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Brian Wilson: "Smile"

A lot of knowledgable music nerds will tell you that the Beach Boys are the greatest pop group of all time, bar none.

Most of you might know the Beach Boys from their simpler summertime songs. Later in their career, they veered into pretty eccentric territory as Brian Wilson slowly had a mental breakdown and began writing more and more complex music. Certainly, in terms of their layered harmonies and complex compositions they did surpass anybody else out there. Pop music for music nerds, indeed.

Brian Wilson's "Smile" is bizarre in the sense that it's an album started in 1967, abandoned for well over thirty years, and completed in 2004. Conventional wisdom tells us that this album definitely ought to not be very good at all, but it defies all expectations and turns out to be very good indeed. This is definitely music for music nerds; it's pop music in the loosest sense of the word but its complexity is closer to something you'd find in the classical world. It's a dense lump of queasy, wistful happiness- summertime music for a rainy day. And it's fun to listen to.

Here is a link to Pitchfork's review of Smile if you want another opinion, and here's a link to Amazon if you want to buy the album.

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