18 Songs, 51 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Almost four decades since he began working on his masterpiece, Brian Wilson finally released his own version of Smile in 2004. Painstakingly pieced together with his crack touring band, the songs burst forth from the opening “Our Prayer,” a hymnlike chorus of angelic voices. The carnivalesque roller-coaster ride of “Heroes and Villains” and the psychedelic-pop rush of “Good Vibrations” both shine, along with the ambitious lyrics of Van Dyke Parks and Wilson’s inventive arrangements on baroque-pop highlights “Cabin Essence” and “Surf’s Up.”

EDITORS’ NOTES

Almost four decades since he began working on his masterpiece, Brian Wilson finally released his own version of Smile in 2004. Painstakingly pieced together with his crack touring band, the songs burst forth from the opening “Our Prayer,” a hymnlike chorus of angelic voices. The carnivalesque roller-coaster ride of “Heroes and Villains” and the psychedelic-pop rush of “Good Vibrations” both shine, along with the ambitious lyrics of Van Dyke Parks and Wilson’s inventive arrangements on baroque-pop highlights “Cabin Essence” and “Surf’s Up.”

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Ratings and Reviews

4.6 out of 5
128 Ratings
128 Ratings
Chris Casady ,

Smile

This is the work of a great American composer. What a wondeerful record. It's staggering to think of the effect this album would have had if released back when it was written, 1967. Pop music would have been influenced stongly because it was so advanced for it's time. It's musically sophisticated. Brian Wilson is always seeking emotional impact with his melodies (not to mention his famous harmonies) and in this record he zips all over the emotional map, in a patchwork of moods that jump from one to the other on a virtually cinematic journey, If this album had come out in '67 a religion would have sprung up around it. It's all about the birth of America, in musical moods.

urkeyturkey ,

Good but not amazing

I consider myself to be very open-minded when it comes to music, and I have indeed listened to this album many times. I am trying to find the magic that everyone else seems to see. I heard about all the hype before I bought it. Phrases like, "unfinished masterpiece," and "the next Sgt. Pepper's." I'm really sorry to all the believers and fans, but it is not one of the titans of the repertoire. Wilson sounds just like one would imagine, old and worn down. The lyrics are mostly trivial (yes, I do realize that Sgt. Pepper's lyrics are not exactly Pulitzer material, but the music is great), and the music, although decent, is not enough to redeem. My feelings are that this album missed the boat 30+ years ago. If Brian Wilson and the other Beach Boys put this album out directly following Pet Sounds (which IS a titan of the repertoire), things would probably have been different. I am glad for Mr. Wilson's sake that he finished it, but part of me wishes that he hadn't. The allure of the greatest album that never was, is unfortunately better than the album. Buy Pet Sounds instead.

bFranco ,

Musical Perfection

Almost mythical in status, I had enjoyed the original recordings for years in The Beach Boys Box Set, but they were incomplete and no where near the standards of this incredibly cohesive, musical masterpiece finally finished for the world to enjoy. It not only elevates pop music to the classical standards of greats and Brian Wilson influencers like George Gershwin, but demonstrates what music can achieve in both the display of melodic genius and in the positive influence over the listener. This album will make you feel good about yourself, about life and about music everytime you listen to it. Warning: Listening to this album may incite feelings of disappointment, dislusionment, and overall disgust over the abilities of other artists and over their music ;).

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