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A worthy comparison might be looking at the growth of REM from the roots flavored rock of their earlier albums to the breakout hits Green and Out of Time. In my opinion, Smile makes this transition more successfully than REM by appealing to a new audience without giving up the intensity and creativity of their music.
"I'm Going To Make You Love Me" is a fun pop song that might lose its appeal over time but, other songs like the title track, "Somewhere In Ohio", and my personal favorite "Baby, Baby" are as energetic and spirited of tunes that the band has ever produced.
The slower, folksier, "What Led Me To This Town", "Break in The Clouds," and "Mr. Wilson" provide the perfect balance by showing the band and its most poignant.
A true follower of the Jayhawks will still see the underlying themes of their previous work. This album is far from a sell out, in fact it may be their best yet.
I was never able to convince my wife--she was not fond of the group's vocals, terming them "harsh", an uncharitable but sometimes accurate description. But we caught their act live here in Louisville two nights ago, and they simply destroyed us. Blew us both away.
These guys are top-flight, first-rate musicians, with command of the stage and of their craft. Their performance was heavy with "Smile" songs, not surprisingly, and they had the audience in their hip pocket from the first bar to the last encore. Simply put, the best live band I have ever seen of any size in any venue. And they warmed my heart by finishing with a slightly edgier and brighter rendition of "Blue"--but I still was dabbing my eyes.
"Smile", which we bought after the performance, has taken the 3rd slot in our multi-disc changer, and we hope to have de-pixelated it in a few days. We simply cannot get these guys out of our heads--and you won't, either, if you love heartfelt, beautifully realized music from the soul and the gut. These guys are a must for any music lover of any genre, and "Smile" is a worthy addition to their catalogue.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This album will quickly rise to one of your favorites in your collection. Such a wide variety of masterfully crafted songs. Read morePublished 2 months ago by tellurium58
I come at this not as a Jayhawks fan of long standing; therefore, I don't have the axe to grind that some reviewers do. Read morePublished on September 11, 2009 by Brad Averill
I had been looking for the original release of this CD for a long time. The original 2000 release is no longer in stores. The seller gave me all the information I needed. Read morePublished on September 6, 2009 by Joseph M. Homstad
It sounds like I'm in the minority amongst Jayhawks fans, but I'll take the sonic experimentation of their later work over their earliest alt-country twang any day. Read morePublished on July 31, 2009 by Ryan
How you came upon the Jayhawks is likely to be the largest factor in your pleasure or displeasure with this album. Read morePublished on April 26, 2009 by hyperbolium
I didn't expect this to be quite this good. I purchased on another positive review and was pleasantly surprised at the quality. Read morePublished on December 24, 2008 by IJEFF
I broke this album 4 years ago when I dropped my discman pulling a gumball out of, yes, a gumball machine. The disc itself cracked in half, and I almost cried. Read morePublished on March 14, 2006 by A. H.
This CD brings together the excellent song writing with polished production. 'Sound of Lies' was the pre-cursor to this and they made a CD even better than that one. Read morePublished on December 3, 2005 by richwire