Monday, August 21, 2006

Soundtracking the Pet Sounds Podcast Series

Pet Sounds Podcast Music Overview Notes >

Selecting the music for the Pet Sounds podcast series was a challenge given that most of the music is well known throughout the world. My task was to find new ways to showcase the brilliance of this album while following the Pet Sounds story as told by Brian Wilson, Mike Love, Al Jardine and Bruce Johnston. I didn’t want to play it safe by showcasing familiar excerpts at the beginning and then at the end of each episode but rather, construct customized soundtracks per each podcast that carefully followed the story, used all available material and also highlighted the outstanding music.

Pet Sounds Overview Podcast Episode Notes >

Mike deMartin and I felt that the first podcast of the series should really be strong and a special kind of celebration of Pet Sounds (using both words and music). Our goal was to honor Brian Wilson for his musical genius, the Pet Sounds album 40 years later and the Beach Boys. And as much as the album and characters have been written about, we also wanted to do something different. We sort of looked upon this project as presenting Pet Sounds to an entirely new “digital” audience.

My aim with the soundtrack was to first find a piece of music that would totally capture the Pet Sounds project in “spirit” and knowing we had Brian welcoming everyone at the top of the episode, I just couldn’t hear anything other than the intro to “God Only Knows” and then the backing track. I then added the “God Only...” vocal-only tag to bookend Brian’s intro sort of keeping this part of the episode sacred.

For the Mike Love section, the instrumental “Pet Sounds” worked perfect. The percussive intro, strong horns and harsh guitar notes just got things moving into the text and storyline. Here, Love is paying a fond tribute to Brian as well as telling the story of the album’s title. The background music also provides energy into the piece and series. I then used a small section from the track “Trombone Dixie” to transition into Al Jardine’s narrative (the sleigh bells and tempo are key for mood – I liked the really upbeat feel) and then blended it into the backing track from “You Still Believe In Me” – Al mentions that the music on Pet Sounds was a “vocal symphony” and “You Still…” really does have a classical order to it and that supported what he was talking about musically very well.

“Here Today” works right into the Bruce Johnston section. We then move into “I Just Wasn’t Made For These Times” (hint – listen to what Bruce says here – the music supports the statements perfectly) and then we go out of the episode with the stereo version of “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” – there are a couple of reasons why I selected this number. It is the first song on Pet Sounds and showcases the use of twelve string guitars, accordions and the Boys’ golden voices and it introduces the first song podcast episode (“Wouldn’t It Be Nice’”) that will be live 8/29 in conjunction with the official release of the Capitol Pet Sounds 40th Anniversary Collection.

Enjoy – Jv / 8.21.06

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