It's so beeeooooo-tiful! And an album you definitely want on long car journeys, because it's so complex and layered you just listen and listen to it and then all of a sudden you've arrived, and where did the time go?
Of course it's bookended with two very familiar beach Boys songs - Heroes and Villains and Good Vibrations - but everything that goes on in between is so simple and yet complex, so delightful, I really get a sunshine-and-rainbows feeling when I listen to it.
I love the Americana, the sheer happiness of it. Feeling blue? Put on Smile and you soon will... smile, that is.
VERDICT: TURN IT UP
Brian Wilson's opus or his undoing? A flawed genius or fanatical nutjob? Really, who the fuck cares. One listen to Smile will put any bones of contention to rest. There's no doubting the beauty of this record, even if it took 37 years to complete. From the opening harmonies of Our Prayer/Gee to the closing fadeout of Good Vibrations, this is beauty incarnated as music.
There is so much about it that speaks of someone following a higher purpose, from the music and lyrics to the glorious melodies and lush arrangements, a purpose to bring light and joy into the world through prodigious musical talents. Wilson has achieved this in spades. That Mike Love called this "avant-garde shit" indicates the level on which Brian operated compared to the rest of the Beach Boys. It might have taken nearly four decades to complete, but it's also a fantastic 'fuck you' to his former band as well.
VERDICT: TURN IT UP and smile, you sour fucker!
For more information: http://www.brianwilson.com/