I have both on my shelf right now, and I voted for Pet Sounds
Originally Posted by DrBenway
I never understood the supposed competition between the Beatles and the Beach Boys. The Beach Boys made some classic records, no doubt, including Pet Sounds, but in later years they devolved into one of the most insipid oldies acts on the face of the planet.
you fall into the lazy trap of judging the band and not the album, and believing that because The Beach Boys'
early pop hits are now saccharine standards, they could never actually create a masterpiece.
but this isn't about the bands, it's about the albums. sure, as a whole, The Beatles
were more interesting and innovative. but Brian Wilson, at the peak of his genius, outshone John and Paul (and George Martin for the arrangements, let's not forget) working together... even if only for a very brief moment. (I include SMiLE
in that moment, as well). I mean, it took three or four people on The Beatles' side to come close to what a 23-year-old
Wilson achieved essentially by himself on Pet Sounds
the lush orchestration, arrangement and production on Pet Sounds
was groundbreaking and brilliant, and without it, Sgt. Pepper
most likely wouldn't have happened... or at least wouldn't have been as dynamic. the recording techniques, the arrangements, the composition... the more you listen to it, the more you'll hear what a masterpiece it really is.
and if you listen to the Vigotone bootleg of SMiLE
, you'll see where Wilson's genius was taking the Beach Boys, before the label and the rest of the group mutinied and dragged themselves back into mediocrity.
after production on SMiLE
shut down, Brian Wilson essentially stopped writing and producing for the band and had a nervous breakdown, and ultimately Mike Love kicked him out and turned the group into an oldies act. but that has nothing to do with this (these) masterpieces.
as for the comparison, if you listen to Sgt. Pepper
, you'll hear that it's littered with some rather conventional pop-candy ditties (Little Help from My Friends, When I'm 64, Getting Better) that aren't particularly unified with the supposed "concept," and frankly are weaker than any tune on its predecessor Revolver
(which still came out after
Pet Sounds) or its follow-up, Magical Mystery Tour
, on the other hand, is a thematically unified whole without a weak track on it. it may be an innocent, adolescent vision, but of course it would be... it was written, composed and arranged in a very sophisticated manner by a 23-year-old struggling to find his lost childhood.