Picked up the Smile reissue today. I think I’ll be spending a lot of time with it. After having the Smiley Smile version, then Wilson’s own version from 2004 it’s good to finally hear the record how it was intended from back in 1967.
To say I underestimated Brian Wilson all these years is an understatement. I always thought of him as a lightweight, at least in comparison to The Beatles, The Kinks, and the like. But once I heard Pet Sounds Sessions back in 1997, then finding a copy of Smiley Smile in 1998 I knew I’d been so wrong. Brian Wilson is a f*&%$#g musical genius. Well, he was until LSD and magic mushrooms ate up his sanity like kids eat candy. But with a dad like Murray Wilson how could you not pickle your brain in a brine made of various acids and natural hallucinogenics? Regardless, Smile is one of the most beautiful, significant, and f*&$@d up pop classics in the history of 20th century music. Van Dykes Park adds just the right amount of literary heft to the whimsical and joyous music Wilson wrote. If I wasn’t on my third Porter I’d go into greater detail. Another day. For now, I’m just going to say I will be soaking my brain in “Surfs Up” for the time being.