Author and music critic for The Wall Street Journal Jim Fusislli takes a look at the Beach Boys landmark 1966 album Pet Sounds. Brian Wilson wanted to push the band further than the vocal harmonies and surf-pop that they excelled at, incorporating literal and figurative bells and whistles into the recording of Pet Sounds, which make it an early herald of psychedelic music and one of the most highly critically acclaimed rock albums of all time. Fusilli discusses the band and recording along with his personal relationship to the idealized view of sunny California with a haunting sadness lurking beneath the waves that the album conveys. Voice actor Victor Bevine gives a strong, engaging performance of the material, making the importance of this album palpable.
In this disarming book, Jim Fusilli focuses primarily on the emotional core of the album, on Brian Wilson's pitch-perfect cry of despair. In doing so, he brings to life the search for equilibrium and acceptance that still gives Pet Sounds its heart almost four decades after its release.
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©2005 Jim Fusilli; (P)2009 Audible, Inc.
I liked the narration and I love the subject matter. The Beach Boys are my favorite all time group and Pet Sounds is one of the best albums ever made. But I was so disappointed in the author's point of view that Brian Wilson was the lone genius of the group. He gives Mike Love zero credit for writing great lyrics. He gives Carl Wilson a little credit. I understand that without Brian, the Beach Boys would not have existed, but I love that Mike Love kept the band performing for 50 years while the other members of the group moved in and out due to mental illness, drugs etc. So, I really was angered often with the one track love affair of the author with Brian. I love him too, but it took all the Beach Boys to make the group.
He could have been much more objective and given each member of the Beach Boys credit for the part they played. Carl was the peacemaker. Dennis was good looking and drew in the crowds of girls. Al was fabulous on the guitar. Mike wrote lyrics, was the MC and the personality of the group. Brian wrote fabulous music, arranged the parts and wrote some soulful words. I believe in giving Brian credit for being the genius that he was, but I wanted to hear more good words about the rest of the group and not so many excuses for Brian's difficulties. I understand he had the weight of the group on his shoulders and an abusive father, but everyone is in some part responsible for their own behavior.
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