A 'Pet' worth a stroke


Published: Thursday, January 11, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 11, 2007 at 12:30 a.m.

This week, Aurora listens to..."PET SOUNDS," by The Beach Boys (1966)

AURORA: When the opening riffs of "Wouldn't It Be Nice" blasted through the speakers, the first image that came to my head was of me wearing a ruffly skirt and sipping a milkshake with my imaginary boyfriend, Bobby, in my past lifetime as a 1960s cheerleader.
BILL: It's an almost deceptively happy start to a wonderfully complex album filled with masterful production and romantic poignancy.
AURORA: The mood swings back and forth between deliriously bubble-gum rock to tunes of angst filled with futuristic guitar riffs and instrumental solos. "Let's Go Away for Awhile" makes me wonder where exactly the band was when they wrote this tune. Outer space, maybe?
BILL: Beach Boys mastermind Brian Wilson was inspired and challenged by The Beatles' "Rubber Soul" (1965). And he responded with the Beach Boys' ultimate masterpiece, complete with pristine harmonies, groundbreaking instrumentation and absolutely heart-aching lyrics.
AURORA: With "God Only Knows," The Beach Boys offer audiences the most romantic song I have ever heard along with their experimental tunes. I had a movie-style montage in my head of me hugging all the boys I've ever dated. God only knows what they've had to put up with!
BILL: Oh yes. It's a truly incandescent moment of the era and a brilliant snapshot of Brian's mind.
This week, Bill listens to...

This week, Bill listens to..."FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF EARTH, "by The Strokes (2005)

BILL: By the time of "First Impressions of Earth," The Strokes' third album, singer Julian Casablancas has crafted his drowsy, devil-may-care singing style to a fine-honed warble. And the group waxes poetic and otherwise about life in a cynical fishbowl.
AURORA: The Strokes have always been known for their "too cool for New York" attitude. Their debut album knocked *NSYNC and the Backstreet Boys off the radar and gave girls some laid-back guys in jeans and T-shirts to swoon over. With real talent, of course.
BILL: The first album was compact and invigorating, and they managed to live up the hype of TWNBT (The World's Next Big Thing) in 2001. It's 2006 now, and this album mixes a lot of different sounds, so it's not the same.
AURORA: With this album, it's like The Strokes walk into their company's office party to celebrate what they came up with, only to see that someone else ripped their idea and forgot where it came from and they're no longer expected there. Ouch! I love it though. I find it lyrically and melodically impressive.
BILL: There are some great, sonic-groove highpoints, including "Heart in a Cage" and "Vision of Division," where the jet-blasting guitars work as a perfect counterpoint to Casablancas' vocals.
AURORA: His voice definitely stands out. It's got that sexy, hungover, scratchy sense to it. Like he's smoked way too many Marlboro Lights while hunched over a gin and tonic.
" 'Let's Go Away for Awhile' makes me wonder where exactly the band was when they wrote this tune. Outer space, maybe?."
"The group waxes poetic and otherwise about life in a cynical fishbowl."

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