Let's Change the Way We Look at the Beach Boys
Start writing a post

Let's Change the Way We Look at the Beach Boys

An Analyzation of The Beach Boys album, Pet Sounds

Let's Change the Way We Look at the Beach Boys

What is the first thing we imagine when we think of The Beach Boys? Often, we see pictures of the band members (Brian Wilson, Dennis Wilson, Carl Wilson, Mike Love, and Al Jardine) dressed in matching “beachy” shirts, photographed by the waves, and carrying surfboards. Often, we sing along to their songs about cars, girls, and the beach.

We don’t take them seriously as artists.

We may think of them as The Beatles’ “little brother,” in terms of musicianship. However, we shouldn’t compare these two bands with each other. It’s not fair to either of them.

Instead, we should think about The Beach Boys’ music on a deeper level, to shed their image of a “joke band.”

In 1966, Brian Wilson's music was evolving, but his mental health caused him to stop touring with the rest of the band.

So, what did he do? He recorded. In fact, during the time when the rest of the band members were touring in Japan, he recorded their 1966 album Pet Sounds.

Brian brought in studio musicians to play on Pet Sounds’ tracks. This was a first for the band, and the musical content was a radical change from previous Beach Boys albums. In fact, it was also a radical change in what audiences heard at the time.

Because of this, it was hard for Brian to explain his compositions. There weren’t any examples of these types of songs on the radio that he could have used as references. The melodies were in his head— and that’s what made sense to him.

It was a tough pill for the rest of the band members to swallow. They felt replaced. Brian was writing, producing, arranging and performing these songs. To the members, the album was more like “Pet Sounds by Brian Wilson,” rather than “Pet Sounds by The Beach Boys.”

Despite the musical revolution that Brian created, Pet Sounds still didn’t sell well. The critics loved it – they called it the first proper “concept album,” and the music wasn’t meant to be danced to. It was meant to be listened to. However, audiences didn’t know what to make of it.

At this point, Brian faded out of the band, unable to understand why his masterpiece wasn’t being appreciated. His drug use began to increase, and he was beginning to gain a considerable amount of weight. When he did get help, he was under the care of a controlling therapist, who ended up causing more harm to Brian than good.

But let’s take a step back and think about Pet Sounds on a deeper meaning. It inspired Paul McCartney of The Beatles to conceptualize 1967’s Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, a concept album that utilized studio musicians, in addition to the original members of The Beatles. Often, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band is considered to be the best rock album of all time.

McCartney says of “God Only Knows," one of the songs on Pet Sounds, that it is “the greatest song ever written.”

The songs on Pet Sounds have the same musical theme: love songs with relatively simple lyrics, but underscored by complex melodies and harmonies. In other words, the album is a blend of rock instrumentals with classical instruments, such as viola, cello, and trombone.

It’s hard to compare Pet Sounds to Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. It’s like comparing apples to oranges: they’re both fruit, but they’re different types of fruit. But we can’t ignore their similarities.

If it weren’t for Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, maybe Pet Sounds would have faded into total obscurity. This is a heavy claim, but let’s examine it for a moment.

Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band gives us another example of avant-garde music being blended into mainstream rock music. It serves as an example that Brian Wilson’s musicianship isn’t totally “out there” and that it can be understood by people other than Brian Wilson. It proved that it was acceptable to have music serve as an art form, rather than just for karaoke tracks.

So, if you haven't already, give Pet Sounds a listen. Buy the album at your local music store, or stream it on Spotify. Close your eyes, and let the music blow your mind.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
The 100 Things Millennials have ruined: A Comprehensive List

Millennials: the generation everyone loves to hate. The babies of 1980 to 1995 take a lot of heat. I mean, we inherited a crashed economy, earn stagnant wages, live with crippling student loan debt, and try to enact change in a rigged system but our affinity for avocado toast and use of technology has wrecked society as we know it! As a tail end millennial, I wanted to know what I was ruining and, like any other annoying millennial would, I did some research. I scoured the internet, read online newspapers and scrolled through every listicle I could find. So, in case you needed another reason to resent the millennial in your life, here are the 100 industries we've killed, things we've ruined or concepts we've destroyed.

Keep Reading... Show less

Anxiety Doesn't Discriminate

This month, Odyssey brings about awareness & normality to conversations around mental health from our community.

Anxiety Doesn't Discriminate

It's no secret that even in 2018 our country still struggles with discrimination of all kinds. Society labels individuals by the color of their skin, heritage, religion, sexuality, gender, size, and political beliefs. You are either privileged or you're not. However, here's the thing, anxiety doesn't care about your privilege. Anxiety doesn't discriminate.

Keep Reading... Show less
College Boy Charm is Real and it's Very Sexy

After surviving a year of college and watching "Clueless" countless times, I've come to the conclusion that college boy charm is very much a real thing and it's very very attractive. It's easiest explained through Paul Rudd's character, Josh, in "Clueless". The boy who has a grip on his life and is totally charming. In this article, I will list the qualities of a specimen with College Boy Charm, to help you identify him at your next party or other social events.

Keep Reading... Show less

Tik Tok Stars: Worth the Hype? or Overrated?

As Tik-Tokers rise to fame, do their 'copy-cat' dances deserve the clout?

Tik Tok Stars: Worth the Hype? or Overrated?

Oh, the wonders of social media. Trends come and go just as quick as a story on Instagram, everyone posting for their shot at fifteen minutes of fame, and the ever growing following of a new type of celebrity- social media influencers and content creators. Everyone who owns a smartphone probably has Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, and now Tik-Tok, as it's growing to be a major social media platform for teenagers and young adults. Tik Tok became popular in the United States in late 2019 and since then has grown a considerable amount. Personally, I was one to make fun of Tik-Tok and say it was a dumb app like Musical.ly or Triller, and now months later, I spend more time on it than I do on Instagram.

Keep Reading... Show less

Because self confidence is sexy

And as a woman, I want us all to love ourselves a little bit more today.


Women have such high standards to live up to today. We’re expected to do and be so much. The great Tina Fey said “Every girl is expected to have Caucasian blue eyes, full Spanish lips, a classic button nose, hairless Asian skin with a California tan, a Jamaican dance hall ass, long Swedish legs, small Japanese feet, the abs of a lesbian gym owner, the hips of a nine-year-old boy, the arms of Michelle Obama, and doll tits. The person closest to actually achieving this look is Kim Kardashian, who, as we know, was made by Russian scientists to sabotage our athletes." This quote is not only hilarious, but also incredibly true! How many of you feel insecure every time you walk on campus, or every time you walk into a party? Even the girls you think are perfect are insecure. Everyone has flaws. Sure some flaws may be more exaggerated than others, but that doesn’t mean that the girl still feels bad about them. My point here is that it doesn’t matter how “perfect” you are, what matters most is how “perfect” you feel.

Keep Reading... Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments