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Vinyl, Original recording, Double LP, November 23, 2004
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Collaborator Van Dyke Parks's impressionistic, often mischievous lyrics conjure a collage of arcane 19th-century Americana that's equal parts artful ellipse and aloof nostalgia. But wed to Wilson's innovative composition and recording techniques (echoing beat author William Burroughs's fabled cut 'n' paste methodology and exemplified by the modular "Good Vibrations"), the resulting semisuite confections challenge the boundaries of both song and album form, but with an insouciant charm that's as different from Pet Sounds as that landmark was from "I Get Around." Turns out those hypothetical comparisons to Sgt. Pepper's weren't so far off the mark. --Jerry McCulley
Smiling with Brian
Amazon.com Music Editor Peter Hilgendorf called Brian Wilson to congratulate him on the release of Smile, and to talk about the recording and some of the history behind this highly anticipated release. Listen now.
Top Customer Reviews
He talked about how it took his own combined talents as their producer, the writing talents of Lennon and McCartney, and the instrumental virtuosity of all four Beatles to create their records, but Brian Wilson did ALL of that for the Beach Boys.. wrote the songs, arranged them, sang them, played instruments and ran the board during production and editing. What George Martin was saying was that it took him and all four Beatles to do what Brian could do alone.
Now who am I to argue with Sir George. As much as I love and adore The Beatles' music, he was right. I can almost picture John and Paul sitting slack jawed when they first heared "Pet Sounds." To which they answered with "Revolver" to which Brian was going to answer with "Smile" but then.. you know the rest.
The catch phrase going around about "Smile" is "Imagine if Sgt. Pepper had been shelved and released 37 years later." It is a very apt and fitting description of the feeling, the tears of joy, that any fan of Brian's will get when they play this album.Read more ›
However, The Beach Boys' SMiLE is a fragile document of what could have been. Until now. When I first heard that Brian Wilson was going to RE-RECORD the album, I almost lost it. I thought "How could he? This will be an embarrassment and will ruin what little we have of the original, sung through post-millennia filter that will cloud Brian Wilson's vision!" Boy, was I wrong. This is not a reproduction. It is a pure and unadulterated channeling of those original sessions as if they were directly tapped through some break in the space/time continuum. This is not SMiLE redux, this IS SMiLE. Arguably, Brian's Voice lost a touch or two in the intervening decades (!), but still sounds terrific. And the backup band The Wondermints recreate the sound of "what could have been" flawlessly. Although it isn't Mike Love and Carl Wilson singing harmonies, that does not matter much. This is Brian and Van Dyke's album. It always was.Read more ›
Of course not everyone is as new to this conept as I am.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This CD has a interesting set of songs. If you are expecting all Beach Boys, look elsewhere. This is all Brian Wilson, although he has included a couple of Beach Boys songs but... Read morePublished 1 day ago by Connie S. Fidgeon
I returned to this release in the summer of 2016, over three years after retiring from writing full-time about music, and -- freed from issues of deadlines, exhaustion, scheduling,... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Bruce Eder
I bought this, because I simply love upbeat and heartfelt music with soul and spirit. I remember when I first heard "Heroes and Villains" and the instrumental version, I... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Clayton
Coming right out and saying it is the greatest album ever made is a very interesting statement, as the vast majority of the public would laugh you out of the place. Read morePublished 2 months ago by RMH
I have heard legends of this album, and of the greatness of the Beach Boys, and, yes, I am too young to have been there while it happened. Read morePublished 5 months ago by James W Polichak