a special tip o' the hat goes to my roommate, who somehow managed to get today's picture, after i searched in vain for it.
i had the title, but not an appropriate jpeg. hoping inspiration would come, i bought a used boingo cd off amazon. and lo and behold, my wish was e-mailed to me.
i am very happy to have it.