Sunday, May 22, 2016

CD Review: The Beach Boys Celebrate 50 Years Of "Pet Sounds" With New Box Set

Last Monday, May 16th marked the 50th anniversary of the original release of the monumental album "Pet Sounds" from The Beach Boys. This album featured a small glimpse into the mind of the musical genius Brian Wilson and it has inspired countless musicians, including Paul McCartney and John Lennon. But fans already know the history of the album and its recording process. To celebrate this great album, Capitol/UMe will be releasing a 5-disc box titled simply "The Beach Boys Pet Sounds 50th" on June 10th. It features 4 CDs full of studio outtakes and one Blu-ray audio that collectors have been waiting for.

The first disc consists of the mono and stereo versions of the album along with four bonus tracks that consist of two promotional spots for the song "Caroline No" which was originally a Brian Wilson solo single. The other two bonus songs consist of unused vocals for the song "Don't Talk" and an alternate mix of "Hang On To Your Ego," which became the song "I Know There's An Answer."

The second and third discs are where fans get to dissect of every song on the original album, beginning with highlights and backing tracks from "Sloop John B" and the unreleased "Trombone Dixie." On these discs you will hear Brian Wilson conducting the orchestra and even The Beach Boys to delivery the sounds he has in his head as multiple takes of songs are included in this set. While not every take is included, you get a sense of what the atmosphere may have been like on any given day in the studio trying to create this musical masterpiece. Highlights include the sweet backing vocals for "Wouldn't It Be Nice," a nine-minute vocal session for "I Know There's An Answer," highlights from the amazingly timeless "God Only Knows" and, of course session and vocal takes of "Good Vibrations," which ended up being left off the album.

The fourth disc in this set consists of previously unreleased live recordings of songs from the "Pet Sounds" album throughout the remainder of The Beach Boys career, up until 1993. Included are live versions of "God Only Knows" from The Jamaican World Music Festival in 1982 and "Sloop John B" recorded live at Universal Studio in 1989, along with excerpts from shows in 1966 and 1967. The second half of the fourth disc consists of the "Stack-O-Vocals" version of "Pet Sounds" as you truly hear the purity of their voices harmonizing as one.

The treasure of this box set consist of the Blu-ray Audio Disc, which features the mono and stereo version of the album in 5.1 Surround Sound. There are also six bonus tracks added that consists of sessions highlights of the singles "Wouldn't It Be Nice" and "God Only Knows." Also included in this box set is a 52-page, fully color booklet that consists of a new essay from David Fricke, song lyrics and a sessionography. Sprinkled throughout the book are photographs of The Beach Boys in the studio and outtakes of their photo session for the album cover.

While diehard fans may have most of this material, in bootleg form, I can assure you that it has never sounded better and gives a great overview of the recording of this timeless album. To find out more about "The Beach Boys Pet Sounds 50th," please visit

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