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Author Topic: Pet Sounds: logical story in the lyrics?  (Read 4020 times)
shelter
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« on: January 09, 2006, 10:43:39 AM »

I once read somewhere that by sequencing the Pet Sounds tracks differently (and leaving out Sloop John B and the instrumentals of course), the lyrics make up a fairly logical story. So I tried it and this is what I came up with:

I'm Waiting For The Day Her old boyfriend just dumped her, he's waiting for the right moment to make a move.
Here Today The start of their romance.
Wouldn't It Be Nice They want to get married.
I Know There's An Answer He found out this is the life he wants to live.
God Only Knows They're still madly in love, but a breakup is already in the back of his mind.
You Still Believe In Me He screwed up, but it seems like she forgives him.
Don't Talk But in the end it turns out their love is dying.
That's Not Me It's over and he's trying to pick up his life alone again...
I Just Wasn't Made For These Times ...And it's not working out.
Caroline No He sees her back again after a while and sees how she has changed.

I'm sure other sequences are possible, but this one seems fairly logical to me... Does anyone know if Pet Sounds was originally planned as one complete story? Any thoughts?
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aeijtzsche
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« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2006, 11:29:15 AM »

I think Tony Asher has made it clear there was not a story in mind at all.
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shelter
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« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2006, 11:39:48 AM »

It could've been subconsciously, cause it seems to me that every song besides Sloop John B is about a certain stage before, in or after a relationship.
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aeijtzsche
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« Reply #3 on: January 09, 2006, 11:53:48 AM »

The beauty of lyrics are you can get anything out of them you want, regardless of the writer's intentions.
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californiasailer
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« Reply #4 on: January 09, 2006, 12:16:34 PM »

it's hard to discern a *logical* narrative from the songs in any sequence, but i think any way you cut them you get an earnest examination of a romantic relationship in its various phases and guises, in both its lightheartedness and devastating heaviness.  that's why i don't mind people trying to read closely whether the album genuinely tracks the development of a relationship from its first joyful throes to the dissolution of its innocence.  i think it adds up to that, and more; it's as sympathetic and understanding a portrait of adolescent preoccupation and angst as there is in popular music -- a real "growing up" record.
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shelter
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« Reply #5 on: January 09, 2006, 12:45:22 PM »

This is the source I was talking about, just found it again:

"Pet Sounds has been called an early concept album; while all the main participants repeatedly deny this, it is not difficult to discern a uniting theme - of hopes and aspirations dashed, of a search for love doomed to failure - and even, some claim, by judicious reprogramming of the CD track order, to produce a coherent storyline tracing the rise and fall of a relationship..."

- Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys: the Complete Guide to their Music (Andrew G. Doe & John Tobler).

 Cool
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Jason
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« Reply #6 on: January 09, 2006, 12:56:37 PM »

Pet Sounds doesn't have a story and those who think so overanalyze the music.
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Chris D.
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« Reply #7 on: January 09, 2006, 12:58:10 PM »

Pet Sounds doesn't have a story and those who think so overanalyze the music.

All art is storytelling.
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Jason
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« Reply #8 on: January 09, 2006, 01:00:27 PM »

The songs themselves have ideas or themes but the album as a whole doesn't have a story, in my opinion. The Wall has a story. Pet Sounds is thematically linked, but there's no real "concept" feel to it, not like the Who/Pink Floyd approach to concepts. It has more in common with the Frank Sinatra idea of what a concept album should be, as does Little Deuce Coupe.
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Chris D.
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« Reply #9 on: January 09, 2006, 01:10:27 PM »

I agree that it's more an impression, but I wouldn't say it has no story.  It tells a story somehow, whether it's with characters and a plot or just a summation of the author's own experiences.
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Mitchell
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« Reply #10 on: January 09, 2006, 01:14:34 PM »

It's the story of where Brian's head was at in 1965, just like how SMiLE is the story of the same, one year later.
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Jason
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« Reply #11 on: January 09, 2006, 01:16:25 PM »

Well, when I think of music that tells stories, I think of late 1960s, early 1970s concept albums, many of the prog variety (ughhh)...or maybe some of Bob Dylan's more esoteric works like The Ballad of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest. Pet Sounds always conveyed thoughts to me, not necessarily information necessary to progress a story.
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I. Spaceman
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« Reply #12 on: January 09, 2006, 01:18:09 PM »

It tells the story that unfolds in your mind as you listen.
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Chris D.
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« Reply #13 on: January 09, 2006, 01:23:28 PM »

Well, when I think of music that tells stories, I think of late 1960s, early 1970s concept albums, many of the prog variety (ughhh)...or maybe some of Bob Dylan's more esoteric works like The Ballad of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest. Pet Sounds always conveyed thoughts to me, not necessarily information necessary to progress a story.

But those thoughts imply a story.  It's like a painting.  You see something like Luncheon on the Green and you wonder how those people got there, what they'll do next, and what they represent.  I don't think a song is any different.
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SurferGirl7
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« Reply #14 on: January 09, 2006, 07:03:27 PM »

SMiLE tells more of a story then PS does. Pet Sounds is more like a long monologue in someone's head.
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Reverend Joshua Sloane
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« Reply #15 on: January 09, 2006, 07:07:53 PM »

Was Brian the only one responsible for the tracklisting being the Producer and what-not?

Did he run it through with the guys and Capitol first?

Either way I think it's brilliantly ordered.
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Chris D.
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« Reply #16 on: January 09, 2006, 07:25:30 PM »

SMiLE tells more of a story then PS does. Pet Sounds is more like a long monologue in someone's head.

Great description.
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JRauch
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« Reply #17 on: January 10, 2006, 07:26:02 AM »

I think every song on "Pet Sounds" tells about a different stage of relationships. So in some way you can order these stages chronological. But that still isnīt a storyline as in "The Wall" or "The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway".
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sugarandspice
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« Reply #18 on: January 14, 2006, 03:00:44 PM »

 Pet Sounds, Or Teenage Smphony To God?

Being my faviorte of all beach boys albums, yeah you can grasp the general  boy girl meaning from it but the more you listen to it the deeper it  goes... and the meaning can appaly to your daily life if you look for it right..... That esoteric way of thinking? Maybe? What  do I know tho

xoxoxoxo suga
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Margarita
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« Reply #19 on: January 15, 2006, 05:18:55 PM »

I equate Pet Sounds with Closer Than Ever, which is a revue of songs written by David Shire.  All of the songs are stories about different types of relationships, and are performed by members of a ensemble consisting of several men and women.  My roommate in college was the stage manager of a campus theatre group, and this was one of their productions.  I can see PS being presented in a very similar way, as each song tells its own story. 

Also, my own personal interpretation of PS was not so much tracing through one romantic relationship, but about young adulthood.   You have in there the themes of love, along with longing...longing to be married, to be together, for another person to be ready to love again.  But you also have those 'growing pains' moments...getting out on your own, but wondering if you made the right choice, or wishing that you were back home without the worries of the 'real world'.  Trying to find people who speak your language.  Being frustrated by those who are bogged down by their hangups.  Even "Sloop John B" aligns with this, albeit in a more lighthearted way. 

I so love this album.
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