Jesse Jarnow

one final smile…? (part II)

More observations about Tim Smolen’s Smile:

– The various sources enter at different points in the stereo image, popping in and out of the mix, and giving the recording an almost literal depth.

– Going with Brian’s original ending to “Good Vibrations” is probably okay, after all — though I still can’t stand the 2004 version in that regard. But, ultimately, it does no harm to the canonical civilian classic, and even suits the album well — not because the lyrics fit with Smile’s “concept” better (or worse), except that it’s Brian’s version. Given what Smile is, I can see how that would be meaningful, beyond any petty anti-Mike Love sentiments that might be lingering in our favorite vegetable.

That and hearing the 20something Brian croon the lyrics as opposed to the 50something Brian really underscores the song’s context as a dopey-love sequel to Pet Sounds (and everything else in the Beach Boys’ catalogue, for that matter).

– There are still a few things I’d edit. Some of those new lyrics sections could really use a snip — especially the out-of-character maritime jig affixed to the delightfully pastoral Americana backing track of “On a Holiday” (one of the most alluring bits of the initial Smile bootleg I got a few years ago). So that leaves the question: who’s gonna keep fucking with Smile? Are people gonna start making aesthetic choices about it? How far can you refine it?

‘kay, promise I’m done for now.

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