The leader of the band, Brian Wilson used a system of recording songs that was a little different than the system they had used before. Much of the album was recorded by Wilson himself using professional studio musicians. - people who are hired to play songs for an album. In the recording, stringed and wind instruments were used. They also used instruments that were very unusual for rock music. These included vibraphones, harps, French horns, harpsichords, electro-theremins. Also, things like bicycle whistles, and Coca Cola cans with stones inside of them were used. The lyrics of the songs were more serious. They talked about the problems, disappointments and sadness of a young man. Because all the songs had a similar mood and themes, it is considered to be a concept album.
After the album was released, Pet Sounds did not sell very well. Wilson felt this was a failure but music critics loved it. The album got real recognition in 1990s-2000s, when many music magazines listed it in their lists of the best albums in popular music.
Wilson decided to make another album in the same way. The new album, he called Smile.