I only really got into the beach boys and Brian Wilson about a year ago, and being only 20, knew nothing of smile and the legend, but when i heard about it, i figured this is an album i needed to hear. I loved 'Pet Sounds' and was looking for more of the same. So i got 'Smile' and my first thought was, 'what the hell is this?'. I was totally behind Mike Love's "Don't *mess* with the formula" attitude, the lyrics seemed crazy, the music wierd. I even thought for a second that it may have been better off not released. Since then i've read a lot about the brian and the beach boys, and it's helped to appreciate what an amazing spectacle this album is. I guess for me it's one of those albums that grows on you the more you hear it.
I'm sure that other reviewers can describe this album a lot better than i can, brian's voice is damaged, and you wonder what it would have sounded like released in '67, but his voice now just adds to the whole thing making it more special. Songs such as 'Our Prayer', 'Heroes and Villians', 'Cabin Essence' and 'Wonderful' are all beautiful, but then so are all the other tracks! My personal favourite parts are 'You are my sunshine' and the 'cantina' segment of Heroes and Villians'. Give this album a chance, and you'll see just how magical it is.
I've heard people say 'imagine what the world would be like if Germany won the 2nd world war' and how different things would be. I think to myself 'imagine how different music would be if 'Smile' had been released in '67'.