Tuesday, October 13, 2009

980. Brian Wilson - Smile (2004)

Track Listing

1. Our Prayer
2. Heroes and Villains
3. Roll Plymouth Rock
4. Barnyard
5. Old Master Painter / You Are My Sunshine
6. Cabin Essence
7. Wonderful
8. Song for Children
9. Child Is Father of the Man
10. Surf's Up
11. I'm In Great Shape
12. Workshop
13. Vega-Tables
14. On a Holiday
15. Wind Chimes
16. Mrs. O'Leary's Cow
17. In Blue Hawaii
18. Good Vibrations


So there was this album which was meant to come out after Pet Sounds and it was to be called Smile. Ironically not a lot of smiles seem to have gone on in the business of producing it and when Brian Wilson finally lost it and even set fire to the tapes it became the great lost album in musical history.

In 2004, Wilson being somewhat recovered by now, he got together with a backing band and decided to finally record the album properly. And we got this. Of course it is always hard to live up to the promise of such a mythical work but this comes pretty close.

The impact of Smile is somewhat minimised by the fact that some of the songs from it were later published in other Beach Boys albums, such as Good Vibrations, Heroes and Villains and Surf's Up. While these might be some of the best tracks here, the album works as a conceptual work as well, consisting of three main suites and it is a beautiful piece of work. Had it come out when it should have it would have been a contender for those mythical top spots reserved by critics for Pet Sounds and Sgt. Peppers. As it is, it is still an extremely impressive work and a truly smart, polished and beautiful album, we are all richer for Brian Wilson finally releasing it. Thanks.

Track Highlights

1. Heroes and Villains
2. Surf's Up
3. Good Vibrations
4. Mrs. O'Leary's Cow

Final Grade



From Wikipedia:

On February 20, 2004, 37 years after it was conceived, a complete version of Smile was performed by Wilson along with his backing band, which includes former Beach Boys guitarist Jeff Foskett, members of The Wondermints and percussionist Nelson Bragg, in a live performance at the Royal Festival Hall in London. This performance was made whole by the addition of either lost or newly-composed lyrics that filled the gaps left open by the original 1966-67 Beach Boys sessions. This show was followed by subsequent performances elsewhere in Britain.

Recording of the new version of Smile began in April 2004 with his ten-piece touring band, augmented by a ten-piece string section and an acoustic bassist. The basic tracks were taped at Sunset Sound in just four days, with overdubbing and mixing continuing through April, May, and June.

First Two tracks:


TimmyWing said...

I just realised that they also took this out of the list in the 2007 revision to fit in more recent albums!

Speaking of which, I've been looking around after seeing on the Wikipedia page that they did another revision of the list to get albums from the rest of 2007 in; apparently it now concludes with Oracular Spectacular, but even the official website still has last year's list. Is there any way I can find the new one without going and buying the book again?

Francisco Silva said...

nope, can't find any of the updated list online, but if you wait a while you might get it!