How to respond nicely to someone who says Pet Sounds is the most over-rated album in the world?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Brian Lux, Nov 24, 2021.

  1. Randall DeBouvre

    Randall DeBouvre forum resident

    You can use some Latin on them.
    DE GUSTIBUS NON EST DISPUTANDUM.(About taste, it should not be disputed.)
    In matters of taste, there can be no disputes.
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2021
  2. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus

    Yes, Pet Sounds doesn’t sound like those bands.
  3. Brian Lux

    Brian Lux One in the Crowd Thread Starter

    Placerville, CA
    At this point, Carl, I pretty much let it go.
    Besides, I'm more intrigued by the fact that this thread hasn't been let go by now. :laugh:
    Shawn likes this.
  4. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus

    Pet Sounds mourns the end of an American cultural movement that was musically defined by jazz, especially pop-jazz, and the prevailing notions and norms that were upended by the sixties cultural revolution; it’s mourns the end of childhood innocence; it is the flip side of Sgt. Pepper’s which celebrates the freedom, sexual and otherwise, of the era. Pet Sounds looks at the same world that album celebrates, sees in it dissolution and catastrophe, and in horrified anguish ultimately (and literally) howls “No!”

    It’s a hard album to get into though for a lot of people. The best I can say to those people is that it’s not really a rock album but is more on the path of quasi classical jazz-pop like Gershwin, Brian’s greatest hero.

    I think people come at it as a rock album and expect to hear a precursor to Sgt Pepper’s thanks to a narrative that has hitched them together for at least 25 years. It is that but they are more like opposites.

    And most music fans don’t like surprises and they don’t like this kind of music which is neither as sweet as sweet nor abrasively rocking.

    Also people just have problems with the Beach Boys in generally; they have a very complex narrative and presentation with all sorts of competing myths.

    In the end 55 years later, Pet Sounds is not going away.
  5. MicSmith

    MicSmith Forum Resident

    I haven’t read all 26 pages of this thread but I world like to add my take on Pet Sounds and the notion that albums are overrated or underrated.

    First of all let me state the obvious - music is subjective and one man’s ceiling is another man’s floor.

    I was 4 when Pet Sounds came out and probably about 20 when I first read about it’s existence. Prior to that all I knew about The Beach Boys was they had a string of pop hits in the sixties (a 1976 greatest hits was advertised extensively in the U.K. and got to No 1) and while one or two of these stood out most of them were from an age I didn’t (at that time) care much about or need to back track to - modern music was still doing it for me and taking over the coals of the past just never seemed necessary.

    In 1982 I subscribed to The History of Rock magazine and album series and started to really delve back into rock and pop’s past. Actually the catalyst for this was a book my parents bought me for Christmas 1980 called 25 Years of Rock by John Tobler. I still have that book for sentimental reasons although it’s coverage is somewhat light.

    Anyway the Beach Boys were featured in The History of Rock on one of the albums and it reinforced what I knew - they were an important pop band of the sixties and they eventually branched out into a more experimental important band - I read about the creative duel going on between them and The Beatles and that intrigued me sufficient to want to hear more.

    A few years later Pet Sounds, Astral Weeks, Revolver, What’s Going On, Sgt Pepper came up a lot in NME critics lists and now with an interest in rock and pop from the past I took a bit more notice of these albums that were so highly regarded. The ones I didn’t know I bought on CD and the ones I knew I listened afresh.

    I’ll be honest here - I already liked the Beatles pre 1980 one of the few bands from history that I gave ant time to - but even I struggled with the notion that an album from 1966 or 1967 was “the best album of all time”. What these lists demonstrated was critical opinion either favours some groundbreaking record of the sixties or unearths some obscure album that few people bought at the tome so that said critics can appear to know there onions. Personally I’m still waiting to be convinced about whether anyone can say this album is the best of all time - they can say most popular they can say most groundbreaking, they can say pretty much anything included overrated or underrated but I draw the line at “best of all time” because ultimately they are measuring something that is about personal taste - even a reasoned argument about the best of anything falls down because who determines the best of anything - critics can because they are paid to fill papers with things that are just a bit of fun but I’ve found by listening to these choices I generally prefer music that I heard growing up roughly in real time.

    As for Pet Sounds - I bought it and played it and I didn’t get it so I donated it to a local charity shop. That doesn’t make it overrated it just means it’s not for me. I have a mate who thinks differently but he was a big NME reader and bought into this way of assessing music years ago. He’s more qualified than me because he spreads his net a lot wider but I still subscribe to the idea that my favourite music (best in my opinion if you like) is the stuff I bought growing up. They aren’t on most critics lists and that’s fine as I don’t really need to have that sort of affirmation either.
  6. Carl Swanson

    Carl Swanson Senior Member

    I haven't analyzed Pet Sounds to that extent, but if your assessment is correct, IMO, that would go a long way toward explaining McCartney's affection for it. He was inarguably the most nostalgic and backward-gazing of the group.
    danasgoodstuff and Ms. Daisy like this.
  7. Listening to Pet Sounds now. It still just blows my mind.
  8. Ian Roberts

    Ian Roberts Fortune’s always hiding ⚒

    This is a coincidence as a friend and I were discussing music yesterday evening, getting all nostalgic. He mentioned Pet Sounds. I said that to my knowledge, I’ve never actually listened to the album. Or indeed any other Beach Boys album. Obviously I’ve heard, and quite liked all of the singles that I’ve heard. To give some perspective I’m 61 and so grew up in the 60’s.
    So this morning on my exercise walk I decided to listen to the album for the first time. It was the original Mono version streamed from Spotify.
    I didn’t dislike it. Some nice string and woodwind sections. Decent vocal harmonies. I liked the 3 singles best. Possibly due to my familiarity with them. Or maybe they are just the most commercial tracks.
    I totally accept the significance of the way it was recorded and how it influenced future music. No doubts. As an album of music, I still think it was ok. I’ll have to listen again
    Is it overrated? I’m not sure. That’s all down to personal preference. I can understand why people consider it to be so important though
  9. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus

    Oh, my god, I wrote this this long post written right after I woke up -- in bed, no less -- and I forgot to answer the OP's plea for advice! Apologies. My advice is below.

    When confronted with negative opinions with an album I like, particularly Pet Sounds, I always resort to the the same recourse: I break the nearest glass thing, take a shard of it and gouge out their frickin' eyes.
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2021
  10. MicSmith

    MicSmith Forum Resident

    I think you’ve hit the nail on the head for how I approached it. I was expecting something I could relate to with respect to the generally linear progression that sixties rock music took and it was nothing like I imagined it to be.

    I very nearly rebought it about 3-4 years ago thinking I must have missed something or simply I just felt I should have a copy. Maybe I will do so one day and will bear your appraisal in mind.
    Lance LaSalle likes this.
  11. TDSOTM

    TDSOTM Forum Resident

    You shouldn't have. You should still convince that person to give Caroline, No a listen ;)
    Lance LaSalle and Brian Lux like this.
  12. Brian Lux

    Brian Lux One in the Crowd Thread Starter

    Placerville, CA
    LOL, I'm pretty sure they would just say, "I'll take the 'no' part of that song."
    ARK likes this.
  13. VinylMan07

    VinylMan07 *Almost* an Audiophile

    How can you treat a person who says this well? Both Pet Sounds and Sgt Peppers, are, regardless of whether you like it or not, very important albums, not just for Rock, but for all kinds of music.
  14. DrJ

    DrJ Senior Member

    Davis, CA, USA
    I'm having a hard time getting my head around the descriptor "sunshine pop" being attached to PET SOUNDS. It's a fantabulous album, totally gorgeous, but never did I ever hear it as "sunshine-y," it's rather melancholy and "overcast," not in a downer way but not perky.

    Now if you go back in their catalog a year or two then that sounds maybe a bit more like sunshine pop to me - though even then the darkness was starting to bleed through in the chords Brian used, and in the lyrics.

    To me it's a defining characteristic of all the Beach Boys' music after the first year or two, that dark/melancholy and sometimes even menacing undercurrent is always there, setting them apart from the other acts listed in your post (excellent though they are).
  15. Brian Lux

    Brian Lux One in the Crowd Thread Starter

    Placerville, CA
    I'm with you regarding Pet Sounds being as you describe it. As far "How can you treat a person who says this well?", I've always found that being diplomatic and polite to people is more likely to be persuasive than by yelling at someone or belittling them. Sad to say, those latter methods seem to be more and more common nowadays.
    Lance LaSalle likes this.
  16. AngusStanley

    AngusStanley Forum Resident

    A technical marvel and genius level arrangements.

    but …

    Half the songs are crap.
  17. HenryH

    HenryH Miserable Git

    My response…


    This usually instigates an intellectual debate…sometimes.
  18. dwilpower

    dwilpower Forum Resident

    Glasgow Scotland
    You respect their opinion because being a sensible adult you realise that all art appreciation is subjective. You are not the sole arbiter of good taste.
    ARK likes this.
  19. dwilpower

    dwilpower Forum Resident

    Glasgow Scotland
    YES YES YES! The mad emperor had no clothes on- at least part of the time...
    AngusStanley likes this.
  20. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus

    Oh, sorry is this the "crap on Pet Sounds thread in the most insulting way possible?"

    Sure seems like it.
    Detroit Rock Citizen likes this.
  21. dwilpower

    dwilpower Forum Resident

    Glasgow Scotland
    It's an opinion- you don't have to agree. There's a lot of "twiddling' & fiddling" on the tracks - it always reminds me of someone who has just bought a new piece of kit and is trying it out for the first time seeing what it can do. I know a lot of folks consider it a masterpiece. I'm not one of them. My view obviously differs from yours but you can relax, it's not gonna rock the earth of its axis.
  22. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus

    Well, that didn't answer my question about your clear thread crapping and obvious trollery.

    AS to your new display of stupidity: Eh? Most of the backing tracks of that album were basically recorded live in a three-track studio, which doesn't even leave much room for overdubs.

    Very little studio trickery on this album. Maybe the backing track fade on "Sloop John B" or the slightly sped up "Caroline No" which most people wouldn't recognize as sped up at all.

    I see an emperor with no clothes and it's not Pet Sounds.
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2021
  23. marcb

    marcb Senior Member

    DC area
    How to respond nicely to someone who says Pet Sounds is the most over-rated album in the world?

    Say “Honestly, I can’t say you’re wrong...”
  24. cwitt1980

    cwitt1980 Senior Member

    Carbondale, IL USA
    I usually just go on a rant about how the word overrated is overrated.
    ARK, AngusStanley and Lance LaSalle like this.
  25. Musick

    Musick Forum Resident

    introduce them to Radiohead
    cwitt1980 and TheMightyCroz like this.

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