Beach Boys: The Smile Sessions

Album review
Beach Boys: The Smile Sessions

The Beach Boys

The Smile Sessions

Label: Capitol
Media: LP
Genre: Rock/pop

Recorded in 1966 and ’67, and guided by songwriters Brian Wilson and Van Dyke Parks, the unfinished Smile album is often considered just as innovative as the Beatles’ 1967 game changer Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band (which it pre-dated). Wilson called it “a teenage symphony to God.” It’s one of rock’s great “lost” monuments. The album is built around dreamy, joyous tracks that abandoned typical pop form, including the previously unreleased “Surf’s Up” suite, and features songs devoted to the four elements (fire, air, water, and earth). But despite its brilliance the ambitious Smile project collapsed beneath Wilson’s LSD-fueled nervous breakdown. Portions of the sessions were salvaged for 67’s Smiley Smile, most notably the hit single “Good Vibrations.” Over the years, outtakes have popped up on various bootlegs and official anthologies. This newly remastered assemblage of The Smile Sessions is sequenced in accordance with Wilson’s re-imagined 2004 version, and includes a lengthy book and vinyl singles; both the LP and CD versions offer bonus tracks loaded with studio chatter. The two-LP version is recorded in mono, but includes one side of stereo mixes. The remastering perfectly complements the angelic vocal harmonies and sonic experimentation, and the vinyl version sounds especially good. 

More Info

  • primary artist, The Beach Boys
  • LP

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