Okay, what do you think of when I say The Beach Boys?
Surf? Sun? Surf boards?
Well, there’s much more to The Beach Boys music than “Fun, Fun Fun” and “Surfer Girl”.
Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE the early Beach Boys records but if you look beyond the classic surf-themed hits you’ll find a treasure trove of some of the most original and creatively written (and produced) pop music EVER!
Yes, I said ever.
You see Brian Wilson (the main Beach Boys songwriter and producer) is one of the most talented and complex figures of the rock era and he spearheaded the creation of what some say may be one of the best pop albums ever made and I’m inclined to agree with that statement.
In 1966, Wilson created the landmark Beach Boys album “Pet Sounds” which featured not only some of the best songs The Beach Boys ever recorded including “God Only Knows”, “Wouldn’t it Be Nice”, “I Just Wasn’t Made for These Times”, “I Know There’s an Answer” and “Caroline, No” but some of the most unique production and arrangement choices that to this day are still impressive.
For those of you out there who’ve never listened to the “Pet Sounds” album beyond its three big hits, the album is full of subject matter (and melodies) that embrace introspection and melancholy just as much as joy and cheerfulness which were the trademarks of Beach Boys music up until around 1965.
Wilson has said that the “Pet Sounds” album came from God and one certainly gets a sense of the spirit or at least a sense of self-discovery when listening to the album – at least I experience the album that way.
I’ve been a fan of “Pet Sounds” since I discovered it in the late 1970s and have owned it in several different configurations (shocking I know lol).
I own this album in box set form (two to be exact), gold CD (also two), DVD-A audio disc with surround sound and a special 40th anniversary edition with a fuzzy cover but for some strange reason I’ve never owned this album on vinyl – until now.
Just this month Universal Music (who now owns and releases The Beach Boys music) has offered a limited pressing of 2,000 copies of “Pet Sounds” on green and yellow vinyl exclusively from this Website – https://thesoundofvinyl.us/pet-sounds-limited-edition-yellow-green.html
Well of course that was just enough to push me over the edge, the collector in me won out and I finally bought this new colored vinyl edition which I received in the mail this week.
This new 2018 pressing features the stereo version of the album that was created in the late 1990s. Brian Wilson only made a mono mix of the album originally and that’s my preferred choice for listening to “Pet Sounds” but I must say I’ve grown to really enjoy this stereo version as well.
I am used to hearing the stereo version on CD and I originally thought it was just okay until it was reissued by the MFSL label a few years ago and I found that version much more warm and musical sounding.
This new 2018 pressing sounds much like the MFSL stereo version, warm and smooth and with a nice depth to the sound stage, which is different from the more closed in mono mix but just as enjoyable. I’d say that both the mono and stereo versions are equally enjoyable ways of listening to the album – just different.
In fact I’d now say this vinyl version is my preferred way of hearing the stereo mix of the album as it is even warmer sounding than the CD versions yet still very dynamic.
I read online someone else had bought this new colored vinyl version and said it was dreadful – super noisy with lots of distortion. I must say that on my first play of this 2018 pressing I too was shocked at how much noise and dirt seemed to be present on the vinyl.
Luckily after three cleanings and letting it dry for a couple of days I returned to play the album and found it sounded just great! I’m kind of dismayed that this nice limited edition pressing would come out of the pressing plant so dirty but once it was cleaned it sounded just fine.
There was just a tad bit of crinkle on at the beginning of side 1 but after that the rest of the album was practically noise free and really wonderful sounding.
If you’re a fan of the album or The Beach Boys and want to grab one of these before they’re gone just remember to give it a really good cleaning before you play it.
Everything else about this vinyl version is just fine – nice sturdy cover with lovely colors and not blurry at all and the vinyl has this nice sea of green spilling into the yellow in waves on my copy which looks lovely.
Take a peak at the 2018 vinyl in the photos above.
As I said I will feature more about “Pet Sounds” and other Beach Boys release in future blog posts.
Until then be well and TTFN