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Brian Wilson:: Smile (Album Review)

Disclaimer #1-I, in the not so distant past, have attended Beach Boys’ Conventions.

Disclaimer #2-I apologize in advance to any non Beach Boys fans for assuming that you know what I’m talking about.

I was expecting fireworks, parades, heck, at least front page photos of Brian’s lopsided grin. Nothing. Well, there was the obvious geeked out feature from Mojo. But come on, This is the single greatest moment in pop music history. “Smile” is here for real. Thirty-eight years after its’ original inception, this “teenage symphony to God” can be had for the princely sum of fifteen dollars. This is monumental. Thirty-eight years of speculation, bootlegs, rumor, insanity, and pain. And here we are in 2004 with the most beautiful music ever made. Except this is not the “Smile” we expected. This is not the “Smile” we have anticipated forever. But this is Brian’s ‘Smile”, the one he was finally able to make. Thank God for Melinda Wilson. Thank God for Darian Sahanaja. And thank God for Van Dyke Parks. They all had a hand in finally bringing the most legendary unfinished album in history to light. Instead of patching together the album started back in 1966, Brian and his new band, The Wondermints, alongside the Stockholm Strings, went back in the studio and recorded a whole new version of “Smile”. Why? Perhaps the ghosts of 1966 were too ugly to overcome for Brian. Or maybe he just wanted a brand new version recorded with folks who actually believed in him. Sadly, the original Beach Boys rarely did. Especially Mike Love, who scoffed at the surreal lyrics and wanted the gravy train of car and surf songs to go on forever. But for those of you who have listened to the bootlegs, they were magic. Pure, unbelievable magic. Fingers crossed, one day, they might be released as a box set, ala “Pet Sounds”. But for now we have this. Starting with the otherworldly “Our Prayer”, wandering through the familiar(Heroes and Villains, Cabin Essence, Surf’s Up, Good Vibrations) and the obscure(Song for Children, Child is the Father of Man, The Elements), “Smile” is now complete, just like Brian envisioned it. And I am ecstatic. And you should be too. If this record had been released back in 1967, the Beach Boys name would be spoken in the same breath as the Beatles, et al, not thought of as some sad State Fair circuit band they are today. But then again, maybe the world wasn’t ready then for what is undoubtedly the most beautiful music ever. I know Brian wasn’t. So, buy this record. It is unbelievable. And go see the “Smile” tour happening right now. It is a joy to finally behold Brian Wilson on stage with people he loves, and who love him. (Review by: DJ My Little Pony)