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Author Topic: Do you think the early material ('62-'65) is better than Smile?  (Read 22831 times)
Smilin Ed H
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« Reply #50 on: April 11, 2014, 07:54:31 AM »

As a whole album listening experience, I prefer Pet Sounds, but some of the songs on Smile are amongst the best they ever did (whereas on PS, they're all amongst the best they ever did). album-wise, I find it easier to listen to post-Pet Sounds to Holland, but there's so much great stuff on the pre-Pet Sounds albums too.
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« Reply #51 on: April 11, 2014, 08:56:20 AM »

Hi all,

When every song sung is perfection it is hard to choose a favorite.  In the morning when I wake up I like listening to Sufer Girl or In My Room.  Same with at night before going to bed.  I know that I might not be answering the question properly.  Yet I am saying how I feel.  After I am awake I like a BB tune I can dance to.   
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« Reply #52 on: April 11, 2014, 09:15:26 AM »

Brian worked on Smile for a year. In 1963 or 1964 he was releasing 30 new tracks a year. Select the best 12 of them and you have a fairer competition.
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« Reply #53 on: April 11, 2014, 09:19:39 AM »

Brian worked on Smile for a year. In 1963 or 1964 he was releasing 30 new tracks a year. Select the best 12 of them and you have a fairer competition.

This is a unique & fair way of looking at it.  For me, I think SMiLE would still win out...but the 12-song '63-'64 compilation might beat Pet Sounds...
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« Reply #54 on: April 11, 2014, 11:25:31 AM »

Overall I think the pre-Pet Sounds music is better than the post-Pet Sounds music. Catchier songs with a greater sense of purpose.

I agree with the Beach Boys became a collection of individuals, though that happened after Friends
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« Reply #55 on: April 11, 2014, 07:36:14 PM »

I don't see how you can compare Smile to anything pre-Smile because nobody knows what Smile really is/was.  Brian himself said it was experimental music...background music.  The lyrics were mysterious and artsy-fartsy.  I really never got what was so smiling about Smile anyway, since when does women getting gunned down by bullets an American Indians getting wiped out amount to smiling?   Weird.  I mean don't get me wrong, I own Smile and spent a lot of time listening to it...but at best...I find it confusing.  The melody and harmony are often a mystery to find.

I'm more likely to listen to something from Love You, or California Saga, or something with Brian's trademark soaring harmonies.  Plymouth Rock can keep rolling over, but I probably won't get it.
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« Reply #56 on: April 11, 2014, 07:44:28 PM »

Not better, or worse. Just different. Music evolves, matures, de-evolves and reinvents itself.  I think we can see all of that in this band.

I respond to music as a soundtrack to my own life. When I put the convertible top town on a sunny day, it ain't SMiLE in the CD player, because I want the music to fit the experience.  I'm cruisin' to the fun n sun period, then. When I want to connect at an emotional level, Pet Sounds comes out.  When I want to enjoy something from an artistic standpoint, there's SMiLE. And, when I want to lose myself in a sonic flood , 'Til I Die goes on loop.

I feel the same way  Cheesy
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« Reply #57 on: April 11, 2014, 08:32:03 PM »

This is an extremely general observation, but I see Pet Sounds as the culmination of everything the Boys were doing to that point.  GV (although not on Pet Sounds) is the perfect example of that.  To me, Smile is more like a movie soundtrack.  No artists specifically come to mind, but you'll have an artist that releases straight albums and then provides a soundtrack to a film.  Same artist but totally different kinds of music.  I can't say which is "better" because the intent with each, it seems, is quite different.

To me-- and again this is very general and perhaps personal to me-- there are three eras or categories:

1. Surfin' Safari to Party!
2. Pet Sounds/Smile
3. Smiley Smile to SIP

I prefer eras 1 and 2 to 3 by a wide margin.

My eras would go like this:

1. Surfin' Safari to Xmas Album
2. Today through SMiLE Recordings - Brian at his peak
3. Smiley Smile through Sunflower - Brian steps back
4. Surfs Up through Holland - Brian reilly steps back, the Carl/Dennis Era
5 - 15BO - Love You - Brian is Back (Sorta)
6 - The Rest - Love Conquers All (Although LA doesn't fit in here).

My order is
2 3 4 1 5 6
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« Reply #58 on: April 11, 2014, 08:34:23 PM »

This is an extremely general observation, but I see Pet Sounds as the culmination of everything the Boys were doing to that point.  GV (although not on Pet Sounds) is the perfect example of that.  To me, Smile is more like a movie soundtrack.  No artists specifically come to mind, but you'll have an artist that releases straight albums and then provides a soundtrack to a film.  Same artist but totally different kinds of music.  I can't say which is "better" because the intent with each, it seems, is quite different.

To me-- and again this is very general and perhaps personal to me-- there are three eras or categories:

1. Surfin' Safari to Party!
2. Pet Sounds/Smile
3. Smiley Smile to SIP

I prefer eras 1 and 2 to 3 by a wide margin.

My eras would go like this:

1. Surfin' Safari to Xmas Album
2. Today through SMiLE Recordings - Brian at his peak
3. Smiley Smile through Sunflower - Brian steps back
4. Surfs Up through Holland - Brian reilly steps back, the Carl/Dennis Era
5 - 15BO - Love You - Brian is Back (Sorta)
6 - The Rest - Love Conquers All (Although LA doesn't fit in here).

My order is
2 3 4 1 5 6


My honest order is:
3 4 2 5 1 6
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ThyRavenAscend
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« Reply #59 on: April 11, 2014, 09:07:14 PM »

This is an extremely general observation, but I see Pet Sounds as the culmination of everything the Boys were doing to that point.  GV (although not on Pet Sounds) is the perfect example of that.  To me, Smile is more like a movie soundtrack.  No artists specifically come to mind, but you'll have an artist that releases straight albums and then provides a soundtrack to a film.  Same artist but totally different kinds of music.  I can't say which is "better" because the intent with each, it seems, is quite different.

To me-- and again this is very general and perhaps personal to me-- there are three eras or categories:

1. Surfin' Safari to Party!
2. Pet Sounds/Smile
3. Smiley Smile to SIP

I prefer eras 1 and 2 to 3 by a wide margin.

My eras would go like this:

1. Surfin' Safari to Xmas Album
2. Today through SMiLE Recordings - Brian at his peak
3. Smiley Smile through Sunflower - Brian steps back
4. Surfs Up through Holland - Brian reilly steps back, the Carl/Dennis Era
5 - 15BO - Love You - Brian is Back (Sorta)
6 - The Rest - Love Conquers All (Although LA doesn't fit in here).

My order is
2 3 4 1 5 6


I feel like 5 should go through M.I.U. because Brian was decently involved there, and it's the last good Beach Boys album, IMHO.  With that small edit, mine would be:

2 3 1 4 5 6
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« Reply #60 on: April 11, 2014, 10:43:08 PM »

This is an extremely general observation, but I see Pet Sounds as the culmination of everything the Boys were doing to that point.  GV (although not on Pet Sounds) is the perfect example of that.  To me, Smile is more like a movie soundtrack.  No artists specifically come to mind, but you'll have an artist that releases straight albums and then provides a soundtrack to a film.  Same artist but totally different kinds of music.  I can't say which is "better" because the intent with each, it seems, is quite different.

To me-- and again this is very general and perhaps personal to me-- there are three eras or categories:

1. Surfin' Safari to Party!
2. Pet Sounds/Smile
3. Smiley Smile to SIP

I prefer eras 1 and 2 to 3 by a wide margin.

My eras would go like this:

1. Surfin' Safari to Xmas Album
2. Today through SMiLE Recordings - Brian at his peak
3. Smiley Smile through Sunflower - Brian steps back
4. Surfs Up through Holland - Brian reilly steps back, the Carl/Dennis Era
5 - 15BO - Love You - Brian is Back (Sorta)
6 - The Rest - Love Conquers All (Although LA doesn't fit in here).

My order is
2 3 4 1 5 6


This is way too simplistic.

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« Reply #61 on: April 12, 2014, 12:25:04 AM »

This is an extremely general observation, but I see Pet Sounds as the culmination of everything the Boys were doing to that point.  GV (although not on Pet Sounds) is the perfect example of that.  To me, Smile is more like a movie soundtrack.  No artists specifically come to mind, but you'll have an artist that releases straight albums and then provides a soundtrack to a film.  Same artist but totally different kinds of music.  I can't say which is "better" because the intent with each, it seems, is quite different.

To me-- and again this is very general and perhaps personal to me-- there are three eras or categories:

1. Surfin' Safari to Party!
2. Pet Sounds/Smile
3. Smiley Smile to SIP

I prefer eras 1 and 2 to 3 by a wide margin.

My eras would go like this:

1. Surfin' Safari to Xmas Album
2. Today through SMiLE Recordings - Brian at his peak
3. Smiley Smile through Sunflower - Brian steps back
4. Surfs Up through Holland - Brian reilly steps back, the Carl/Dennis Era
5 - 15BO - Love You - Brian is Back (Sorta)
6 - The Rest - Love Conquers All (Although LA doesn't fit in here).

My order is
2 3 4 1 5 6


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« Reply #62 on: April 12, 2014, 03:00:51 AM »

I really never got what was so smiling about Smile anyway, since when does women getting gunned down by bullets an American Indians getting wiped out amount to smiling?

The pre-SMiLE music sure makes me smile more than SMiLE music does. When I need some Beach Boys music to motivate me cleaning up the house, it's never SMiLE, always pre-SMiLE or the Landlocked boot.

Once I drove in a car with a woman by my side and I had SMiLE on. Knowing me, she said: "Is that the Beach Boys? That's depressing music!!!" And that was when Holidays played, even not during one of the really sad sounding songs!

OT: I think Pet Sounds is better than SMiLE. The songs are better structured and better produced.
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« Reply #63 on: April 13, 2014, 11:58:33 AM »

Do I think the early material ('62-'65) is better than Smile? No I don't. I think it's excellent stuff, better than most bands that were out at the time. But for me it's always been about '65-'70. Everybody's different. Some people think Smile is boring. For me it's like coffee. To each their own. Wink
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« Reply #64 on: April 13, 2014, 03:25:05 PM »

Do I think the early material ('62-'65) is better than Smile? No I don't. I think it's excellent stuff, better than most bands that were out at the time. But for me it's always been about '65-'70. Everybody's different. Some people think Smile is boring. For me it's like coffee. To each their own. Wink
While I don't find Smile boring, it is not better than Pet Sounds, nor is it better than Brian's best work prior to it. Though I have to say that it is very imaginative and forward thinking. But, there is a reason why 50 years later that the pre-Smile music is still well regarded. My opinion for what it's worth.
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« Reply #65 on: April 14, 2014, 06:36:47 PM »

Over time, I've come to prefer the early material to what the BBs did later. I started out with Smile and Pet Sounds, but over time, I've come to appreciate the honesty and vitality of the BBs hit period more. The songs were just so... American. The rollicking shuffle beat, the pop culture lyrics. In many ways, songs like "I Get Around" are still what young people are all about - it's just become unfashionable to be so honest and clear about it.  I always come back to a quote "by" Mike Love in An American Family: "Those songs are who we are." Or when Sean Hagan said Brian was an avant-garde artist and Joe Thomas roughly responded with, "Not the Brian I know."

I believe "California Girls" is the BBs top masterpiece. I prefer "Rock & Roll Music" and "It's OK" to at least half of Smile. Smile is too slow, ponderous, and abstract from an emotional standpoint in comparison. I'd take "Little Deuce Coupe" over "Hang Onto Your Ego" each and every time, too. Don't get me wrong, Pet Sounds is a masterpiece and definitely quite honest, but that's where the hip posturing starts to creep in. For me, honestly, it's where the Beach Boys end. After that point, the group just became a talented collection of individuals. The angel had fallen from the group's graces.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to listen to "Wendy" again.

Yeah... I agree.  There's a reason the earlier stuff was more popular with the masses.  It's a little more accessible, cmmercial, universal and in my book that's all good stuff.  When it comes right down to it, I'd rather listen to Summer days than SMiLE. 

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« Reply #66 on: April 14, 2014, 06:44:14 PM »

1. Surfin' Safari to Xmas Album
2. Today through SMiLE Recordings - Brian at his peak
3. Smiley Smile through Sunflower - Brian steps back
4. Surfs Up through Holland - Brian reilly steps back, the Carl/Dennis Era
5 - 15BO - Love You - Brian is Back (Sorta)
6 - The Rest - Love Conquers All (Although LA doesn't fit in here).

My order is
2 3 4 1 5 6


Mine, honestly, would be

2, 1, 5,4,3,6

That's pretty wild. 
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« Reply #67 on: December 22, 2014, 10:38:48 AM »

My favorite period is probably 1964-1968.

For me the Beach Boys really kick into gear with the "Shut Down Vol 2" album and tracks like "Don't Worry Baby" and "The Warmth of the Sun".

Although Brian's Golden Age ends with Pet Sounds and the collapse of Smile, the magic is still there for me through the Friends album. That (for me) is the last in the run of pure pop albums that they did (with Wild Honey being perhaps a bit of a detour)... Friends is the last album that seems to be fully infused with the pop sensibility of Brian at his prime.

I know that the period from 1969-1973 is very popular with fans, and there is much that I enjoy in it, but at that point, when the group really takes the reins, they change (IMHO) from pure vocal pop to more of a California rock sensibility. Something gained yet something lost. IMHO.
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« Reply #68 on: December 22, 2014, 10:51:30 AM »

Over time, I've come to prefer the early material to what the BBs did later. I started out with Smile and Pet Sounds, but over time, I've come to appreciate the honesty and vitality of the BBs hit period more. The songs were just so... American. The rollicking shuffle beat, the pop culture lyrics. In many ways, songs like "I Get Around" are still what young people are all about - it's just become unfashionable to be so honest and clear about it.  I always come back to a quote "by" Mike Love in An American Family: "Those songs are who we are." Or when Sean Hagan said Brian was an avant-garde artist and Joe Thomas roughly responded with, "Not the Brian I know."

I believe "California Girls" is the BBs top masterpiece. I prefer "Rock & Roll Music" and "It's OK" to at least half of Smile. Smile is too slow, ponderous, and abstract from an emotional standpoint in comparison. I'd take "Little Deuce Coupe" over "Hang Onto Your Ego" each and every time, too. Don't get me wrong, Pet Sounds is a masterpiece and definitely quite honest, but that's where the hip posturing starts to creep in. For me, honestly, it's where the Beach Boys end. After that point, the group just became a talented collection of individuals. The angel had fallen from the group's graces.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to listen to "Wendy" again.

I believe your issues are the same issues Brain had with SMiLE in 1966/67 and are the only real reason why he retooled/canned it.
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« Reply #69 on: December 22, 2014, 11:30:01 AM »

Brian Wilson, circa 1963, eats an ice cream cone. “This might be the finest ice cream cone I have ever eaten!” he cries. Forgive me. I do not know whether it was vanilla or chocolate. I prefer chocolate, of course, as most of you might have surmised. I believe Brian generally prefers strawberry. Perhaps it wasn’t available this day. Perhaps he was in a certain mood. Perhaps we’ll never know, though clearly it is information worth pursuit. I digress. He finishes the cone and moves to the piano (after a short restroom break). He thinks of the cone and the joy it provided. He is excited and begins the tune that would become “You’re So Good to Me,” after initially being “Wendy,” and for a few brief seconds, “The Theme from the Man from U.N.C.L.E.” Finally, when the song is written, the record eventually played, we hear the sound of a soul imbued with the joy of a simple ice cream cone. And that sound will never be topped, unless perhaps one has hot fudge available. Shall we say that an ice cream cone is better than foie gras? A child would say so, and child is the father of the man. Father knows best, they say. Now back to my nap.
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« Reply #70 on: December 22, 2014, 12:45:50 PM »

I guess I prefer the early stuff, though I don't know about it being better.

When it comes to orders, considered as a separate question, I see only two (Smileless because of its non-release).

1.  Surfin' Safari to Good Vibrations.
2.  Heroes and Villains to TWGMTR, with a bunch of subdivisions.
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Smilin Ed H
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« Reply #71 on: December 22, 2014, 01:24:02 PM »

No no and No. As a whole work, I'd take Pet Sounds over Smile any day, but I like Smile and it ushered in a period of creativity that is given the bum's rush by people that foolishly hang on to a very narrow definition of the Beach Boys sound, as if it wasn't going o change and grow as they grew older. I thin it says more about them and where they were, mentally and emotionally, at the time, than the band itself.
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« Reply #72 on: December 22, 2014, 02:49:12 PM »

I know that I for one am emotionally adrift, the victim of a series of relationships that can best be described as horrific, albeit productive in the sense that a tomato soup and hard-boiled egg lunch is fair recompense for an evening of martinis and shrill criticism. But enough about Ella, my fourth wife, who is probably happier with the sailor.

And where do we place Pet Sounds in attempting to balance this equation, as it were? Ah, the sophistication, the childlike innocence, the loss of that same innocence, and the awareness of mortality, albeit it in a soft whisper from the future. Is there “better” music than “God Only Knows”? Is there more spiritual, emotional soundscape than “Don’t Talk”? If so, put your head on my shoulder.

Do we pair “Wouldn’t it Be Nice” with “columnated ruins domino” or with “I’m gettin’ bugged driving up and down the same old street?” Is, perhaps, the Dennis Wilson-penned, or ghost-penned, note to fans on the back cover of the All Summer Long album the first true hint of the band’s direction? In fact, was Dennis aware before even Brian that life and music were going to take decided turns? I believe it is time for that first martini. Please bear with me. Ah, perfect! Can we answer the question of Sgt. Pepper versus Meet the Beatles without first deciding where Rubber Soul fits? And has anyone seen a blue sock? One seems to have gone missing.
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Smilin Ed H
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« Reply #73 on: December 22, 2014, 03:37:42 PM »

I know that I for one am emotionally adrift, the victim of a series of relationships that can best be described as horrific, albeit productive in the sense that a tomato soup and hard-boiled egg lunch is fair recompense for an evening of martinis and shrill criticism. But enough about Ella, my fourth wife, who is probably happier with the sailor.

And where do we place Pet Sounds in attempting to balance this equation, as it were? Ah, the sophistication, the childlike innocence, the loss of that same innocence, and the awareness of mortality, albeit it in a soft whisper from the future. Is there “better” music than “God Only Knows”? Is there more spiritual, emotional soundscape than “Don’t Talk”? If so, put your head on my shoulder.

Do we pair “Wouldn’t it Be Nice” with “columnated ruins domino” or with “I’m gettin’ bugged driving up and down the same old street?” Is, perhaps, the Dennis Wilson-penned, or ghost-penned, note to fans on the back cover of the All Summer Long album the first true hint of the band’s direction? In fact, was Dennis aware before even Brian that life and music were going to take decided turns? I believe it is time for that first martini. Please bear with me. Ah, perfect! Can we answer the question of Sgt. Pepper versus Meet the Beatles without first deciding where Rubber Soul fits? And has anyone seen a blue sock? One seems to have gone missing.


Glad to see you haven't lost your touch.
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« Reply #74 on: December 22, 2014, 04:18:38 PM »

The greatest era for the Beach Boys lies between the opening anapest and final fade of Don’t Worry Baby. That’s about two-and-three-quarters minutes, Greenwich Summer Time. And somewhere in the mid-Sixties, when Americans (properly) were eating Forever Yours candy  bars. I listen to Brian’s genius phrasing and wonder, was he thinking of where Ronnie would have applied her vibrato/hiccup?  He steered clear of that, of course. Brian is Sinatra. Carl in the break, right?  On the other hand, that opening might be described as pyrrhic-spondaic. Era of the gods.  To talk about anything else is like bowling without trophies.
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