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5.0 out of 5 stars Quirky, intriguing, eclectic, monophonic compact and WONDERFUL, 2 April 2013
Freidun Taravosh (Sweden) - See all my reviews
This review is from: smiley smile LP (Vinyl)

One of those questions that will be posed concerning the Beach Boys recording output is that if emotive, atmospheric well calculate Brilliance tha was Pet Sounds, could it ever be topped? I decided some years ago that it's not worth wasting time on more collecting old 60's releases, I sold unsatisfying Best of Collections but kept a nice price edition of a Pet Sounds which I had actually grown to be very attached to, I was somewhat intrigued about Smiley Smile, had heard snippets of it, but never really prioritised in getting it UNTIL NOW when I ordered 'Party', `Pet Sounds' and 'Smiley Smile' on vinyl the same day.

They say Smiley Smile is not for everyone, does that have to mean it's bad? We will just have to see about that!

Actual Review
There is always these kind of discussion say Pet sound was more refined, it had an ethereal pop moment in God Only Knows, it was up close and personal, a departure from `surfin' and `Fun Fun Fun', and being majestic at that, it seemed beyond compare to other 60's releases. Especially as we turned to Brian Wilson passion for working in the studio, the famous pocket symphony arrangement and other things like it.

Smiley Smile is known for being a little bit of a mess, or the by-product from Brian's mental demise in being burned out - if there ever was an expression like that in the 60's.

But the beach boys all were troupers, they kept going and some of the even still does!

'Smiley Smile' to me was instantly intriguing, known for containing a lush Summer of Love anthem in 'Good Vibrations' one of the few Summer of Love anthems of the day that still leaves a deep impression after all these years. Why yet like "Daydream Believer" was never the lasting point of `Birds, Bees and the Monkees.' `Vibration' was never the highpoint of 'Smiley Smile' however good that track was on it's own.
Time to Demystify 'Smiley Smile'

There is a growing myth about `Smiley Smile' that it was just a madcap down right scary album that would never have been released if the group was not under pressure from the label. I always had the gut feeling it was just a nice LP - as it is. Okay so there are some unconventional ways of songs abruptly ending and how they succeed one another, tempo changes and so on, but is not as out there as some people would want you to believe.

In comparison: look at say what the Byrds created 1966-1968 such as The Lear Jet Song'(just incredible) `C.T.A 102', `Mind Gardens' or `Space Odyssey' if you will, these tracks are also out there and even more so than anything on `Smiley Smile', but the criticism of being disjointed or downright `scary' has only touched upon `Smiley Smile' but there is nothing wrong with it, it is only eclectic in nature and less polished than it's predecessor, the lead in melody to `Hereoes and Villians' reminds me some of Supergrass final recordings. Yet these melodic hooks are purely unique and right on.

As for the so called derailed madcap attitude:

The laughing stock wit in songs like She's Groing bald' is not far away from what Pete (Tork) was into prior to starting writing more, existential philosophical songs, and 'Vegetables' is not far off from the same approach Mothers of Intervention was into with `Absolutely Free 1967' and would develop further on `Uncle Meat 1969'.

Need I mention Syd Barrett era Floyd songs like `The Gnome' or `Jugband Blues' (see `Piper 1967' or `Soucerful 1968' if needed).

In the end I say: no real need for comparison end of story already!

Beach Boys took many a influences, presented them in a tongue in cheek eclectic manner, and there is nothing wrong in doing that.

A Different View

Flash forward to the 90's scene Supergrass got no heavy bum rap from stepping out of the ordinary on the two first LP's with songs like "We're not supposed to" (1995) and `Sometimes I Make You Sad' (1997). This was when the `Britpop' or `Retrorock' trend was `in'. if the said group then took cues from the initial experiments from the Monkees (67-70) why couldn't it be that Beach Boys similar exploits from the same era were just as good? More importantly:
What were critics as well as laymen expecting at the time - really? `Pet Sounds second edition (expanded)'?

Why can't reviewers and listeners just look at `Smiley Smile' for what it is - just a nice record - and if we must keep on on going about it being `an acquired taste', - and I'm not saying I agree to me it's spot on - But if we are to develop the idea of `Smiley Smile' being an acquired taste concept, can't the same really be said about Pet Sounds? That album for one really needs to grow on you, Smile Smile to me sound on the other hand sound laid back and effortless, chill out.

I mean try this: let it spin while taking a nap in the afternoon. I won't even go about name dropping stand out tracks, because you will only end up at Itunes music store or spotify for sneak previews and never move further quite like I did at first.

This album must be experience as the intriguing piece of vinyl it is - I have had it spinning the whole day, (mostly side one)

The Final Say

If you want a personal opinion This is the album that should replace your copy of sgt pepper for when the intial fascination of that said record has started to fade, as it will only gather dust from now on. `Smiley Smile' may not be considered as classic but is more worthy of your precious time.

I am not asking you to expect the unexpected for it is not that kind of record

What I however can say about Smiley Smile is that it is Quirky, intriguing, eclectic, monophonic compact and WONDERFUL, the songs are intriguing lyrically and musically

- it may not be a slice of `All Summer Long' all over again but it's all the better for it I think.
You might ask can Pet Sounds be topped, while the two albums may be said to be "beyond compare" My answer to the said album is "Why not?"
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Stereo Good Vibrations or not!, 18 Oct 2012
K. Holmes (Dorset UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Smiley Smile (Mono & Stereo) (Audio CD)
I must admit to cherry picking this new re-issue by downloading the stereo version of Good Vibration plus a few other tracks. But sadly I was most disappointed by this, the first official release of Good Vibrations in stereo. It sounded good but was barely in stereo and I much prefer the unofficial 'Unreleased stereo mix of 2nd version' that may be found on 'A Pocket Symphony - the making of Good Vibrations'
I would be interested in other views on this please.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars, 8 Aug 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Smiley Smile (Mono & Stereo) (Audio CD)
Stereo works well
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A bit of Smile, 16 Oct 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Smiley Smile (Audio CD)
This album came out as all the real fans know after the real Smile was shelved for so many years.Any album that includes Good Vibrations and Heroes and Villains must be reasonable and this one is. It has always suffered because it was obvious Smile was going to be something special and this is not that album.
Here we have different hastily put together songs and bits of songs and even different versions on this French import.
Fans over the years have been hard on Smiley Smile , I for one always enjoyed With me Tonight which is probably my favorite I also like Well your welcome to come both of these I think could and should have been on Smile, but for some reason were not added.Getting hungry is a departure and certainly hints at their next album Wild Honey. The bonus tracks make this a worth while addition to the die hard fans like me.
I wonder why the French album has a different cover ?
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Smiley Smile (Mono & Stereo)
Smiley Smile (Mono & Stereo) by The Beach Boys (Audio CD - 2012)
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