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Brian Wilson: Smile
Buy! - (Nonesuch)
Smile has been described as the most famous unreleased rock album. Conceived by Beach Boys songwriter Brian Wilson as his ambitious follow-up to the group’s 1966 classic Pet Sounds, the album was delayed and eventually shelved due to the other band members’ reported misgivings and Wilson’s own deteriorating mental condition (though a few of the songs have appeared in other forms through the years). With assistance from long-time collaborator Van Dyke Parks, Brian Wilson has finished the album he once called his “teenage symphony to God.” Setting aside the earlier recordings and working from scratch, Wilson re-created many of the original Smile songs – adding new lyrics to some and re-arranging others -- while also recording some new songs for it. While the album’s best songs (“Good Vibrations,” “Heroes and Villains” and “Surf’s Up”) have already been released in different versions by the Beach Boys, Smile is a remarkably creative achievement of psychedelic orchestral pop that works best as a cohesive whole. 9/23/2004 - Don Yates