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The Beach Boys' Pet Sounds (33 1/3) Paperback – February 11, 2005


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The Beach Boys' Pet Sounds (33 1/3) + The Rolling Stones' Exile on Main St. (33 1/3) + The Beatles' Let It Be (33 1/3 series)
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Product Details

  • Series: 33 1/3 (Book 19)
  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic (February 11, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0826416705
  • ISBN-13: 978-0826416704
  • Product Dimensions: 4.7 x 0.3 x 6.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #471,374 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

'Fusilli is a keen observer and eloquent writer, bringing a fresh perspective to this seminal album with wit and pathos...a fine addition to your Beach Boys library.'


'The idea was simple: to ask a group of authors to each write a book about a classic album. What emerged became Continuum's 33 1/3 series. Without guidelines or rules, each author embraced their own favourite album and chose exactly how they wanted to write about it.As a result, each book is by turn anecdotal, obsessive, technical and personal, but always passionate.' (Swell Music, December 2006)

About the Author

Jim Fusilli is chief rock music critic for the Wall Street Journal and a frequent contributor to National Public Radio's All Things Considered. In addition, he is the author of the award-winning mystery series featuring private investigator Terry Orr and his daughter Bella. The series includes Closing Time, A Well-Known Secret, and Tribeca Blues. The fourth novel in the series, Hard, Hard City, was published by G. P. Putnam in the fall of 2004.

Customer Reviews

I don't think I've wanted to like an album as much as anything else without succeeding.
Brad
I'm a huge fan of Fusilli's crime novels(Hard,Hard City;Closing Time; etc.)so I tried this book, even though I'm not much of a Beach Boys fan.
E. Williams
I wouldn't mind a few personal anecdotes to contextualize the information if it was organized well, but Fusilli is all over the place.
Names Jim

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Names Jim on March 24, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Webley's review nails it. I have been thinking about this since starting the book and his review sums up my thoughts very well. I had just finished Dan Leroy's take on The Beastie Boys "Paul's Boutique." Granted this era might not be too comparable to Brian Wilson's, but the book accomplished everything I had hoped. Leroy took a journalistic approach and compiled a plethora of detailed information about the making and content of the album in a cohesive and organized manner. It greatly increased my appreciation of the album and I could listen to songs as I read more about them.

I consider Leroy's work to be outstanding, but I had similar expectations for The Pet Sounds installment of the series. What a colossal disappointment. I had heard complaints that some books in the 33 1/3 series are tainted by author's including themselves too often in their writing. This is a prime example, but sadly, not the only problem with the book. I wouldn't mind a few personal anecdotes to contextualize the information if it was organized well, but Fusilli is all over the place. He bounces back and forth between prior albums and frequently includes detailed chord breakdowns of songs. Although this is probably interesting to professional musicians, it doesn't really lend itself well to this book series. It is by no means an easy task to dedicate an entire book to the creation of an album of such importance, but someone with Fusilli's experience and knowledge should have at least been able to understand what readers were looking for, like Wilson knew what his listeners wanted to hear.

I definitely learned some interesting new things, and it did allow me to listen to the album with some new ideas in mind, but overall there was just so much more that could have been done with this book. Very disappointing.
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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Hal Blaine on July 16, 2007
Format: Paperback
Pet Sounds is my favorite album and I celebrate its existence by sharing it with friends and family every chance I get. It changed my life about three years ago. It was the perfect music that I had been searching for my whole life. I thought I had found it with the Beatles during childhood, but even they never topped Pet Sounds. If you love Brian Wilson and Pet Sounds as much as I do, you might be disappointed with this book. Fusilli manages to downplay the instrumentals and "Sloop John B." as lesser tracks on the album. He even implies that "I Know There's An Answer" and "Here Today" aren't as great as they could be. Of course, he thinks "God Only Knows" and "Wouldn't It Be Nice" are the best and spends more time on those songs. If you're a real Brian Wilson fan and wish to God that Smile had been released in 1967, right off the Pet Sounds high, then you'd do better to check out "Catch a Wave: The Rise, Fall and Redemption of the Beach Boys' Brian Wilson". While Fusilli's abridged treatment of Pet Sounds is readable, it flirts with being corny and overly-poetic. The trouble with that is that his love for Pet Sounds isn't as close to being blind as most who would read it.
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16 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Webley Webster on November 11, 2007
Format: Paperback
I was set to love this book. Pet Sounds is one of my favorite albums, one certainly rich enough to sustain a book-length analysis. I still believe that's the case, but this book isn't it. The book is poorly organized, with autobiography and personal reminiscences intermixed with musical analysis, second-hand recounts of other writers' work on Pet Sounds, and pointless anecdotes (at one point the author spends several pages describing Brian's performance in some comedy skits on a Bob Hope/Jack Benny television special, for no apparent purpose--best I can tell, it's something the author remembers about the Beach Boys, so into the book it went) all without any apparent organizing principle. The writing is similarly all over the place, with occasional acute musical analysis side by side with banalities like "But tell me, is there a pop song that's better than 'Wouldn't It Be Nice?' What? Are you kidding me? Come on!" and "I like the Beatles."

I was expecting a liner-notes-on-steroids with this book, the sort of thing that would accompany a Bear Family box set. What I got instead is a meandering personal essay that is too infrequently insightful and too often sloppily conceived and written. Maybe I simply missed the point of this book series; more likely this just isn't one of its better titles. A pity, because an album this good deserves better.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By R.E. Burke TOP 1000 REVIEWER on June 5, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Fans of Jim Fusilli and his novels will probably like this book. Others will most likely be bewildered or downright disappointed, especially since Fusilli is also music critic for the Wall Street Journal. That title seems oxymoronic but does lead one to expect an in-depth work showing real understanding of the music industry and its players during the '60's. Fusilli's work as a novelist would lead one to expect some ability to appreciate and really bring alive the characters populating the industry, the personal dynamics affecting the Beach Boys, and the overall ambiance of Southern California culture at that time.

Unfortunately, Fusilli proves more adept at characterizing his own euphoric perceptions of California as he grew up in Hoboken during that period. Please pardon me for sharing my own personal notes, but I'm doing so because Fusilli is so willing to make this book his own memoir. I grew up on California beaches in the '50's and '60's. I used to surf. I know what the high school and college scenes were like then. Fusilli obsesses over Walt Disney in his intro. I met Disney, practically lived n Disneyland, etc.

I remember the Beach Boys. I also remember even better the Beatles, and I know how completely, from a cultural standpoint, the Beatles blew by the Beach Boys after 1964. We didn't even notice Pet Sounds when it came out. That was something for teeny-bopper girls. My rediscovery of Brian Wilson's work is largely a retroactive effort to pick up the thread that many of us lost back then--just as Fusilli's work does a lot of retrospective reading into the Beach Boys' history that reflects more how we feel in the 2000's than what things were really like in the 1960's.
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More About the Author

Jim Fusilli is an American writer. He serves as the rock and pop music critic of The Wall Street Journal and is the author of six novels. A native of Hoboken, NJ, he lives in New York City.

Fusilli's debut novel, the mystery "Closing Time," is the last work of fiction set in New York City published prior to the 9/11 attacks. The following year, Fusilli's mystery "A Well-Known Secret" addressed the impact of 9/11 on the residents of New York City. Two novels for adults followed: "Tribeca Blues" and "Hard, Hard City," which Mystery Ink magazine named its 2004 Novel of the Year.

In 2005, Fusilli wrote "Pet Sounds," his tribute to Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys' classic album. Described as "an experiment in music journalism," the book combines the rhythm and emotional weight of his fiction with the often-unorthodox observations of his music criticism for the Journal, for whom he has written since 1983.

Fusilli served as the editor of, and contributed chapters to, the award-winning serial thrillers "The Chopin Manuscript" and "The Copper Bracelet." His novel for young adults "Marley Z and the Bloodstained Violin" was published in 2008.

Fusilli has written and published many short stories; in several, he developed Narrows Gate as the setting, depicting the city in different eras. "Chellini's Solution," which appeared in the 2007 edition of the Best American Mystery Stories, features Narrows Gate in the years following World War II. "Digby, Attorney at Law" portrays the fictional city in the early 1960s. "Digby" was nominated for the Edgar and Macavity awards in 2010.

Fusilli is married to the former Diane Holuk, a senior public relations executive. They have a daughter, Cara, a graduate of the New School.

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The Beach Boys' Pet Sounds (33 1/3)
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