Sorry, Dad – But The Beach Boys Just Doesn’t Do It For Me! “Best Albums” Listening Update

I’m continuing with my attempt to listen to albums from Rolling Stone’s list of 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. Here’s an update of what I’ve listened to (and have stopped listening to) so far:

Rubber Soul, The Beatles (1965)

Sunday afternoon after work, I decided to try knocking off two albums from the top 10 entries on that list, so I queued up Spotify and listened to “Rubber Soul” by The Beatles, which was their sixth studio album released in 1965. I listened to the entire thing (I will stop listening to an album if it annoys me, more about that in a bit)! My favorite track was “In My Life,” which is catchy AF, has a nice guitar riff, great harmonies, strong melody – all of the things anyone has come to expect from a classic Beatles song. I can imagine a song like that being a standard at graduation parties, weddings, bat mitzvahs, etc. And if you’re like me, it will probably stay in your head for a few hours after hearing it!

When comparing “Rubber Soul” to The Beatles’ other albums I’ve already come to love – “The Beatles” (aka “The White Album”), “Abbey Road,” and “Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” – I’d put it behind those and ahead of “Revolver,” which I’d listened to the day before and felt was overproduced.

Pet Sounds, the Beach boys (1966)

Next up was “Pet Sounds,” the eleventh studio album by the California-based crooners The Beach Boys (released in 1966). It has farm animals on the cover, but as far as I can tell, none of the songs are actually about farm animals or animals at all (unlike the Pink Floyd album “Animals,” which I love). Wait – is “Caroline, No” actually about a goat (maybe I don’t want to know)! I thought I’d give a passing nod to my dad, who loves the Beach Boys, and give it a whirl. And after a few songs? Nope, just nope. I wouldn’t call it “bad,” it’s just…not my thing. I respect what they were trying to do with the atmospheric sounds and smooth as silk harmonies, but yeah, no. Though like any self-respecting ’80s girl who carried a can of Aqua Net in my book bag, I did love their 1988 #1 hit “Kokomo.” Sorry, dad – but no Beach Boys, for me! Was I born too late and too far from California? Perhaps!

Remain in Light, Talking Heads (1980)

Today is laundry day, so I wanted to pick an album from that list that would be nice background for household tasks! And (shyly looks away) – maybe pick an album that singer/songwriter Trent Reznor recently listed as his favorite album of all time. So “Remain In Light” by the Talking Heads it was, then! This is their fourth studio album, and it was released in 1980.

I really liked this one! I’d definitely give it a listen again. I wouldn’t call it a collection of “catchy melodies,” but it’s…esoteric – an overall great “New Wave” album. My favorite track, besides the always enjoyable “Once in a Lifetime,” was “Houses in Motion, which just has a nice…groove to it (it’s hard to explain). It’s mostly spoken word, very stream of consciousness.

Aja, Steely Dan (1977)

If you’re trying to set a “Pure ’70s” mood, look no further than this album! It sounds exactly like something your high school jazz ensemble/band teacher probably had in his collection. So…why do I mention high school band instructor? Well, because the track “Home at Last” sounded…familiar. And after my brain processed things a bit, I remember having played that when I was in high school jazz ensemble! We actually went out and played “gigs,” such as at a local bowling alley where we were the opening act for an Elvis impersonator (I was mortified to have spent my evening dressed up doing that), and other various school functions. Yes, the class was an advanced way to get an elective credit, but more importantly, it was so very OBVIOUSLY an excuse for my band teacher to make us play songs he probably used to play on his turntable (or 8 track player) when he was attempting to put moves on a lady. It was never about what WE wanted to play (lord NO)! I’ll bet it still holds up as good “babymaking” music, now (but you didn’t hear that from me)!

If I were the teacher though…I really don’t think I’d be able to hear students butchering my favorite songs. Especially babymaking songs. Perhaps that’s just me?

Right now, I’m giving “What’s Going On” by Marvin Gaye a listen. But my review of that will have to wait! Stay tuned!

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