The Rewind Button is a group blogging project instigated by Rachel Tynan. As part of her New Years’ Resolutions for 2012, she set out to listen to Rolling Stone’s top 50 albums of all time. I thought it would be fun if a group of bloggers listened to the same albums at the same time, then posted their reactions. Starting today, we’re going through the Top 40 and will be continuing with a new album every Thursday. Want to join in? We’d love to have you. Email me if you have a blog, or just offer up your two cents in my comments area below.
This week: Pet Sounds (1966)
When I listen to this album, I become a teenager in a crazy-patterned, scandalously short mini-dress, lying on my twin bed and pining for adulthood.
You may say Pet Sounds doesn’t stand the test of time, and I agree. The flipside: it’s a portal to a time period that I perceive as softer and sweeter. The album is such a stretch from the “check out dat hawt rack on dat skanky bitch” type of music we’re used to today, it’s hard to know what to make of it. How was it received at the time? I feel like an outright rejection of the album would be akin to dismissing the poncho Micky Dolenz is sporting in this picture.
Although The Beach Boys are seen interacting with a cluster of goats on the album cover, you can’t accuse this band of following the herd. Their sound is so unmistakeable – one or two bars of that signature “waaa-aah-aah” harmony floats out of the radio and you can bet your life savings on the fact that you’re listening to a Beach Boys tune.
Granted, they’re testing everyone’s tolerance for male falsetto. Just imagine a Beach Boys/Bee Gees marathon. Justin Bieber? Why, he’s a masculine thug in comparison.
I’m on my fourth listen of the album as I’m typing this, and my primary complaint is the tempo. Excuse the crude expression, but I feel like The Boys blow their load with the first song (Wouldn’t It Be Nice) and it slows to a lazy crawl from there. If you’re musically inclined, you can easily test the tempo of a song on this site. Wouldn’t It Be Nice has a tempo of 126 beats per minute – it is indeed the fastest song on the album. Meanwhile, Don’t Talk (Put Your Head on My Shoulder) clocks in with a measly 63 BPM. Yeah – I’ll put my head on your shoulder for 2:58. Watch out for the drool!
The average for the whole album: 104 BPM.
Just to put this in perspective, The Beatles’ She Loves You has a tempo of 160 BPM, and the recommended BPM for exercising is between 120-140.
I don’t hate any of the songs – but I feel like I’m watching a slow-motion montage in The Virgin Suicides as I listen to Pet Sounds.
I guess I just have to face the facts: I like it fast.
Best song: Wouldn’t It Be Nice
Worst song: Caroline No
Most depressing lyric considering you’re expecting a song about surfing: It makes you feel so bad/ It makes your heart feel sad/ It makes your days go wrong/ It makes your nights so long/ You’ve got to keep in mind/ Love is here today/ And it’s gone tomorrow/ It’s here and gone so fast
Worth dusting off? Maybe on a hot, hazy summer’s night when you’re mellow, nostalgic, and visiting a petting zoo.
Who else rewound Pet Sounds?
Also posting in the series:
NEXT WEEK’S ALBUM: REVOLVER – THE BEATLES