Pet Sounds Songs Ranked

Pet Sounds is the 11th studio album by the American rock band the Beach Boys, released May 16, 1966 on Capitol Records. It was initially met with a lukewarm critical and commercial response in the U.S., peaking at number 10 on Billboard’s Top LPs chart. In the UK, the album was lauded by critics and reached number 2 on the Top 40 Albums Chart, remaining in the top ten for six months. Promoted there as “the most progressive pop album ever”, Pet Sounds garnered recognition for its ambitious production, sophisticated music, and emotional lyric content. It is considered to be among the most influential albums in music history. Pet Sounds revolutionized the field of music production and the role of producers within the music industry, introduced novel approaches to orchestration, chord voicings, and structural harmonies, and furthered the cultural legitimization of popular music, a greater public appreciation for albums, the use of recording studios as an instrument, and the development of psychedelic music and progressive/art rock. It has topped several critics’ and musicians’ polls for the best album of all time, including those published by NME, Mojo, Uncut, and The Times. In 2004, it was preserved in the National Recording Registry by the Library of Congress for being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.” It has been certified platinum by the RIAA, indicating over one million units sold. Here are all of Pet Sounds’ songs ranked.

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13. Let’s Go Away for Awhile

“An instrumental composed by Brian Wilson played exclusively by the Wrecking Crew, it consists of two parts, the first a more relaxing haven of aural rest amid the general awe of the record, then move on to a more introspective section with powerful percussions that put the auditor on alert”

12. Pet Sounds

“The theme that gives the album its name is a curiosity in itself, it is an instrumental composed by Brian Wilson where he collaborates playing the piano, being an ironic display of mischief and good humor in the midst of the sadness of this album, given the evident surf influence of the guitars that is reprocessed in a Latin style worthy of big band, in this way a contradictory backwater is created that gives way to the final manifesto of the album.”

11. I Know There’s an Answer

“This controversial issue was the result of the correction to another issue of the Wilson-Asher duo called “Hang on to your ego” which recounted the experience of using LSD, before this Mike Love protested and demanded the rewriting of the issue, therefore together with Brian and manager Terry Sachen they kept all the melody but created a new lyrics. Brian participates instrumentally in the take playing the organ at the same time as the pianist, generating an epic key riff that gives character to the song, like the low harmonica, vocally the verses are shared by Mike and Alan Jardine to lead to Brian’s chorus, curiously the three voices in that order are adding strength, giving the feeling that it was the same person.”

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10. Don’t Talk (Put Your Head on My Shoulder)

“One of the most heartbreaking interpretations of Brian Wilson, there is nothing ‘luminous’ in this painful song, a kind of ballad in which the choirs of the other members of the band are not even present. The Wrecking Crew provides a string section that seems taken from the most epic old-fashioned dramatic film in a sentimental display that leaves no one indifferent with the slightest heart.”

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9. I’m Waiting for the Day

“A new burst of energy appears here thanks to the Wrecking Crew’s very powerful percussion section with timpani and bongo drums included, Brian Wilson performs with force and a certain rage this song that is the only one co-written by the Brian-Mike duo on the entire album.
The letter represents anyone who has gone through that situation, which added to Brian’s energy communicates a lot”

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8. That’s Not Me

“With Brian playing the organ and bass, Carl the guitars and Dennis the drums, this is the only song where musicians of the band have the instrumental credits, curiously at first impression it is not more “empty” than the other songs, although by the way it has more minimalism, the truth is that the production manages to fill everything. The theme is an existential reflection interpreted mainly by Mike Love, with some intrusions from Brian to add more drama to the chorus. Carl’s guitar has a nostalgic magic, halfway between the surf configuration and the Harrisonian style learned from The Beatles, with a short and precise arrangement he manages to create a unique and heartbreakingly evocative sound.”

7. Here Today

“Lyrically, this theme is the answer to the first song on the album, showing the evolution from love to heartbreak from its beginnings to brutal disappointment, and although the choral work is magnificent, the leading role of the main voice is on behalf of Mike Love. The most anecdotal detail of this song is that the original mono version includes in the instrumental interlude voices of Brian Wilson directing the musicians, an error that Wilson wanted to leave to give an experimental touch to the song, which caused Love’s fury for give the feeling of little seriousness.”

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6. I Just Wasn’t Made for These Times

“Of all the songs on the album, this is perhaps the one that sounds the most timeless, not only because of the wonder of its lyrics which are clearly quite depressing, but also because of the vocal style, melody and composition in general, which is why this is probably one of the more honest and transcendental moments of Brian Wilson, the play to three melodies sung by himself in the choir is magnificent, the percussion and the organ appear responding to the voices subtly with drama and the end of the song seems to eternalize the moment by appealing to the permanence of sadness”

5. You Still Believe In Me

“A song notoriously made to compete with the highest compositions of European classical music, as Sean Lennon said: “Bach on LSD”, the music is played with an overwhelming elegance and mastery, adding the participation of Brian plucking the internal strings of a piano at the beginning of the song. Vocally, this song that could be played on a Christmas in Vienna, follows a line that is acquiring more and more vocal demands, landing on an epic Wilson melody, answered lower by Mike and answered by the whole group, also leading to a choral climax. Indescribable.”

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4. Caroline, No

“After the confusing sound festival of the previous song, the song that closes the album is another confessional moment by Brian Wilson, a kind of anti ballad that will end up conceptually closing “Pet Sounds”, with a torn and increasingly overwhelming vocal performance, Wilson tells the sad story of what happened years after the disappointment of “Here Today”, culminating in sound effects that signal a passing train and barking dogs (pet sounds) at the eventual sensation of perhaps emulating the suicide of the protagonist of the song. Thus, between the beautiful and the brutal and dark, what started in the paradoxical joy-sadness of the first song is closed.”

3. Sloop John B

“A Bahamas folk song that was recorded in 1916 and that was picked up by folk groups like The Kingston Trio whose version was important for Brian Wilson to take and arrange with complex vocal contributions from the entire band where he and Mike Love share the limelight. . This song also became a classic, the proto punk rhythm of the drums from the middle of the song gives the song an energetic blow that gives a new relief to the marine-psychedelic theme that is registered. The vocal performance of the entire band is a gem in itself.”

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2. Wouldn’t It Be Nice

“Perhaps the most representative and therefore misleading song on the album, this is because in its apparent “joy” there is a spirit that continues and evolves to the harmonics beach boys that come from the pop vocal surf, to the Wilson-Asher duo, Mike Love adds some words to the lyrics, specifically to the final part of the song where it takes the main voice, which it also does in the middle part of the song, combining the voices of both leaders interspersed in the theme. The guitars, percussions and sounds of keyboard and wind instruments are in perfect balance, in an in crescendo that also takes over the choral voices, which literally reach a climax at the end of the song. It strongly evokes summer nostalgia and youthful loves outdoors. Certainly a subject that hits from the start and takes your breath away.”

1. God Only Knows

“Another hymn on this album is this song idolized by the magnificence of its melody and instrumental interpretation with a French horn that is simply dreamlike and the contribution of Carl Wilson on guitar, this same Wilson being in charge of singing the song, whose vocal softness will reach here a new milestone, since Carl progressively became a sweeter but equally powerful version of Brian’s voice, which would begin to seal his destiny as Brian’s future vocal replacement in his absence. The final section of the song is a work of art, with the three voices interspersed by Carl, Brian and the new member of the band, Bruce Johnston, whose smooth and particular style had already been glimpsed in ‘California girls’; Thus these three voices feed back and respond epically, playing with the imposing French horn.”