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Poll
Question: Rate Brian Wilson Presents SMiLE
5 - 125 (76.2%)
4 - 20 (12.2%)
3 - 7 (4.3%)
2 - 7 (4.3%)
1 - 1 (0.6%)
0 - 4 (2.4%)
Total Voters: 148

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Author Topic: Brian Wilson Presents SMiLE  (Read 94243 times)
Charles LePage @ ComicList
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« on: December 24, 2005, 07:56:32 PM »

Discuss, review and rate Brian Wilson Presents SMiLE, released September 2004.

« Last Edit: December 26, 2005, 06:52:49 PM by Charles LePage » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: December 25, 2005, 01:49:37 AM »

THE GREATEST MUSIC OF ALL TIME
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« Reply #2 on: December 25, 2005, 01:55:29 AM »

Well, it's no REM, but it's nice.
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« Reply #3 on: December 25, 2005, 02:01:40 AM »

 Grin New board, but some things never change.
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« Reply #4 on: December 25, 2005, 08:31:36 AM »

One of the finest albums ever written and recorded. I can't even imagine what it would have been like to hear it "cold," having not already seen it live (twice) and heard so many of the songs from other sources.
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« Reply #5 on: December 25, 2005, 01:06:32 PM »

As good as can be expected from Brian. Classic.
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« Reply #6 on: December 25, 2005, 01:22:56 PM »

Worth the wait. A musical miracle. IMO, the second movement is his greatest achievement, ever.
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« Reply #7 on: December 25, 2005, 04:23:42 PM »

Still reelling...
I used to give away copies of "Pet Sounds" to audience members (those that asked me questions like;"how do you..".
Now I have to give away both "SMiLE" and "Pet Sounds"...
Most do not realize this is the decisive and crucial cross pollination of popular music.
Turning from dance music to an art form.
A true watershed event.
SMiLE would not have been understood in '67.
Most do not understand it now.
Thank God for Brian Wilson.
Pete
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« Reply #8 on: December 27, 2005, 01:55:25 AM »

Best music Brian ever made. Smile will be an album of all time and people will still listen to it, when we  are all already have passed away. I been on a concert in summer 2004 and were so lucky to have the experince of Smile live. It was unbelieveable, very emontional. Pet sounds is a great album but Smile is far ahead of it. It should get a six!!

Smile!

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« Reply #9 on: December 27, 2005, 03:14:14 AM »

Here's a review I wrote for "Ugly Things" magazine. If you're not familiar with this, it's devoted mainly to 60's music, with an editorial slant towards garage bands and psychedelic-punk music. So PLEASE don't be offended by any lack of reverence (or indeed understanding) in this review; it was never intended as doing hommage to please the fan. With that said, you might find it interesting:



BRIAN WILSON - Smile (Nonesuch CD)

This could have been wretched. Brian could have sung it through that toad-fart megaphone he’s been kidding us with for the last thirty years. He could have roped in his aromatherapist and his leafblower to rewrite the lyrics. He could have asked his accountant - or worse, Jeff Lynne - to co-produce. The whole thing could have been yet another nutbar nosedive into the hot sand from everybody’s favourite Surfing Dalek, and we would still have marvelled that it was done at all (cue Story of Smile – inner demons, dogshit in sandbox, thirty-seven years, etc).
But no. For once, Brian listened to the right voices, including, unfeasibly, that of his wife Melinda. He chose Darian Sahanaja, Kramer-haired brainiac with tune-free formalists The Wondermints, to crack the studio whip. Then – and this is what you’d have done, right? - he boated over a bunch of fiddle-players from Scandinavia to do the difficult bits. As an afterthought, he had Van Dyke Parks shaken from his porch nap to sharpen his quill that he might delight us anew with his hi-falutin’ rock-n’-fol-de-roll.
The greatest pop album ever made? Nope. That’s (YOUR CHOICE HERE). A towering art-rock statement, then, that redefines music as we know it? Not that either, thank God. As to what would have happened had it appeared in 1967, my guess is - nothing much. In spite of hot claims to the contrary, “Smile” isn’t particularly groundbreaking. Brian himself had already done it in miniature, as the “Good Vibrations” 45, and Zappa was just around the corner,  slicing and dicing what would become “Lumpy Gravy”, “Smile’s” ugly sister. Nor is “Smile” particularly influential. What’s the teen to do? Pick up that symphony orchestra?  We got “Topographic Oceans” anyway, thanks very much. In fact, it’s easy to imagine “Smile” slotting in to the existing Beach Boys canon without causing so much as a ripple - after mixed critical reaction and indifferent sales, Brian would release the f***-you-very-much “Smiley Smile” and so on.
There’s been a lot of hushed references to “Americana” (I don’t know what that is, but it smells funny), and Charles Ives, and “Rhapsody in Blue”, but the unexpected charm of this album is that it emerges from the groaning weight of history and expectation as a fresh and enjoyable piece of pop. It’s unlikely that it will ever rank as highly in critics’ polls, or our hearts, as “Pet Sounds”, because it doesn’t talk to us as directly. In fact, it has nothing to say. You can’t help but wonder if the lack of personal investment – no hymns to loss here – helps Brian sing better than he’s done since, oh, “The Allman Brothers at Fillmore East”.
Minor criticisms apart - the yo-ho-hum pirate rap, “you’re under arrest”, the new/old lyrics to “Good Vibrations”, “Vegetables” still not being funny (or anything), and wanting to throw a bucket of sand over “Fire” long before it burns itself out – this is a neat piece of work. The harmonies are hi-wax, even if they inevitably lack that Beach Boys sun-cream-with-a-grain-of-sand mix, and the production is as clean and organic as a radish. The musicians whip through the complex arrangements with a casual accuracy, like it’s no big deal, and Bri pretty much nails the lead vocals on his own, with Jeff Foskett flying in only for the eye-watering stuff that Brian just can’t wear the pants for any more. Pro-Tools? It’s a medium. Like tape. And you can’t Pro-Tool feel – Brian positively swings through “Heroes and Villains”, effortlessly improving on the original, and sings “Surf’s Up” like it meant something – a not insignificant achievement.
If you’re a fan, you have this already, and you don’t care what anyone thinks (but that works both ways, pal). If you’re not, you may find its sheer oddness and occasional beauty enough to warrant a few spins before you file it alongside the other CDs you bought because they got great reviews. But you probably won’t find yourself dancing to it at parties much.
Brian, I know you’re reading this – you can quit now, okay?
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« Reply #10 on: December 27, 2005, 02:08:35 PM »

It doesn't resonate with me like Pet Sounds does.

4 stars.

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« Reply #11 on: January 03, 2006, 02:10:40 AM »

One of the great things about SMiLE is that it is timeless, in the truest meaning of the word. Not only because it was written in the 60s and finished in 2004. No, it´s the music itself. Songs like "Our Prayer", "Barnyard", "Wonderful" or "Mrs O'Learys Cow", for example, could have been written hundred years ago. Or in hundred years. It doesn´t matter. It´s just timeless, beautiful music.
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« Reply #12 on: January 03, 2006, 09:37:15 PM »

One of the first times I was listening to SMiLE, I was driving in heavy pouring rain. My destination was far off, however, I was feeling pretty confident I would get there safely and without any problems... until Mrs. O'Leary's Cow came on! The sirens, the moaning, the feeling of imminent danger! It seemed so long during that listen; I thought it would never end! I wanted to scream!

Just as I was pulling into the driveway, it ended. The ensuing sounds of the opening of In Blue Hawaii comforted me. After "Feel like I was really in the pink", I put my car into park, took out the keys, and walked inside.

5/5
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« Reply #13 on: January 03, 2006, 09:38:54 PM »

You don't have a skip button, dude?
Just kidding, great post.
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« Reply #14 on: January 04, 2006, 11:52:00 PM »

this album should be right above "beatles-sgt. peppers lonely hearts club band" on THE ROLLING STONES TOP 500 ALBUMS LIST!
however i'm glad that they acknowledged SUNFLOWER.
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« Reply #15 on: January 05, 2006, 06:21:08 PM »

I still remember the visceral thrill of being on the old Shop board that night in Feb 2004 waiting for news and getting the original lousy-sounding single 40 minute MP3 of the Smile set and listening to it in the dark late at night in bed -- and just being absolutely amazed.  The CD is a great capture of that.  But best of all is the DVD performance.  That is the definitive rendition of Smile in 2004 to me.
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« Reply #16 on: January 05, 2006, 06:35:43 PM »

Yep, that's exactly how I remember it. In LA there was a lightning storm outside which made it even more intense.
When GV came in at the end, I just went outside in the storm and yelled at the top of my lungs, the rain mixing with the tears running down my face.
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« Reply #17 on: January 05, 2006, 06:57:02 PM »

And you said, fist pumping, "FUM HIM THE MOURDOROUS BASTARD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

That was a great night on the shop, and that original bootleg was great.  I remember putting everything aside when my copy came in the mail, listening while I looked at the tops of the trees outside the window.  I was a little spoiled by reading the stuff online after the first show, but that was hard to resist.  Part of me always wished I'd listened to the bootleg first, just to see how it all worked.  The bootleg was so  possessive that the actual album didn't enchant me as much for a while -- I already knew the program.  I wish Brian had left his vocal mistake on "Vegetables" in the arrangement for the real album.
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« Reply #18 on: January 05, 2006, 07:16:41 PM »

Quote
And you said, fist pumping, "FUM HIM THE MOURDOROUS BASTARD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

YES!!!!!!!
And then I carved a swastika in my forehead!
I totally agree on the Vegetables thing.
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« Reply #19 on: January 05, 2006, 08:14:41 PM »

You had to wait for the mail?  Man that must have been tough.  I grabbed the show from Usenet that same night.  I was listening to the show hours after it was over.  I would not have been able to wait until the mail came.  Of course, I can't compare to those in the US who made cell phone calls to concert participants that lasted about 40 minutes....
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« Reply #20 on: January 06, 2006, 06:58:14 AM »

Yeah -- that was a hell of a night. So many questions answered, so many new questions raised, such a moving performance.

I can't even write about this one. Too much emotion wrapped up in it, I'm too close to the album in general. The bitching, moaning and criticism still stings, and it started the *very next day* after that moving performance. Its like -- when you hear something that moves you *that much* and creates such a potent, visceral reaction to you that hits you at a deep, deep level like that, way down deep in the soul, having that experience devalued or picked apart like its just another ho-hum, bla-de-da everyday ordinary thing is *painful*. I liken it to the visceral reaction Ian has when someone comes on and says something like "Neil Young sucks." You think of the beautiful moments in your life wrapped up in the music, the deep thoughts and wonder you've had listening and spending quality time with it, and all the time you've spent enjoying it, and you feel something very akin to potent RAAAGGGGEEEE. Or at least I do. Which is why I can barely write about the album critically.

And which is why I don't really have a Smile website anymore. I just can't stand having something I love that much dissected like so much offal under my watch.

Let me just say one thing: the pirate rap is my favorite part of the entire album. That should be an indication of where my head is at Smile-wise.
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« Reply #21 on: January 06, 2006, 07:13:53 AM »

The night I first heard the SMiLE concert bootleg, I was visiting home and I was going to bus overnight back to the city in which I was working. I had to work in the morning. My plan was to sleep on the bus. I listened to the CD (my friend burned it for me) through my stereo and loved the whole thing. Then I listened to the CD through a portable CD player while on the bus and what happened next was awful. I couldn't sleep.  Not because I was excited, but because the bicycle rider theme was playing incessantly, over and over in my head. I kind of sympathized with Brian scrapping SMiLE if that's what he was going through for a few months. So I tried to sleep on the bus and eventually did fall alseep at 6 in the morning or something while at the bus station waiting for a stopover.

That's my story.
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« Reply #22 on: January 06, 2006, 09:45:56 AM »

Yeah -- that was a hell of a night. So many questions answered, so many new questions raised, such a moving performance.

I can't even write about this one. Too much emotion wrapped up in it, I'm too close to the album in general. The bitching, moaning and criticism still stings, and it started the *very next day* after that moving performance. Its like -- when you hear something that moves you *that much* and creates such a potent, visceral reaction to you that hits you at a deep, deep level like that, way down deep in the soul, having that experience devalued or picked apart like its just another ho-hum, bla-de-da everyday ordinary thing is *painful*. I liken it to the visceral reaction Ian has when someone comes on and says something like "Neil Young sucks." You think of the beautiful moments in your life wrapped up in the music, the deep thoughts and wonder you've had listening and spending quality time with it, and all the time you've spent enjoying it, and you feel something very akin to potent RAAAGGGGEEEE. Or at least I do. Which is why I can barely write about the album critically.

And which is why I don't really have a Smile website anymore. I just can't stand having something I love that much dissected like so much offal under my watch.

Let me just say one thing: the pirate rap is my favorite part of the entire album. That should be an indication of where my head is at Smile-wise.

Damn bloody right, right on Jon.. there were people hanging around just to moan and complain about something that was obviously HUGE to the majority of us, even if you didnt care for it at least have the decency to wait a week at least for people to enjoy the moment that no-one thought would come.

SMiLE is still probably my favourite all time music, even though I feel the live performance is the version to listen to.
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« Reply #23 on: January 06, 2006, 10:57:08 AM »



WHAT DID YOU SAY?HuhHuh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Grin
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« Reply #24 on: January 06, 2006, 01:35:45 PM »


Damn bloody right, right on Jon.. there were people hanging around just to moan and complain about something that was obviously HUGE to the majority of us, even if you didnt care for it at least have the decency to wait a week at least for people to enjoy the moment that no-one thought would come.

SMiLE is still probably my favourite all time music, even though I feel the live performance is the version to listen to.


Along this sentiment, I have to say that I was grinning like an absolute idiot after first hearing the piece performed live (Glasgow, MArch 3 or 4 '04...I forget exactly). It was one of the best moments of my life, made better because Brian had been horrendous in the first set, but came back to perform a beautiful, touching show of Smile. And I had the same reaction when I heard the actual, released disc for the first time (by which time I'd seen it live again and heard the leaked studio stuff plenty of times). It touched me in a way very, very little music does, has or (most likely) will.
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