The Beach Boys

I Just Wasn't Made for These Times [Single]

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Savor the moment for the cover alone: there stands Mike Love -- the most greedy, narcissistic, and self-serving man in the history of rock -- with the Sub Pop logo floating above his head, its blocky, black-and-white design an enduring image of grunge, underground rock, and the Amerindie spirit as a whole. And consider the vagaries of art meeting commerce: who ever could have imagined a 30-year-old Beach Boys song appearing on America's preeminent indie label of the 1990s? Yet even though Brian Wilson certainly wasn't made for the times when the Beach Boys' masterpiece Pet Sounds first appeared in 1966, three decades later the record was universally acclaimed as an unqualified masterpiece, its influence most pervasive in the same indie community Sub Pop documented, where a new generation of artists like Eric Matthews was championing the kind of lush, complex orchestral pop Wilson first perfected. Issued to herald the coming Pet Sounds Sessions box set, this single was for a long time the only official commercial release available from the project -- because Love bitched and moaned that the box's booklet slighted his contributions to Wilson's genius, it was delayed for well over a year, meaning this beautiful, revelatory stereo mix of the album's emotional centerpiece, "I Just Wasn't Made for These Times," was only available in the 45 rpm vinyl format that digital CDs once threatened to make obsolete. Ignore all the ironies, and it's all still pretty goddamn wonderful.