Tuesday, April 21, 2009

He Gives Speeches (SMiLE)

In 2004, I purchased the Brian Wilson presents SMiLE CD with absolutely no knowledge of the aborted original (above), but with a respect for Wilson, and familiarity with two of its most famous tracks - "Heroes and Villains" and "Good Vibrations".

Upon first listen, I thought it was crazy nonsense - a kind of off-off Broadway attempt at doing a serious "concept" album. A bit pretentious.

I kept listening for some reason. The songs bore their way into my head. I found myself humming "Surf's Up", "Wonderful", and "Wind Chimes" at all hours of the day. About 1000 plays later, I recognize it as a work of true genius.

I found myself seeking out the original SMiLE recordings. Even though the project was shelved, and some of the tracks were released as bastardized versions on subsequent Beach Boys albums (see Smiley Smile for examples) - most of SMiLE was recorded and ready to go.

One song, possibly intended for SMiLE (it was recorded during the original 1966 sessions, but not included on the 2004 Brian Wilson version) is "He Gives Speeches". Like "Vega-tables", it represents Brian in insanity mode.

Give it a listen, and see if it doesn't stick in your brain.

And for the truly daring, here is a reconstruction of the entire original album.