Pet Sounds Track-by-track IX: I Know There’s An Answer

The most controversial track on the album- many people know it by the original and alternative title on Hang On To Your Ego, and it was even covered by Frank Black of the Pixies under that name. Apparently certain band members didn’t like the ego loss theme and possible implicit drug use associated with it.

In it’s released form as I Know There’s An Answer, the track works on a number of levels. First of all, it’s a great pop song with an additictive melody. Secondly, it showcases the lead vocal talents of all of Al, Mike and Brian, with the trademark changing of lead vocal that the listener hardly even notices which is a featute of the band. And at a lyrical level, it highlights the loneliness and alientation of the writer – he wants to connect to others around him, but those people have their own problems and insecurities. There is a simple truth in the song – we can’t rely on others to find our own answers, but this song also foreshadows the descent into loss and loneliness that marks the last part of Pet Sounds. It’s a comedown after the bliss of God Only Knows, but maybe it is also reality creeping in.

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