Smiley Smile / Wild Honey
Extra Tracks, Import, Remastered
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Their two quirky 1967 albums, together with various sessions and an early take of Good Vibrations ; an alternate take of Heroes and Villains; You're Welcome; Their Hearts Were Full of Spring, and Can't Wait Too Long. 28 tracks!
These albums mark nothing less than a watershed in the Beach Boys' and Brian Wilson's careers. Fresh from the artistic triumph of Pet Sounds and the landmark single "Good Vibrations," Wilson began work on Smile, a project that would become a music fan's Rashomon: pop's most (in)famous unreleased album; artistic Waterloo for Wilson; near career-ruination for the band. Smile seemed an attempt to expand on the jigsaw session methodology Wilson had applied to "Vibrations." What went wrong has been debated for decades, but Smiley Smile was the album that followed in the summer of '67--a "bunt instead of a home run," as Carl Wilson admitted. Bookended by the glories of the "Vibrations" single and its truncated follow-up, "Heroes and Villains," Smiley can seem an exercise in creative schizophrenia. There's an earthy quality to remakes of Smile tracks "Wind Chimes," "Vegetables," and "Wonderful," while Wilson's "Fall Breaks," "Little Pad," and "Whistle In" underscore his playful, off-center instincts. But this album also anticipated the roots-conscious retrenchment that the Beatles and Bob Dylan would undertake at the end of the '60s.
Wild Honey has taken its place as a cult fave among fans, and rightly so. Its surprising R&B influences (epitomized by the buoyant title track, "Darlin'," and "Here Comes the Night") were not only a brave turn for a band just then at a low ebb, but a prescient pointer to the black music explosion of the early '70s. This great twofer edition includes some of the series' best tracks: a near seven-minute "in progress" suite of "Good Vibrations" outtakes as well as a complete early version; the odd, Smile-era B-side "You're Welcome"; a beautiful live rehearsal rendition of the a cappella showcase "Their Hearts Were Full of Spring"; and another suite of edited session takes for the unreleased standout "Can't Wait Too Long." -Jerry McCulley
Top customer reviews
This set also includes Wild Honey, which sounds like the Beach Boys go to Motown, and its pretty good too!
If you are reading this review you have most likely read the other reviews of 'Smiley Smile' and gotten an overall history lesson on the aborted 'SMiLE' project and what came of it...so i won't bore you with another lesson.
However, I will tell you how beautiful this album is: 'Heroes and Villains' - enough said; one of the greatest songs Brian Wilson composed. 'Vegetables' is a fun song FULL of bass - as a matter of fact, the whole album has more bass than Pet Sounds. I have a good sized subwoofer connected to my stereo system and this album is amazing to listen to with the bass full tilt.
'Fall Breaks and Back To Winter' has snippets of the shelved 'fire' with a chorus mixing a woody-woodpecker laugh (done with harmonica) with a great drumline....I find the song to be a wonderful trip - others have told me it is the creepiest song they have ever listened to.
Next comes 'She's Goin' Bald' - Out of all the wonderful songs on the album this is the one I skip every time...It is based around the instrumentals to 'He Gives Speeches' from SMiLE...for some reason Mike Love decided to change the lyrics (ironic he found Van Dyke Park's lyrics strange and then he goes to writing this - listen to it and you'll get my drift).
From the bald song we go to one of my favorite tracks on the album: 'Little Pad' - it opens with laughter from the group and then goes straight into a wonderful chillax tune about wanting to own a little house in Hawaii.
'Good Vibrations' - enough said. 'With Me Tonight' reminds me of 'Little Pad' - it is a mellow but wonderful tune. A toned-down 'Wind Chimes' comes next...a VERY mellow tune with an excellent ending. 'Gettin Hungry' is an amazing song with a great organ tune and bass line. A very different (from SMiLE) 'Wonderful' comes after - this version feels more haunting and mysterious than the intended version. 'Whistle-In' is a perfect chill ending to a very mysterious but enjoyable album.
I would describe Wild Honey as an ultimate Beach Boys jam session. The whole album feels so real and original; the sound is raw and somehow beautiful. The Brian Wilson who made 'Pet Sounds' and 'Today!' is still there, but now present are the other Beach Boys. Listen to the chorus on 'Aren't You Glad' or the many elements of 'How She Boogalooed It'....this is an allaround great album.