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50 years after its release this album is still great! Not a bad track on the whole album which says a lot since I am not really a Beach Boys fan. I was first made aware of this record via Paul MacCartney who said it was the inspiration behind Sgt. Pepper's... (It was 1987 which was the 20th Anniversary of Sgt. pepper's). Since then I have owned a few versions of this classic including the 5.1 (actually 4.0 since the genius that mixed it did not use the center channel or sub woofer track) from its 40th Anniversary . The first 5.1 was good but not great. I was not a fan of that mix. So here we are ten years later and a new 5.1 mix. This time they used the sub channel but still did not make use of the center channel, again! But it is a nicer mix.
There are some audio issues, not defects but limitations of the day. For example this was recorded on 4 and 8 tracks machines when making the record so they had to double up on the tracks ( record more then one instrument per track) and why this is an issues is do to the fact that it causes audio drop out on certain tracks. Best example is the bass (The best thing about 5.1 is it physically separated instruments by having them come out of separate speakers). What happens when you double up is the bass will sound nice and full coming out of your sub then when other instruments kick in the bass thins out. That is because the tape it's recorded on is trying to accommodate everything that's going so it has to compromise. Find neutral ground for everything it's trying to reproduce. That happens a lot on these recordings. It can also sound thin at times because of what equipment they used at the time of recording plus this was originally a mono album (first proper stereo mix did not come out until the 80's) so everything was coming out of the one speaker (usually two speakers with the same thing coming out of both) so again a greater compromise).i don't want to make the recording sound bad, it doesn't. But it is 50 years old and recording technology is much better now a days.
The rest of the package is great, 4 CD's of out takes alternate tracks and different mixes (mono, stereo, instrumental you name it it's here) the CD's are not overly compressed which is nice now a days. It comes in a hard cover book case with good liner notes and excellent art work.
This is a very nice box set and I could not be happier with the product I am only taking the one star off due to, again, limitations of the sound quality of the time.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon June 16, 2016
*This is a review for the 2016 50 year anniversary of Pet Sounds*
Disc 1: Mono & Stereo Versions of Pet Sounds
Disc 2: Instrument version of Pet Sounds, Various live versions of Pet Sounds from 1966 - 1989

Live Tracks:
Wouldn't It Be Nice (Live At Michigan State University/1966)
Sloop John B (Live At Michigan State University/1966)
God Only Knows (Live At Michigan State University/1966)
Good Vibrations (Live At Daughters Of The American Revolution Constitution Hall, Washington DC/1967)
God Only Knows (Live At Daughters Of The American Revolution Constitution Hall, Washington DC/1967)
Wouldn't It Be Nice (Live At Daughters Of The American Revolution Constitution Hall, Washington DC/1967)
God Only Knows (Live At Carnegie Hall, New York/1972)
God Only Knows (Live At Jamaican World Music Festival, Montego Bay, Jamaica/1982)
Sloop John B (Live At Universal Studios, Universal City, CA/1989)
Caroline No (Live At Paramount Theatre, NYC/1993)
You Still Believe In Me (Live At Paramount Theatre, NYC/1993)

After already owning the 2000 release of 'Pet Sounds' & the session's box set, I was initially a little reluctant purchasing yet another version of the album, but the sound quality of those CDs is not the greatest (they sound like the back-catalogue CDs when they were first being released in the late eighties).
But the sound quality of the '50th anniversary..' is excellent, with all the vocals & instruments sounding a lot clearer.
On the second CD there is a Stack-o-Tracks version of 'Pet Sounds' (on the sessions box set there are instrumental rehearsal versions of the songs), without the vocals you really get to hear & understand just how complex the instrumentation actually is, fascinating.
The second part of the CD consists of live performances of the Pet sounds track throughout the years, the songs from the 66, 67, 72 concerts are outstanding, with the audience still not sure about these new type of BB songs. I did find this quite frustrating as you don't get the entire shows (I guess I'll have to keep on buying those dreadful live radio broadcast albums).
So worth purchasing again & it give me a reason (if a reason is needed) to revisit a much loved classic
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on July 9, 2004
A glowing and impossibly warm sort of magic fills your soul as you listen to Pet Sounds, and amazing beauty seems to envelope you, embrace you. Pet Sounds is the sound of a man baring his soul, a beautiful sound that is fragile and innocent as well as hard and dissilusioned.
Brian Wilson grew up on Pet Sounds, and finally came into the genius for which he is now known. Gone are the endless references to surfing, cars, and superficial love. The lyrics here are deep and powerful, emotional on levels I never knew existed. The oppening song "Wouldn't it be Nice" is an incredibly passionate song of love, in which Wilson yearns for an affair he cannot have, because alas, he is to young. The song gets you caught up in the emotion and serves as a perfect template for the rest of the album.
Every song is also an instantly memorable classic. "Don't Talk (Put Your Head on My Shoulder)" is tuneful and sweet, and has a magestic, lilting, chorus that always brings a smile to my face. "That's Not Me" tells the story of an innocent young man swept up by his hopes and dreams, and his eventual coming of age. "I Know There's An Answer" has an epic chorus line. "Caroline No" is a sweet and tragic story of the end of adolescent innocence and the harshness of the adult world.
But what truly makes Pet Sounds brilliant is the music. Every single song is a veritible symphony, with multitudes of instruments and notes that rise to castles in the sky. The music sets the tone perfectly. It is low and lamentful on the sadder songs, apologetic and hopeful on songs of regret, and uplifting and epic on songs of happiness. The music of Pet Sounds can sweep you up in overwelming emotions and take you on a journy through every passionate feeling there is. It's definatley a ride worth taking.
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on April 19, 2004
I was first introduced to Pet Sounds when i bought the album used at a cd store, i had heard all the hype about it, but i always stereotyped it as wierd kind of like a later beatles album. At the time i was not into that kind of music, but damn how that changed as i got older. The first time i listened to this whole cd from start to finish i was like is that it? what is all the hype about. I didnt understand what all the fuss was about. So i buried the cd in my cd rack and didn't even think about it for a few years. As i got older i started getting in relationships and went through hard breakups and even fell in love. During all these changes in my life i decided to polish off the old pet sounds and give it another chance. and BANG, it opened pathways in my mind that i never knew existed. What a beautiful album by Brian Wilson, i couldnt put how beautiful these sounds i was hearing were and i couldn't understand how much sense it made to me now as opposed to a few years earlier.
I soon realized that the music was reflecting my life, and what is so cool is that this music was made in the mid sixties, and almost 40 years later it still have an impact on someones life like the way it did on mine. One song that definitly stands out in my mind is "God Only Knows" I can only hope that someday i have a wife that is also my best friend and i can play this song for them, because i do beleive it is the most beautiful lyrics i have ever heard. And it is so simplistic. "wouldnt it be nice" too is a beautiful dreamy song that im sure we all once experienced about being with someone you just think you could be with forever and you wish you didnt have to wait 8 or so years to finally be in that place. I am so thankful that brian wilson created pet sounds because it has redefined and reshaped my whole perspective on life. if you can tell, this cd is bigger then life for me, i hope this album can do something for you also.
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on August 9, 2003
While the overall sound quality of Capitol's new DVD-Audio disc of "The Beach Boys-Pet Sounds" is excellent,and the supplemental photo gallery,videos & on-screen lyric/musician credits options are excellent,remixer Mark Linnet admits in the liner notes that his mix has no center channel content,which is acceptable,given that his resychronzed vocal & instrumental multitrack session tapes give him 6 to 11 tracks to mix from for the album's 11 vocal songs(only 3 or 4 tracks for the album's two instrumental selections).But I'm highly disappointed that there's no subwoofer content,and the front to rear separation is vague.As for the album itself,it's a work of musical genius...but then you already knew that.The 15 minute video documentary is passable,but it recycles mostly already released interviews.The debut of surround & stereo remixes of "Summer Means New Love"(an instrumental from the group's "Summer Days...and Summer Nights" L.P.) is included amongst the bonus tracks.It's impressive,as is a surround sound accapella mix of "I Just Wasn'tMade For These Times".Be sure to play the appropriate side of this two-sided disc.One side is for genuine DVD-Audio/video players.The other side has all the same audio & video program contents,but for DVD-video players without DVD-audio capability.The sound quality difference is real:the uncompressed DVD-Audio has superior resolution & dynamics.
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on August 9, 2003
This is a review of the DVD-Audio disc. I assume you love the album and my three stars doesn't reflect the music, but this particular release. First off, to those who complain about the 5.1 mix, please be reminded that this DVD-A contains FOUR mixes: improved mono, improved stereo, 5.1 stereo, and dts (5.1). So if you don't like the surround mix, switch over to the mono or stereo mixes, which sound incredible, significantly better than the early-90s CD-version (I don't know the more recent mono/stereo CD release, so I withhold judgment/comparison.)
I do feel I need to warn those buyers who do not have a DVD Audio Player, like myself. This DVD-A is indeed playable on regular DVD (Video) players. It is dual-sided, one side for DVD Audio machines, the other for DVD Video machines. I can't say that there's a difference here because I don't have a DVD Audio player to test out the other side of this DVD-A. My DVD Video player, however, has trouble playing this disk. I cannot play any song (with the exception of the instrumental-- you'll see why in a minute) without interruptions, short 1/2-second pauses in the song. These occur because (if your TV is on) while the disk plays song lyrics appear on the TV screen. These are in a big enough font to require two screens for each song, and when the DVD player moves from one screen to the other (that is, about half way through the song), my player is simply not fast enough to do this without a short silence in the audio. It's a shame, really.
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on August 7, 2003
Brian Wilson envisioned this album as his masterpiece, and he's right. This album showed a side of the Beach Boys we had not yet experienced. Songs from the heart, the tight harmonies, and a beauty that few knew they were capable ofall graced the mono grooves of the original LP. Brian initially intended this album to be released only in mono, so he could have more control over what the listener heard. There was a "Duophonic" fake stereo version, but it sounded just that way. When the original multitrack master tapes were found, the process to create the stereo version was painstaking, but was well worth the effort. Now, those same master tapes allowed for the creation of a new, 4.1 surround version. I say 4.1 because the center channel is not used for the most part. But in the same way the stereo version added new textures to the sound, so does the surround mix. While it may have its critics, the combination of the surround sound and high resolution 24 bit, 96 kHz digital sound makes for a new experience with this fine album. Hats off to the folks at Capitol, and to the engineers who did such a bang-up job of making a great album even better. For those who don't yet have a DVD-Audio player, the DTS track is highly recommended.
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on February 12, 2004
I won't go into the music - it is fantastic. Just some comments to the DVD Audio. First: It will play on any DVD Video player and it has surround sound. However, you have to possess a DVD Audio compatible player if you want to benefit from the high res stereo or surround sound on high end equipment. (On cheap Home Cinema Systems or Stereos, it doesn't make much difference). To my ears, the surround mix leaves something to be desired. On one side it is great to listen to the heavenly harmonies coming from all around you in the living room. On the other side, it sounds - no, it feels - different to the original mono mix of Brian Wilson. Maybe it's just me but this is one LP I rather listen to in its original mono mix than the souped up stereo and surround mix.
Also, it seems as if the DVD Audio format is loosing ground compared to the competing SACD format. But I might be wrong here. If I'm right though, this might become a collector's item one day
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on January 27, 2004
*Pet Sounds* is a record that does not demand exposition: for the most part, if you need to know about it you already knew about it, and perhaps it is also a cultural product which does not improve upon closer inspection (I am not now nor have I ever been in possession of the box set edition, and frankly the similar release for *Fun House* intrigues me more). But as such it is still something of a boundary marker for first-line popular culture, and although it has had its periods of veneration its reputation actually may not outlast its original audience. It's frequently debated whether this is a better record that *Sgt. Pepper*, but quite rarely mentioned that to a very great extent *this was the Beatles' idea*: Wilson's use of Phil Spector's "Wrecking Crew" to make a singular record (with enough input from others, as Tony Asher's slightly listing vocals make clear) really set the stage, not for "true wizards and stars", but for moment-defining records not *advertising* their "superproductivity". And although *a lot* of people got ideas from this record, its speaks to its cultural function that most would be not at all inclined to hold this against it as an entertainment and somewhat against the present that such "popular sublimity" is rather definitely not allowed.
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on March 31, 2004
Two essential Beach Boys CD's are out - the "Sounds Of Summer" greatest hits package, the best Beach Boys compilation ever, and the majestic "Pet Sounds", Brian Wilson's masterpiece. Wilson didn't tour while preparing this opus, and used session players with the exception of the vocals. After all, nobody could harmonize better than his own band.
What he delivered was a collection of the most beautiful pop music ever assembled on one album. Studio effects add ambience and a slight touch of the avant garde, but the songs themselves are the true gems.
"Wouldn't It Be Nice" with its impeccable harmonies and melody is one of the greatest songs ever, and Wilson tops that with one of the saddest but gorgeous songs ever with "I Just Wasn't Made For These Times." The whole album is so good that it should go on forever. Reaching the ballad "Caroline, No" is a musical journey that does not last nearly long enough, thus guaranteeing this album's playability for a long long time after buying it.
If another civilization were to ask me to give them one reason why this planet with all its hatred shouldn't be charred to a cinder, I'd play them "Pet Sounds". Maybe they'd let us off the hook for a while.
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