May 16, 2011

Pet Sounds at 45

I was in a Beach Boys phase around the time I was a freshman at the University of Texas, way back in 1985. The only thing I'd ever heard off of Pet Sounds was "Sloop John B" and, of course, the majestically, bittersweet-fully beautiful "Wouldn't It Be Nice." But I knew it was the album Paul McCartney had credited with inspiring him to do Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, and it was usually ranked high (number one or two) on "greatest rock album ever" lists. So I had to have it. Back in those days, it was difficult (believe it or not) to find a copy of Pet Sounds on record or cassette. Being in Austin that fall of '85, I was finally (joyfully) able to find a copy of the record at one of the record stores (Waterloo Records) on the Drag.

Now I'll admit, I was suffering from an extreme case of homesickness that fall. Having never really ever been away from home, I was a mess. Hearing certain television commercial jingles was enough to cause me to break (privately, mind you) into tears. So the melancholy odes to fading youth and the pain of first love clicked into place in my mind perfectly. I had found the soundtrack to my angst-ridden freshman year! "Here Today," "That's not Me," "Caroline No" (sooo beautiful and sad) and most of all, "I Just Wasn't Made for These Times," seemed to have been writ muy especial, for me.

The album was released forty-five years ago today (Brian Wilson taught the band to play). The Houston Press has a fantastic write-up on it and this won-won-wonderful video about "God Only Knows" (first track, side two):

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