The Beach Boys – The SMiLE Sessions (Capitol 2580) (2011)

No, I didn’t get this at a charity shop or bootfair, but it has been much on my mind lately and I need to unburden my thoughts. Also, it is on 2Lp vinyl and purchased last week for a relatively thrifty £18.99 and so like a real politician I rationalise the rules to suit myself.

In alternate reality this is a Brian Wilson solo album and it is better….”Our Prayer” Gregorian invocation to th’ monaural SMiLE cult convocation, oh yes, across time (1600s-1960s) and space (AMERICA Atlantic to Pacific)….like countless beachfanboys before & since, Phillip & I Taylored a SMiLE in the early 90s on 4-track cassette, stitching bootleg off-cuts and legit Beach Boys tarted-up session material (e.g. the title track of Surf’s Up)….this is a thawed, flawed masterpiece taking flayed self-indulgence to new levels….mate Jaybird raised a digital SMiLE last year, extracting “Good Vibrations” on grounds that it constituted a different vibe–leaving a gap of Alfred E. Neuman proportions–I respectfully disagreed….if all were as focussed and good as “Vibrations” (or “Herondersurfullessenchimes”) and didn’t have all druggaddled dis-tractions, it would not be a flawed masterpiece, it would be a regular ol’ masterpiece….shock: Mike “Acid Alliteration” Love was wrong, not always….Brian manque Bruce, diminutive dentist Al, doomed devil Dennis, corpulent Carl made into a psychedelic barbershop sextet….Priore’s Dumb Angel fanzine anthology Look, Listen, Vibrate, SMiLE is shit, don’t buy it….elliptical tone poem….

….think of SMiLE as a Brian Wilson solo album, since, despite appearances/labels/four-color Jim Marshall booklet band photogs, it’s not Beach Boys music–some of it’s not even music….vinyl side 2 (out of 3–side 4 is made up of stereo mixes, etc.) is No. 1 side….Brian Wilson Presents SMiLE (2004) flows better than The SMiLE Sessions–but is a Listerine tribute album….some previously released Beach Boys versions of these songs are as good as (or better than) the ones here…a bit tinny and rinky dink, SMiLE was recorded in the mid-60s….at times, Van Dyke Parks’ lyrics are indistiguishable from published poetry (in the literary, self-conscious sense); at other times Van Dyke Parks’ lyrics are undistinguished (in their illiterary, self-conscious non-sense)….to any but SMiLE-anatics, SMiLE‘s attempts at humour are strained and unfunny after a couple listens or less (anyway Esquivel did it better and first)….I re-commend this album of re-occuring lyrical and musical themes

….easier compartmentalisation of his muse if this had be a Brian Wilson solo album….genius? I nearly cried….without filler, Pet Sounds is, and always will be BB’s best by an LA league….seriously, lose the jokey bits or at least make them shorter, sounding half-assed (though at least more wily than Smiley Smile)….”columnated ruins domino” = Greco-Roman god, heavenly sung even if Brian made a boulder that even he couldn’t lift and it broke his back ….this SMiLE needs braces, why not more tightly edited? not more incisor incisive? possibility producers consciously trying to avoid cracking “definitive” SMiLE, tho’ ’tis the de facto one….surprising number of cavities m-ss-ng here comparing 2004 edition and the one I helped compile….a LSD-25 riddled mind riddled easily made fiery paranoid by “Mrs. O’Leary’s Cow”….”Surf’s Up” should have closed the album down….

….but SMiLE sounds unfinish….

Published in: on November 8, 2011 at 12:56 pm  Comments (1)  

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. in terms of matching form with content, this is possibly the best smile review ever.

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