Brian Wilson Barry Fantoni - Essay

Barry Fantoni

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

I think "Pet Sounds" is probably one of the best produced albums out, but it suffers because of it. I managed to listen to one side of it, and I heard just about a bellyfull. At times it was beautiful but the words were hazy which may have been unintentional—or that may have been the idea. It was rather a lazy record. Sometimes boring—not because of the way it was done—but the slight monotony. I've got "Beach Boys Today!" which is rougher but more exciting. Actually "Pet Sounds" reminded me of two classical composers—who I prefer—and shouldn't really compare, but it has similarities to Palestrini, and, also what happened to Mozart and Turner the painter in mid-career. Their techniques became immaculate and their production fantastic and you thought "who the hell managed to produce this?" That's how I feel about the Beach Boys. I preferred them when they were young and more loose and rough, as I did Turner and Mozart when they got older and loosened up. I agree it's probably revolutionary but I'm not sure that everything that's revolutionary is necessarily good. I'm not being antiprogressive—but I'm not convinced they're always good. (p. 8)

Barry Fantoni, in Melody Maker (© IPC Business Press Ltd.), July 30, 1966.