There's little arguing that Pet Sounds
is one of the greatest albums in rock & roll, and its cult, if anything, has only grown in the decades since its intial release. Part of the fascination with Pet Sounds
lies in its detailed, multi-layered arrangements, in which all the parts blend together into a symphonic whole. The richness of the music is one of the reasons hardcore fans have desired a set like The Pet Sounds Sessions
, a four-disc box that presents an abundance of working mixes, alternate takes, instrumental tracks, and rarities, as well as the first true stereo mix of the album. Certainly, a set this exacting is only of interest to serious fans, and even they might find the endless succession of work tracks tedious. Nevertheless, there's something fascinating about hearing the album broken down to its individual parts; after hearing horn lines, vocals, and percussion tracks out of their original context, the scope and originality of Brian Wilson's vision becomes all the more impressive. (Make no mistake about it, Pet Sounds
is entirely Wilson's project, despite what Mike Love
states in his self-serving liner notes.) The original mono mix of Pet Sounds
(included here in a minature, cardboard record sleeve) remains the best way to appreciate Wilson's gifts, but for fans already convinced of his genius, The Pet Sounds Sessions
is a fascinating, educational listen, even if it's not necessarily indispensable.