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Author Topic: Microscope: The Beach Boys - Smile (The Smile Sessions version)  (Read 2128 times)

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Joost

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Microscope: The Beach Boys - Smile (The Smile Sessions version)
« on: November 03, 2011, 08:57:51 PM »

Our Prayer The best piece of evidence that The Beach Boys were and always will be the best vocal group in pop music. Without any instruments and with a lyric consisting of just oh's, ah's and hmm's, this is as heavenly as music will ever get.

Gee A short rendition of the 1953 doo-wop classic by The Crows, combined with an even shorter 'Heroes and Villains' prelude. I don't really see the point of this little fragment.

Heroes and Villains A pretty spectaculair psychedelic western adventure, and the "theme song" of the album. Despite consisting of no less than nine (!) different sections it's surprisingly catchy and accessible.

Do You Like Worms Possibly the weirdest song on the whole album. Combines lazy group vocals with Hawaiian chants, harpsichord and a ghostly 'Heroes and Villains' section that keeps returning.

I'm in Great Shape Another short fragment, clocking in at less than half a minute. No vocals were ever recorded, so a raw demo vocal was flown in. It sounds too rough and unnatural.

Barnyard A funny little song, also less than a minute long. Love the funny Donald Duck-voice in the animal sounds. Again, the raw demo vocal should have been left off.

The Old Master Painter Yet another very short and very strange piece of music. This is a mini-medley of a cello rendition of the evergreen 'The Old Master Painter', a very melancholic version of 'You Are My Sunshine' and yet another short 'Heroes and Villains' reprise. If you've got a conservative taste in music and not much tolerance for a bit of madness, you probably have stopped listening right about now.

Cabin Essence Finally another "real", full song. 'Cabin Essence' is one of the highlights of the album, pure genius. Consists of three very different sections: the very laid-back and peaceful 'Home on the Range' section (which has a great campfire-ish feel with the banjo, dobro and harmonica), the 'Who Ran the Iron Horse' section (which comes chugging by like a psychedelic steam locomotive) and the mysterious and dreamy 'Grand Coolie' tag. Listen closely to the second chorus for a remarkable surprise: you can hear Dennis Wilson softly sing an entirely different lyric throughout. This song features some of Van Dyke Parks's best lyrics ever. His words often seemed to make very little sense, but nobody can paint more magical atmospheres and mental images with words.

Wonderful Beautiful harpsichord-driven ballad with so many key changes that in theory, this song shouldn't work. But somehow it does. And how.

Look A very upbeat, bouncy tune that combines elements from both the preceding and the following track, making it more of a link between the two than a song in it's own right.

Child is Father of the Man A somewhat mysterious (and frustratringly incomplete) prelude to 'Surf's Up'. Also not much of a song in it's own right, but just like 'Look' it serves a purpose. 'Look' and 'Child...' link 'Wonderful' and 'Surf's Up', two of the greatest songs on the album, together by gradually "morphing" from one to the other. Together these four tracks form easily the most impressive part of the album.

Surf's Up 'God Only Knows' is the most beautiful song ever made by The Beach Boys (or really by anyone, for that matter), but the magical and majestic 'Surf's Up' comes pretty darn close. Probably Van Dyke Parks's very best lyrics. 'Surf's Up' was released in 1971 on the album with the same name, the version on 'The Smile Sessions' is different. Carl's 1971 lead vocal on the first section has been replaced, for historical reasons, by a 1966 demo vocal from Brian.

I Wanna Be Around/Workshop Another weird little medley, which for some reason links a piece of mellow lounge jazz with a hectic and noisy workshop sounds.

Vega-Tables A relatively sparse backing track, incredibly weird lyrics, raw vegetables being chewed for percussive effect, great and highly creative group vocals and overall an incredibly catchy tune.

Holidays One of the most bouncy and cheerful pieces on the album. The eerie vocal tag is a nice, unexpected touch.

Wind Chimes A strange yet breathtakingly beautiful ode to wind chimes, with Carl Wilson's breathy voice serving as the wind and the marimba as the melodic wind chimes.

The Elements: Fire A very dark and threatening sounding piece of music. Listen to this on high volume and you might understand why this song scared the sh*t out of it's own creator once it was finished.

Love to Say Dada After Brian managed to make a song sound like fire, he also made a song sound like water.

Good Vibrations An extended version of the classic #1 hit single, with an added section and some "new" overdubs. This might be like rewriting history, but since the added "hum de hum" section also appeared on Brian's 2004 version of 'Smile', it doesn't even sound all that unnatural.
« Last Edit: November 03, 2011, 09:02:02 PM by Joost »
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BeatlesForever

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Re: Microscope: The Beach Boys - Smile (The Smile Sessions version)
« Reply #1 on: November 03, 2011, 09:16:04 PM »

Our Prayer The best piece of evidence that The Beach Boys were and always will be the best vocal group in pop music. Without any instruments and with a lyric consisting of just oh's, ah's and hmm's, this is as heavenly as music will ever get.

Gee A short rendition of the 1953 doo-wop classic by The Crows, combined with an even shorter 'Heroes and Villains' prelude. I don't really see the point of this little fragment.

Heroes and Villains A pretty spectaculair psychedelic western adventure, and the "theme song" of the album. Despite consisting of no less than nine (!) different sections it's surprisingly catchy and accessible.

Do You Like Worms Possibly the weirdest song on the whole album. Combines lazy group vocals with Hawaiian chants, harpsichord and a ghostly 'Heroes and Villains' section that keeps returning.

I'm in Great Shape Another short fragment, clocking in at less than half a minute. No vocals were ever recorded, so a raw demo vocal was flown in. It sounds too rough and unnatural.

Barnyard A funny little song, also less than a minute long. Love the funny Donald Duck-voice in the animal sounds. Again, the raw demo vocal should have been left off.

The Old Master Painter Yet another very short and very strange piece of music. This is a mini-medley of a cello rendition of the evergreen 'The Old Master Painter', a very melancholic version of 'You Are My Sunshine' and yet another short 'Heroes and Villains' reprise. If you've got a conservative taste in music and not much tolerance for a bit of madness, you probably have stopped listening right about now.

Cabin Essence Finally another "real", full song. 'Cabin Essence' is one of the highlights of the album, pure genius. Consists of three very different sections: the very laid-back and peaceful 'Home on the Range' section (which has a great campfire-ish feel with the banjo, dobro and harmonica), the 'Who Ran the Iron Horse' section (which comes chugging by like a psychedelic steam locomotive) and the mysterious and dreamy 'Grand Coolie' tag. Listen closely to the second chorus for a remarkable surprise: you can hear Dennis Wilson softly sing an entirely different lyric throughout. This song features some of Van Dyke Parks's best lyrics ever. His words often seemed to make very little sense, but nobody can paint more magical atmospheres and mental images with words.

Wonderful Beautiful harpsichord-driven ballad with so many key changes that in theory, this song shouldn't work. But somehow it does. And how.

Look A very upbeat, bouncy tune that combines elements from both the preceding and the following track, making it more of a link between the two than a song in it's own right.

Child is Father of the Man A somewhat mysterious (and frustratringly incomplete) prelude to 'Surf's Up'. Also not much of a song in it's own right, but just like 'Look' it serves a purpose. 'Look' and 'Child...' link 'Wonderful' and 'Surf's Up', two of the greatest songs on the album, together by gradually "morphing" from one to the other. Together these four tracks form easily the most impressive part of the album.

Surf's Up 'God Only Knows' is the most beautiful song ever made by The Beach Boys (or really by anyone, for that matter), but the magical and majestic 'Surf's Up' comes pretty darn close. Probably Van Dyke Parks's very best lyrics. 'Surf's Up' was released in 1971 on the album with the same name, the version on 'The Smile Sessions' is different. Carl's 1971 lead vocal on the first section has been replaced, for historical reasons, by a 1966 demo vocal from Brian.

I Wanna Be Around/Workshop Another weird little medley, which for some reason links a piece of mellow lounge jazz with a hectic and noisy workshop sounds.

Vega-Tables A relatively sparse backing track, incredibly weird lyrics, raw vegetables being chewed for percussive effect, great and highly creative group vocals and overall an incredibly catchy tune.

Holidays One of the most bouncy and cheerful pieces on the album. The eerie vocal tag is a nice, unexpected touch.

Wind Chimes A strange yet breathtakingly beautiful ode to wind chimes, with Carl Wilson's breathy voice serving as the wind and the marimba as the melodic wind chimes.

The Elements: Fire A very dark and threatening sounding piece of music. Listen to this on high volume and you might understand why this song scared the sh*t out of it's own creator once it was finished.

Love to Say Dada After Brian managed to make a song sound like fire, he also made a song sound like water.

Good Vibrations An extended version of the classic #1 hit single, with an added section and some "new" overdubs. This might be like rewriting history, but since the added "hum de hum" section also appeared on Brian's 2004 version of 'Smile', it doesn't even sound all that unnatural.

Hi Joost! I love your analysis on the SMiLE sessions! You really break down each song to its foundation with every detail, you really make it easy for the diehard BEACH BOYS fan or just the occasional BEACH BOYS fan to understand. I promise you that I will be posting many views and opinions of the SMiLE boxset here on your thread. Take care Joost.     
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Hombre_de_ningun_lugar

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Re: Microscope: The Beach Boys - Smile (The Smile Sessions version)
« Reply #2 on: November 03, 2011, 09:36:04 PM »

I've listened to a few of those songs. I know I should listen to the whole record if just for historical relevance. I'll look for it soon.
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BeatlesForever

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Re: Microscope: The Beach Boys - Smile (The Smile Sessions version)
« Reply #3 on: November 03, 2011, 10:14:24 PM »

I've listened to a few of those songs. I know I should listen to the whole record if just for historical relevance. I'll look for it soon.

Being the music fanatic that you are, you really owe it to yourself in owning a piece of Rock n' Roll history. I feel confident that you will be listening to the whole album soon. Take care my friend.
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tkitna

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Re: Microscope: The Beach Boys - Smile (The Smile Sessions version)
« Reply #4 on: November 04, 2011, 12:39:19 AM »

I just put this album away last week after a pretty long strecth in the trucks CD player. Good stuff as usual.

You guys are killing me. I cant keep up.  ha2ha

BeatlesForever

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Re: Microscope: The Beach Boys - Smile (The Smile Sessions version)
« Reply #5 on: November 04, 2011, 01:37:07 AM »

How's it going BEACH BOYS fans! I just listened to CD 5 of the SMiLE Sessions Boxset. CD 5 contains just some of the many "Good Vibrations" Sessions. Listening to all of these sessions (Numerous takes), I am truly convinced that Brian wanted to create an extended longer version of "Good Vibrations" than the one we are all accustomed to listening to. I own the only known SMiLE bootleg that contains a 15 minute long version of "Good Vibrations." In my opinion, there is a good possibility that this is the long version that Brian was working on. Proof of this is on CD 5, tracks 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 15, 17, 18, 20, 21 (This track contains many of the other tracks together) and 23. All of the mentioned tracks are sole elements, put them all together and you have the 15 minute version of "Good Vibrations." I was hoping that the SMiLE boxset would contain the 15 minute version, it sounds incredible together. What do you think Joost? Take care. 
« Last Edit: November 04, 2011, 01:41:56 AM by BeatlesForever »
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Ovi

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Re: Microscope: The Beach Boys - Smile (The Smile Sessions version)
« Reply #6 on: November 12, 2011, 10:04:03 AM »

I've listened to "Smile" a lot lately, well just the first CD, and I think it's pretty good. I have to admit it, I don't know why, but I was expecting it to be much better. Well, to be honest, I thought I'd like it more than "Pet Sounds", but I know I was being too demanding. It's great though, weird and special in it's own way and just like Brian himself said "This stuff doesn't have to be perfect, it's just gotta be kinda honest and live".

I think that Brian's 2004 "Smile" is way better produced. I am aware of the fact that it was re-recorded, but I think it flows better. For example, what happened to the "Gee" - "Heroes and Villains" transition on the 2011 Smile? Wasn't the first one supposed to fade into the second? There is a little break between the two, about a second of silence, which is really not THAT important, but it somehow damages the magic of it.

I'm in Great Shape Another short fragment, clocking in at less than half a minute. No vocals were ever recorded, so a raw demo vocal was flown in. It sounds too rough and unnatural.
Barnyard A funny little song, also less than a minute long. Love the funny Donald Duck-voice in the animal sounds. Again, the raw demo vocal should have been left off.

I agree with you there. I'm no musician by any means, but couldn't they've done a better job? You can barely hear any vocals on the first one.

However, the album is good, and it's probably my fault for having such high expectations. I like the new "Surf's Up" and "Good Vibrations". All the songs are pretty good, just as Joost said, "Vegetables" is incredibly catchy, "Do You Like Worms?" is mysterious and weird, but it works wonderful there, "Fire" is probably one of the most interesting songs every created along with its myth, "Cabin Essence" is incredibly beautiful and "Holidays" may just be my favourite instrumental here.
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Ovi

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Re: Microscope: The Beach Boys - Smile (The Smile Sessions version)
« Reply #7 on: November 12, 2011, 10:12:10 AM »


Love to Say Dada After Brian managed to make a song sound like fire, he also made a song sound like water.


Is that an "Our Prayer" reprise right at the end of it?
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BeatlesForever

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Re: Microscope: The Beach Boys - Smile (The Smile Sessions version)
« Reply #8 on: November 12, 2011, 10:25:32 AM »

I've listened to "Smile" a lot lately, well just the first CD, and I think it's pretty good. I have to admit it, I don't know why, but I was expecting it to be much better. Well, to be honest, I thought I'd like it more than "Pet Sounds", but I know I was being too demanding. It's great though, weird and special in it's own way and just like Brian himself said "This stuff doesn't have to be perfect, it's just gotta be kinda honest and live".

I think that Brian's 2004 "Smile" is way better produced. I am aware of the fact that it was re-recorded, but I think it flows better. For example, what happened to the "Gee" - "Heroes and Villains" transition on the 2011 Smile? Wasn't the first one supposed to fade into the second? There is a little break between the two, about a second of silence, which is really not THAT important, but it somehow damages the magic of it.

I agree with you there. I'm no musician by any means, but couldn't they've done a better job? You can barely hear any vocals on the first one.

However, the album is good, and it's probably my fault for having such high expectations. I like the new "Surf's Up" and "Good Vibrations". All the songs are pretty good, just as Joost said, "Vegetables" is incredibly catchy, "Do You Like Worms?" is mysterious and weird, but it works wonderful there, "Fire" is probably one of the most interesting songs every created along with its myth, "Cabin Essence" is incredibly beautiful and "Holidays" may just be my favourite instrumental here.

Hi 5th Beatle! How are you? Its definitely not your fault for having high expectations, the SMiLE legend has been building throughout Rock n' Roll history for so many years that people automatically anticipate that SMiLE is this great lost masterpiece with great sounding experimental music (Which it is). Prior to SMiLE being released, SMiLE would forever hold the world titlle as being THE MOST FAMOUS UNRELEASED ALBUM IN ROCK N' ROLL HISTORY! When you listen to SMiLE now, many people may feel that it doesn't sound that great. The reason for this is because the music technology of today has exceeded the advanced technology that was available in 1966-67. What music fans need to realize is that the original SMiLE, with all of its breakthrough experimental sounds, was recorded back in 1966-67 when there was no technology. In reality, SMiLE was very far ahead of its time, I'm just wondering if it's too late for SMiLE to get the recognition that it truly deserves after all of these years. Take care.   
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BeatlesForever

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Re: Microscope: The Beach Boys - Smile (The Smile Sessions version)
« Reply #9 on: November 12, 2011, 10:29:01 AM »

Is that an "Our Prayer" reprise right at the end of it?

Yes it is!
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Joost

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Re: Microscope: The Beach Boys - Smile (The Smile Sessions version)
« Reply #10 on: November 12, 2011, 11:21:19 PM »

Well, to be honest, I thought I'd like it more than "Pet Sounds", but I know I was being too demanding.
I agree that it's not better than 'Pet Sounds'. 'Smile' is more complex, adventurous, creative and diverse, but overall, 'Pet Sounds' just has more beautiful music.

I think that Brian's 2004 "Smile" is way better produced.
Which is only logical. Brian's 2004 'Smile' is a finished product, while the "new" 'Smile' had to be stitched together with the material that was available, and that material was often incomplete. It would be great if Brian still had his voice from 1966/1967 and if Carl and Dennis would still be alive so that they could send them back into the studio to finish the thing, but unfortionately that just can't be done.

There is a little break between the two, about a second of silence, which is really not THAT important, but it somehow damages the magic of it.
I agree.

I agree with you there. I'm no musician by any means, but couldn't they've done a better job? You can barely hear any vocals on the first one.
Just like on The Beatles' 'Real Love', they had to work with a one take demo with vocals and piano. The piano couldn't be erased. So if they would have mixed the vocals up higher, the piano from the demo would've gone up too.
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Ollier

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Re: Microscope: The Beach Boys - Smile (The Smile Sessions version)
« Reply #11 on: November 12, 2011, 11:45:24 PM »

Only heard Brian's take on this with his touring group from a few years back. That one knocked me away. So is this the Beach Boys version?
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BeatlesForever

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Re: Microscope: The Beach Boys - Smile (The Smile Sessions version)
« Reply #12 on: November 13, 2011, 08:17:38 PM »

Hi BEACH BOYS fans! I love "Surf's Up," here it is.

The Beach Boys - Surf's Up
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BeatlesForever

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Re: Microscope: The Beach Boys - Smile (The Smile Sessions version)
« Reply #13 on: November 14, 2011, 10:11:10 PM »

Here's one from the SMiLE Sessions Boxset, enjoy!

Look (Song for Children) - The Beach Boys (The SMiLE Sessions [Disc 1]).wmv
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BeatlesForever

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Re: Microscope: The Beach Boys - Smile (The Smile Sessions version)
« Reply #14 on: November 14, 2011, 10:14:00 PM »

Here's one more from the 1966-67 SMiLE Sessions Boxset, enjoy!

Child is Father of the Man, The Beach Boys SMiLE 1966 new!
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BeatlesForever

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Re: Microscope: The Beach Boys - Smile (The Smile Sessions version)
« Reply #15 on: November 16, 2011, 09:28:14 PM »

Here's one more from the SMiLE SESSIONS Boxset, enjoy!

Wind Chimes- 1080p The SMiLE Sessions Version
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