Rolling Stone: 500 Greatest Albums Of All Time Review

Lovely little album where the monologues are just as engaging as the
four singles. Loved “Tell the Truth” and the titular “Offscreen”
monologues, while “Callous Heart” was my favorite single. I loved the
word play on the Mandarin title (心上的茧), which translates literally
to “Callus/Callous on the Heart” and how those calluses which may have
been thought to harden one’s heart leaves us just as vulnerable to love.
Inclusions of “K’s Radio” and “Outtake” were a nice touch to the album’s
overall concept of the dynamics of what occurs “Offscreen.” The fresh
rendition of Taiwanese songwriter Phil Chang’s “Little Sun” was another
wonderful addition to the album.

Barking dogs — Wilson’s dog Banana among them, in fact — are prominent
among the found sounds on the album. The Beatles made a point of echoing
them on Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band — an acknowledgment that
Pet Sounds was the inspiration for the Beatles’ masterpiece. That
gesture actually completed a circle of influence: Wilson initially
conceived of Pet Sounds as an effort to top the Beatles’ Rubber Soul.

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Unfortunately, Capitol Records proved no more enamored of Pet Sounds
than had Love; the label actually considered not releasing the album at
all. Not yet vindicated by history, Wilson withdrew further into his
inner world. “At the last meeting I attended concerning Pet Sounds,”
Wilson wrote in his autobiography (which took the name of the album’s
opening track, “Wouldn’t It Be Nice”) about his dealings with Capitol’s
executive brain trust, “I showed up holding a tape player and eight
prerecorded, looped responses, including ‘No comment,’ ‘Can you repeat
that?’ ‘No’ and ‘Yes.’ Refusing to utter a word, I played the various
tapes when appropriate.”

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