Of all the music recorded in the 20th century, there's just one album that I'd unreservedly award 7 stars (by site criteria, equating to 'Superb, flawless music', meaning cannot be improved upon in any way whatsoever). And it ain't Pet Sounds
In every sense, Pet Sounds
is America's equivalent to The Beatles' Sgt Pepper
(another vastly over-rated album in my view). It's an album that routinely appears highly placed on those 'Top 100 Greatest Albums Ever' lists published by music magazines whenever they need to stimulate sales.
Sure, the album is indisputably significant in a historical sense, but primarily from a technical perspective. To modern ears it isn't especially notable in strictly musical
terms - it's just high-grade ear-candy, and there's PLENTY more of that around, so there's no reason to single this out as being somehow exceptional in that respect.
certainly isn't making any great artistic statement either - and by that I mean 'Art' as a cultural activity imbued with the power to say something worthwhile about - well, anything really - Life, the state-of-the-world perhaps, some incisive philosophical observations maybe.
Instead we had to wait a decade, until punk / New Wave came along, before post-war music started addressing something a bit more substantial than these clean-cut adolescent Mills & Boon-styled fantasies about life.
That's the main problem I have with this album - the plaudits heaped upon it are out of all proportion to its place in the wider scheme of things. Because it never aspired to be, and therefore fails, as genuinely Great Art, the album certainly isn't worthy of all the esteem still piled upon it by the music media, like it's the musical equivalent of the Holy Grail or something. To me, that's just esteem as in 'hype'.
by Reviewer: bluemoon