Matt's Track of the Week: "Caroline, No"

Song: Caroline, No
Artist: The Beach Boys
Album: Pet Sounds
Year: 1966

Like many others, ever since the first time I heard The Beach Boys' Pet Sounds, I've been enamored with it. It's one of those albums where you almost feel something inside you change from the experience. One of the things that amazes me most is how vivid and brilliant the sounds were, even in the original recording, despite the fact that it was all done in mono rather than in stereo. It makes you think about how complex and painstaking the whole process must have been that even in lower quality, people found it breathtaking.

"Caroline, No" was the album's closer, and an interesting track because it was actually released in advance to the album as a Brian Wilson solo single. A questionable move by today's music business standards, but maybe not so strange for the day. Another interesting note is that while the song was being written by Wilson and Tony Asher, it was originally penned as "Carol, I Know", later being changed when the pair realized how it sounded when spoken, and coming to the conclusion that it added a certain "earnestness" to the tune. It's one of the more sparsely orchestrated songs on the album, but it doesn't seem to need anything more. The emptiness is almost a reflection of the narrators yearning to reclaim some of the innocence from his past. Give it a listen.

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