Before my senior year of high school, I equated The Beach Boys with teeny boppers, surfing and cornball beach cookouts where kids with plastered grins danced the Swim.
Then I read about Pet Sounds, the classic album they recorded as a response to The Beatles’ Rubber Soul, which in turn inspired The Beatles to crank out Sgt. Pepper. The idea that this surf group was in an arms race with history’s greatest band was quite intriguing, so I picked up the album.
As anybody who has heard Pet Sounds knows, it lives up to the hype. And so does much of their music when you really take the time to listen. Brian Wilson did things with harmony vocals that nobody else has touched. And the production on these records, especially considering the available technology, is nothing short of astounding.
Alex has long been intrigued by Brian Wilson’s descent into madness. She often asks (seriously, she says this all the time) whether his musical genius caused him to go mad, or whether his madness caused him to be a musical genius. It’s her favorite chicken-egg question.
I’m picking ‘Don’t Worry Baby’ because it’s just an amazingly good song, and one I don’t own. This gives me a way to hear it more often.