Review of Smile Album by Brian Wilson

Brian Wilson

Brian Wilson - Smile - Alum Review

Brian Wilson - Smile

First for a quick history lesson, Brian Wilson grew up in Hawthorn California around that time the latest craze (surfing) was engulfing West Coast teen culture. Together with his brothers Dennis and Carl and the food money left by the parents for the vacation they set about recording a single that would set the surfing world alight and so were born The Beach Boys. Ironically Brian Wilson was the only member of the band that didn’t surf and in-fact was afraid of water!

Through out the early 60’s the Beach Boys went from strength to strength culminating in 1966 with one of the greatest albums ever

Brian Wilson - Smile - Alum Review

written Pet Sounds. Feeling the pressure of expectancy Brian then embarked on his next project an album due to be called smile, but after recording just a small number of tracks and remnants from the Pet Sounds sessions, the Beach Boys released Smiley Smile (1967) featuring the freewheeling "Heroes and Villains" and an unsurpassed moment of pop ecstasy called "Good Vibrations." It was not long passed this point that Brian descended into personal turmoil and became a recluse. Lesson Over.

Over the past few years Brian has dramatically turned his life around and regained the vigor he harnessed in his 20’s and turned his attentions to the unfinished Smile album which had been a musical itch for a long while.

Using none of the original session Brian has gone about recreating the feel and sounds of the late 60’s with great success and even if the vocals are a little jaded there is no doubting the quality of the performance. Production values are about as strong as you are ever likely to hear and the early charm of The Beach Boys sound flits in and out like an old family friend. Using familiar tunes such as Good Vibrations, wind chimes and Heroes and Villains as the backbone of the recording Brian introduces us to a whole host of great tracks that I am sure will grow more and more in the psyche as the years go on.

Finally, I would like to put one thing straight Brian Wilson’s “Smile” does not surpass the legendary Pet Sounds, where as one was the voice of a scene the other is probably the swan song of a glittering career. Don’t get me wrong, I really love the new work but to compare it to a 38 year old masterpiece that grabbed the imagination and push bands such as the Beatles to better things would just not be right. Then again maybe I should rewrite this review in 40 years time…………

1. Our Prayer/Gee

2. Heroes and Villians

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/I Wanna Be Around/Workshop

12. Vega-Tables

13. On a Holiday

14. Wind Chimes

15. Mrs. O'Leary's Cow

16. In Blue Hawaii

17. Good Vibrations