- Audio CD (17 Jun. 2002)
- Number of Discs: 1
- Label: Mercury Records Ltd (London)
- ASIN: B000068FXS
- Other Editions: Audio CD | Audio Cassette | MP3 Download
- Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 432,184 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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As the title suggests, Smile shows the Jayhawks in a sunnier mood than on its emotionally exhausting predecessor Sound of Lies. That first album, following the departure of cofounder Mark Olson, revealed Gary Louris and co to be in a pensive, turbulent frame of mind; but on this self-assured follow-up the band adopt a more radio-friendly AOR sound. Frontman Louris has matured as a singer-songwriter, his subtle, bittersweet lyrics and poignant harmonies recalling Lennon and McCartney transplanted to the American Midwest. If "What Led Me to This Town" or "Better Days" fondly look back to the Jayhawks of old, "I'm Gonna Make You Love Me" (the obvious single), "Break in the Clouds" and the title-track stand out as superb pop compositions, regardless of genre. With the encouragement of veteran producer Bob Ezrin and major label backing, the band lavished meticulous craftsmanship on every song, making this their most highly polished work. Indeed, it proved to be too polished for some alt-country purists, a criticism implicitly acknowledged by the more rootsy feel of 2003's Rainy Day Music. --Mark Walker
Top Customer Reviews
As a new fan, you'd better buy "Rainy day" or "sound of lies", which are somewhat more accessible. For the iniated, a good buy.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
I was never able to convince my wife--she was not fond of the group's vocals, terming them "harsh", an uncharitable but sometimes accurate description. But we caught their act live here in Louisville two nights ago, and they simply destroyed us. Blew us both away.
These guys are top-flight, first-rate musicians, with command of the stage and of their craft. Their performance was heavy with "Smile" songs, not surprisingly, and they had the audience in their hip pocket from the first bar to the last encore. Simply put, the best live band I have ever seen of any size in any venue. And they warmed my heart by finishing with a slightly edgier and brighter rendition of "Blue"--but I still was dabbing my eyes.
"Smile", which we bought after the performance, has taken the 3rd slot in our multi-disc changer, and we hope to have de-pixelated it in a few days. We simply cannot get these guys out of our heads--and you won't, either, if you love heartfelt, beautifully realized music from the soul and the gut. These guys are a must for any music lover of any genre, and "Smile" is a worthy addition to their catalogue.
BTW, I like the more bare-boned sound of their earlier CDs however I think the followup, 'Rainy Days Music' is way off the mark.
This is the best Jayhawks CD.