SMiLE - Brian Wilson

Universal acclaim - based on 29 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 29 out of 29
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 29
  3. Negative: 0 out of 29
  1. 100
    This is a brilliant record, just as it's always been.
  2. Other than the fact that it came out a little late, there isn't a single thing wrong with it. [#8, p.113]
  3. "Smile" emerges as a beautiful and cohesive work, at times deeply moving, at others oddly whimsical, at still others eerily disturbing but celebratory. [27 Sep 2004]
  4. 100
    A unique and unlikely moment of retrieval, restoration and renaissance. [Nov 2004, p.98]
  5. It's looser and messier than Sgt. Pepper and, one suspects, always would have been. But its sui generis Americanism counterbalances its paucity of classic pop songs.
  6. Smile is quite simply the greatest triumph in the history of pop music.
  7. Smile's post-adolescent utopia isn't disfigured by Brian's thickened, soured 62-year-old voice. It's ennobled--the material limitations of its sunny artifice and pretentious tomfoolery acknowledged and joyfully engaged.
  8. It's a gorgeous trip back to a time when anything seemed possible. [1 Oct 2004, p.73]
  9. Against all expectations, Brian Wilson has achieved what should have been impossible, and has produced what may be the year's most thrilling album.
  10. 100
    The music has an originality that sounds remarkable even now. [#248, p.52]
  11. Turns out those hypothetical comparisons to Sgt. Pepper's weren't so far off the mark.
  12. SMiLE has arrived as incredible and ground-breaking a record as any of us could have hoped.
  13. While it may not be the ultimate symphonic confection nearly four decades of hyperbole have all but guaranteed, Smile is nonetheless an arresting, audacious, unabashedly whimsical slice of junk-drawer Americana and can-do pop craftsmanship.
  14. 95
    One of the most inspiring and triumphant projects of the year, and perhaps the last 30 years. [#13, p.89]
  15. The magic of the album lies in the way Wilson's complex, challenging sonic vision can evoke the optimism, hope, and wonder that gave birth to this album decades ago.
  16. 'Smile' stands up with any of the great music of the 20th century. [25 Sep 2004, p.63]
  17. The end result is a great album, albeit one more lighthearted than its myth would suggest.
  18. 90
    There is a remarkable consistency about Smile's complex tapestry of delights. [Oct 2004, p.98]
  19. Infectious and hummable, to be sure, and a remarkably unified, irresistible piece of pop music, but no musical watershed on par with Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band or Wilson's masterpiece, Pet Sounds.
  20. This is pop music like nothing before it, or since.
  21. The new Smile not only justifies its bearing, but also serves as a major triumph.
  22. Whatever it was supposed to achieve originally, right now SMiLE sounds like a beautifully modulated, funny, sometimes unintentional meditation on a failed United States and counterculture, and the lost paradise, real or imagined, of Southern California, and the collapse and reinvention of the male ego.
  23. While undeniably ambitious and moving in parts--with sunny harmonies and layered production--it also happens to be a little kitschy.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 434 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 63 out of 341
  1. FeidoV
    Apr 12, 2010
    A great album.
  2. BrianE
    Mar 26, 2010
    Perfection in Sound
  3. AnthonyL
    Mar 26, 2010
    Best album ever.