• Record Label: Nonesuch
  • Release Date: Sep 28, 2004
User Score
8.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 439 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 73 out of 439

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  1. dickj
    Oct 5, 2004
    0
    Ambitious, banal, silly, over-produced, schlocky, depressing, sappy, 37 years too late and egotistic
  2. DuncanL.
    Jan 2, 2010
    3
    The great thing about this being the best rated album by the music critics is that it shows very clearly just how superficial and sheep like those critics actually are. This is no more than a piece of fluff good for a couple of spins and then put away at the back of the cupboard with that Nirvana record. But hey there are plenty of other sheep who agree with them so they must be right.
  3. erikb
    May 7, 2007
    3
    one of those albums that you'll force yourself to hear all the way through because you "should," and then realize it is totally impossible to listen to. Can't really say I enjoyed this one at all, which is tough to admit given all the hype. Maybe I don't "get it" but I think the emperor's new clothes comment got it right.
  4. DaveN
    Aug 5, 2005
    3
    Who would have thought that the band Brian really wanted to play in was the Moody Blues?
  5. MattM
    Nov 7, 2004
    3
    Pretty freakin' boring. The only really good songs are the ones we've heard before: "Good Vibrations" and "Heroes and Villains."
  6. brianwilson
    Oct 2, 2004
    1
    It sucks, overrated piece of trash.
  7. BigStuart
    Oct 9, 2004
    0
    It has *sheep sounds* in it! god sake! and his voice is incredibly annoying! this sucks so very very bad.
  8. DustinB
    Oct 26, 2005
    2
    I feel like I'm taking crazy pills! I can only imagine that fans of Wilson's past work must remain enamored, because the songs Heroes and Villians, Wind Chimes, and of course, Good Vibrations, save this album from being entire awful. Listen to songs Barnyard and Vega-tables to realize that Brian Wilson has nothing interesting left to sing about. Actually, don't listen to I feel like I'm taking crazy pills! I can only imagine that fans of Wilson's past work must remain enamored, because the songs Heroes and Villians, Wind Chimes, and of course, Good Vibrations, save this album from being entire awful. Listen to songs Barnyard and Vega-tables to realize that Brian Wilson has nothing interesting left to sing about. Actually, don't listen to them, just take my word for it and skip this album entirely. Expand
  9. JohnD
    Jan 7, 2005
    0
    Just awful.
  10. harrypotter
    Oct 9, 2005
    1
    Opt for the Beach Boys originals instead. This is the sound of some demented old geezer trying to relive his glory days while equally demented old critics and musos oddly lap it all up. The emperors new clothes springs to mind. Waste of time. Complete and utter.
  11. AndyMcD
    Jul 5, 2005
    2
    Ummmmm... We get it Brian, you like singing "doo wop." Just because this was acceptable in the 60's, doesn't make it so now. Pretty darn overrated.
  12. ScottY
    Jul 9, 2005
    1
    I don't get the high ratings this one receives. The music just seems like a slightly updated version of the stuff the Beach Boys were doing in the 1960s. What's so great about this album these days?
  13. ElMo
    Aug 1, 2005
    0
    This Supposed Masterpiece, is the worst music i have ever listened to, that's why it was never released and should have stayed that way. If Brian wilson had stayed with Mike Love and produced the album, the result would have been a lot different, and maybe i would have like it, but no! I think this album was only bought because Brian Wilson's name was on it. And a hell of a lot This Supposed Masterpiece, is the worst music i have ever listened to, that's why it was never released and should have stayed that way. If Brian wilson had stayed with Mike Love and produced the album, the result would have been a lot different, and maybe i would have like it, but no! I think this album was only bought because Brian Wilson's name was on it. And a hell of a lot of people are being polite. Expand
  14. WilliamT
    Sep 23, 2005
    1
    first they told me Revenge Of The Sith had redeemed George Lucas. Heck many critics said it was even better than Star Wars. Then I hear Smile scores 97 on the metatcritic score so I goes out and buy it. "It's impossible for words to describe what is necesassary, for those who do not know what... horror...means"
  15. DanS
    Jan 12, 2006
    0
    Holy shit this album sucks. Its the #1 album on metacritic of all time? Ive lost all faith in critics and user ratings for life, with the exception of the few of you who trashed this piece, youve all lost your minds, much like Wilson. If you bought this album i feel sorry for you.
  16. DrewM
    Mar 18, 2006
    0
    Oh my God. This album is absolutely fucking horrible. Anybody who rated it high needs a good smack. Really. Get a life, people.
  17. [Anonymous]
    Mar 6, 2006
    1
    pretty poor stuff if we're honest with ourselves
  18. chipdIII
    Oct 13, 2004
    2
    Why did it take 37 years before it came out Brian? "Because it's mostly utter cock and it took me to completely lose my mind before I gave in to my money loving bastard label. ha ha ha wibble." This should have a really remained a myth.
  19. David
    Dec 16, 2004
    2
    No No No No!
  20. Bruce
    Oct 27, 2004
    2
    You can take a pile of horse manure, mould it into the shape of the Statue of David and people will call it art, simply because that's what they are supposed to say. Of course in reality, it's really just a pile of shit. I'm sure Brian Wilson is "smiling" all the way to the bank !
  21. mattf
    Oct 27, 2005
    3
    I just don't get it and I've listened to the album many times. Best album of 2004. No way!
  22. Keith
    Oct 28, 2005
    1
    Utter sonic drivel, bought this for a friend, feelin' a tad guilty....must think i hate em.
  23. reyn
    Oct 3, 2005
    0
    Worst CD. Ever.
  24. Rev.Rikard
    Oct 5, 2005
    1
    I tried! I really did! This may be the most overrated album ever. No song touched or moved me; and it has become one of the few albums in my collections that is probably permanently shelved. Sorry Brian, but the years of sabbatical did little to make this work inspiring.
  25. Dave
    Apr 12, 2005
    2
    I kepy checking the date of these reviews, in case it was April 1st. Then I thought it might like the Hasselhof reviews on Amazon, just a whole lot of effusive hilarious praise for a total turkey. Right now, I am bewildered because this album is so .. banal, uninteresting, lame, mediocre. Utter shite. Brian Wilson's voice is aweful and the soprano chorus thing in the back is I kepy checking the date of these reviews, in case it was April 1st. Then I thought it might like the Hasselhof reviews on Amazon, just a whole lot of effusive hilarious praise for a total turkey. Right now, I am bewildered because this album is so .. banal, uninteresting, lame, mediocre. Utter shite. Brian Wilson's voice is aweful and the soprano chorus thing in the back is irritating. Can I trust any other reviews on this site now?? Expand
  26. TboneM
    Jun 29, 2005
    2
    Most. Overrated. Ever.
  27. Waldo
    Sep 11, 2005
    0
    Horrific. And irritating. There's a reason that it took 37 years to get this material out--it ought to have remained in the dustbin.
  28. PeterFrampton
    Sep 11, 2005
    1
    Sounds rather like a lost, misguided composition clobbered together by the Moody Blues, George Michael, and a drunken aardvark. The drunken aardvark is the best, too. Save your money.
  29. Jackhammer
    Sep 11, 2005
    0
    Wilson's voice is shot. He sounds like Neal Young with pneumonia--and is freuqently garbled. Easily the most grating album, as well as most overrated, on the market.
  30. BrianS
    Apr 9, 2006
    2
    Bought this album based on Metacritic review - deeply dissapointed
  31. JacobQ
    Nov 16, 2005
    3
    Those demons in ol Brians head should have stayed there and not recorded on cd. I'm putting this "gem" on ebay...
  32. NoobyF
    Jan 22, 2006
    1
    Brian Wilson is ancient OKAY! Get it through your head. I thought the album was so thoroughly boring, as his other stuff was. So I'm one hundred percent behind you, Dan S. It's terrible.
  33. NickW
    Mar 22, 2006
    0
    I agree with Drew M
  34. JakeM
    Nov 21, 2004
    1
    These songs are stupid and I cannot comprehend this albums critical acclaim. This guys brain is obviously fried. His songs aren't about anything at all and they all sound the same. The choruses are terrible. I HATE it. Come back Beach Boys!! How could this even be compared to Pet Sounds!!!!!!!!
  35. MackG.
    Nov 26, 2004
    1
    In the befuddled audio universe of Smile, there?s not a lot of fun fun fun to be had. The parking lot is empty, the beach is deserted, and despite what Brian Wilson tells you, the surf is definitely not up. Listening to Smile, the most famous unreleased album of all time, it?s clear that the tide is out, which would explain why the songs smell a bit like dead fish. For the uninitiated, a In the befuddled audio universe of Smile, there?s not a lot of fun fun fun to be had. The parking lot is empty, the beach is deserted, and despite what Brian Wilson tells you, the surf is definitely not up. Listening to Smile, the most famous unreleased album of all time, it?s clear that the tide is out, which would explain why the songs smell a bit like dead fish. For the uninitiated, a little history. In 1966, Brian Wilson, creative core of the Beach Boys, decided that he was going to record the greatest rock record of all time, outdoing not only the Boys? previous album and psychedelic pop cornerstone Pet Sounds, but The Beatles themselves. Brian Wilson was on a mission from god. But after 85 recording sessions and almost as many nervous breakdowns, Smile turned to Frown, and Wilson called it quits. The record was never officially released, although bootlegs have appeared over the years, and numerous songs have seeped out on other Beach Boys albums. Now, after years of referring to the incomplete creation as if it deserved the dread-filling, unspoken reverence of Lord Voldemort, Wilson?s gone off and rerecorded the whole shebang. Released last September, Smile received the kind of hyperbolic critical praise usually reserved for Sgt. Pepper and tinny British hip hop. After a few months of listening, I can conclusively say that Smile, in the words of Beavis and Butthead, sucks. Think of it this way. The Beach Boys song ?Shut Down? chronicled the street-racing antics of two high school hoodlums. Yes, they might have been burning rubber on some nameless Orange County street, but at least they were going somewhere. The biggest issue with Smile is that it goes nowhere. It sputters and coughs and makes a lot of noise, but it?s just spinning its wheels. Wilson?s songwriting is mostly to blame. There?s a pervading classical influence in the form of songs consisting of loosely glued-together snippets that Wilson called ?feels.? Rock and roll this ain?t. These ?feels? signal a basic misunderstanding of classical structure, but hey, it?s Brian Wilson ? who?s going to argue with him? This self-consciously ?innovative? compositional technique would work if all of the bits and pieces added up to a cohesive whole. But they don?t. What we get are transitions to transitions to transitions, without much variety in musical texture, until closing track ?Good Vibrations,? which is by far the most traditional number on here. The cut and paste songwriting works exactly twice on Smile, and both times it?s on songs that have already been officially released. ?Heroes and Villains? is well-crafted and works in the way that ?Bohemian Rhapsody? worked. ?Surf?s Up,? meanwhile, sounds as if it?s supposed to be some kind of grand musical statement, what with misty-eyed sighs of ?bygone, bygone? and lots of chime-sounding things. Apparently this musical statement involves inanimate objects playing chess, but that can be pardoned as the music works fairly well. In reality, it?s not too far off from ?Rose?s Turn? from Gypsy. Like I said, this isn?t rock and roll. I might be able to excuse Wilson?s frequent musical plummets down the staircase and listen to Smile as a failed experiment, but help me Rhonda, the lyrics, written by Van Dyke Parks, are unforgivable. To call them incoherent would be an insult to sufferers of Tourette?s syndrome. I?m not kidding around. The chorus of ?Surf?s Up? is ?Columnated ruins domino.? I rest my case. And I haven?t even mentioned the embarrassing rewrite of ?Good Vibrations.? I?m not saying that an artist shouldn?t be allowed to evolve. Quite the contrary. ?Pet Sounds? was 180 degrees removed from the classic Beach Boys sound, and it?s one of the best artifacts of the 60s, although it hasn?t aged especially well. What I?m saying is that an artist shouldn?t be allowed to release a musical roll of toilet paper (albeit, in this case, very fancy, possibly silken toilet paper) and get the best reviews of the year. That would do more to kill art, and more importantly, rock and roll, than Smile alone ever could. Had the record been released in the 60s, it would have been remembered as Pet Sounds? overly hyped, kitschy sister-album on which Wilson, in an attempt to create ?a teenage symphony to god,? took his self-indulgence to idiotic extremes. If that doesn?t convince you, then hear this. Which do you like better, Smile?s ?Cabin Essence? or the old time ?Surfin? Safari?? I guess you?ll always have your Smile people and your ?Fun Fun Fun? people, but let?s face it ? over-serious, over-orchestrated vanity-pop will never have the same musical impact or the same teenage truths of a song as gloriously moronic as ?Little Deuce Coupe.? That, and the people who think Smile is a modern rock cornerstone are probably the kind of folks who say that The Beatles started out as a boy band and that Jim Morrison was a great poet. In Brian Wilson?s own words, buddy, I just shut you down. Expand
  36. GiovanniO
    Aug 17, 2006
    2
    Why are most reviewers giving this album a 10? When you rate an album do you consider overall enjoyability for adults that did not grow up in the 60's? As an open minded individual I can appreciate any music regardless of age or type, but as a reviewer I could not give a 10 to an album based on its history or lenght of creation. Rome was not built in a day but it fell in one...
  37. danielb
    May 3, 2007
    1
    What a disappointment! All time highest score in Metacritic? Now I get it, Rock "critics" only give value to their own nostalgia and deep in their hearts they despise any music created after 1969. This album is not bad in the same way that some elevator songs are acceptable and even catchy. I don't care about the lyrics, the music in Smile is plain boring and no grandstanding about What a disappointment! All time highest score in Metacritic? Now I get it, Rock "critics" only give value to their own nostalgia and deep in their hearts they despise any music created after 1969. This album is not bad in the same way that some elevator songs are acceptable and even catchy. I don't care about the lyrics, the music in Smile is plain boring and no grandstanding about now genius Pet Sounds was will convince me of the contrary. Let me say it again: the music is utterly boring. It is the same annoying high pitched whining for 40 minutes. Can Rock critics talk about the music of the albums they review for once? If I wanted Expand
  38. DanD
    Feb 13, 2010
    1
    It sounded like Brian Wilson threw mud at the wall while high on drugs through this entire album until "Good Vibrations" magically appeared. Frankly it was the only track where the mad combination of his doo-wops and strings and novelty sounds worked together. I'm sorry, but even a monkey could type the Iliad if he tried enough times.
  39. engelbertcockswallower
    Oct 10, 2004
    0
    gee this suxx!! get sum papa roach doodes!!
  40. AH
    Nov 20, 2006
    2
    Credit must be given to the level of creativity and variety on this album. In saying that however, variety without purpose and cohesion can be a bad thing and this album, after about Track 11, becomes really tiresome. Track 12 Vega-tables is just a montage of goofy sounds and nonsense.
  41. NathanG
    May 6, 2006
    1
    The Emporer Has No Clothes
  42. EricY
    Jun 17, 2006
    0
    why critics always against the good musics, this is the E era, young peoples are the main consumer of the music industry!!
  43. JasonF
    Jan 10, 2007
    1
    Complicated? Yes. Good? Helllll no. One of the worst albums I've ever heard. I really wanted to like it too.
  44. ClifC.
    Jun 22, 2008
    1
    Is this a joke?! It's not because he's from The Beach Boys band and that he produces music that were good for 60's and 70's that this album deserves 97 of 100 in average of all music critics. It's a shame! This album has nothing to do in the 2000's (I really love 60's and 70's music too, but keep in mind that this album is old-fashioned and with no Is this a joke?! It's not because he's from The Beach Boys band and that he produces music that were good for 60's and 70's that this album deserves 97 of 100 in average of all music critics. It's a shame! This album has nothing to do in the 2000's (I really love 60's and 70's music too, but keep in mind that this album is old-fashioned and with no interest! It's an "already heard". No originality, N-O-T-H-I-N-G!). Expand
  45. ButchAutomatic
    Aug 11, 2008
    2
    Ouch! Brian, like Paul McCartney, should relaize when it is time to sit back and enjoy their spoils. Guys - you did well - it's time to stop before you implode and totally ruin what could be fond memories for us. LEARN A NEW HOBBY!
  46. kaylix
    Aug 9, 2008
    2
    What is going on here? This wasn't as great as the reviewers claim. I could barely listen to the whole album. Based on the reviews I kept hoping there was something better in the next track. I gave up and deleted it from my music library.
  47. AncaM
    May 10, 2006
    2
    big disappointment! it's not the 60's or the 2000's, it's a very weird mixture that personally i don't understand and can't relate to it!
  48. MaxM.
    Dec 3, 2007
    0
    Who?
  49. JPublius
    Apr 15, 2007
    2
    Horrid. The updated lounge band production of this album is so far from the mid-60s Beach Boys magic as to be unrecognizable. The great myth of "Smile" is that it was somehow unfinished, as if Wilson were on the cusp of writing great new material that would link everything together when pressure from his bandmates and label forced him to stop working on the record. This is ridiculous: Horrid. The updated lounge band production of this album is so far from the mid-60s Beach Boys magic as to be unrecognizable. The great myth of "Smile" is that it was somehow unfinished, as if Wilson were on the cusp of writing great new material that would link everything together when pressure from his bandmates and label forced him to stop working on the record. This is ridiculous: Smile was as finished as it was ever going to be, mostly due to its principal songwriter/producer having reduced himself to drug-addled mush. The Smile sessions were a story of diminishing returns, capped by endless studio tweakery at the end to produce the recording Wilson himself had promised Capitol by Jan 1967. The music was there--as numerous bootlegs and "rough mixes" conclusively prove. It wasn't the best pop album in history, and it was never going to be. But it was certainly far superior in every aspect to the mess the group released in its place, the career-killing disaster known as "Smiley Smile." It was also far superior to this slicked-up recording, with its mind-bogglingly awful version of Good Vibrations featuring lyrics not by Mike Love, which,given almost endless lawsuits that have marred the group's existence since the 60s, is probably the real reason why the original Smile never saw the light of day then, nor in the 80s, nor now. Sorry, Brian-worshippers. I just cannot get into a shallow re-recording of a famous lost album by a composer/singer long past his prime backed by studio musicians who just don't get it. The real Smile exists out there--it always has. You just have to look for it... Expand
  50. CarlesI.
    Sep 26, 2007
    0
    This is the best album of 10 years ago, please close this web.
  51. RoyceL
    Nov 2, 2008
    0
    This album does absolutely nothing for me.
  52. KenS.
    Mar 1, 2008
    1
    Were it not for "Good Vibrations", I would have given it a ZERO. What a disappointment. Pitiful.
  53. GavinF
    May 21, 2008
    2
    I downloaded this purely because of the high ranking it received on this site and I have to say I though it was dreadful. It's all bee-boop-a-doo-daa non sense. Good Vibrations being the only exception.
  54. nickc.
    Aug 25, 2008
    0
    it gets a zero because i felt duped by these experts. 97%?! how... did you listen to a version where brian wilson sounds good? i wanted to like this because this site has introduced me many a new group or singer. i KNOW who brian wilson is... and i was very disappointed after several listening sessions. i tried to like it... i think i even pretended to like it... then i just gave up. this it gets a zero because i felt duped by these experts. 97%?! how... did you listen to a version where brian wilson sounds good? i wanted to like this because this site has introduced me many a new group or singer. i KNOW who brian wilson is... and i was very disappointed after several listening sessions. i tried to like it... i think i even pretended to like it... then i just gave up. this doesn't deserve the critical praise its getting and is no where near Pet Sounds or even those trying to emulate the feel. Expand
  55. JohnE.
    Nov 1, 2009
    0
    The most outdated sounding, overly cheesy, over the top, non subtle, non interesting, unappealing, uninspiring,wall of noise I have ever heard. I agree with Aaron S. the album will ultimately be forgotten along with the fake corporate hype. Who could possibly like this other than the easily brain washed? I listen to music pretty much all day long everyday, and I listen to every genera, The most outdated sounding, overly cheesy, over the top, non subtle, non interesting, unappealing, uninspiring,wall of noise I have ever heard. I agree with Aaron S. the album will ultimately be forgotten along with the fake corporate hype. Who could possibly like this other than the easily brain washed? I listen to music pretty much all day long everyday, and I listen to every genera, and i must say this is crap. I make better sounds come out of my ass after I eat huevos rancheros and give myself a coffee enema. Expand
  56. MIkeY
    Nov 20, 2009
    2
    I give it a 2 because there are only two real songs on the album. The two are excellent (Good Vibrations and Heroes and Villains). The rest does not make any sense.
  57. JohnC
    May 17, 2009
    0
    Now I understand why it has taken more than 30 years for it to be released. Because Brian knew it would go into the dustbin! I can't even believe some are comparing this to "Pet Sounds". And hey, folks, I'm 20 but that doesn't mean young people have no taste or worse, like I could read, that if we don't like it it's simply because we know nothing about music or Now I understand why it has taken more than 30 years for it to be released. Because Brian knew it would go into the dustbin! I can't even believe some are comparing this to "Pet Sounds". And hey, folks, I'm 20 but that doesn't mean young people have no taste or worse, like I could read, that if we don't like it it's simply because we know nothing about music or because we didn't receive a musical education. This album is made of random noises (and goddamn, I mean it, really!) put in various songs with an unlistenable voice. But Brian is the more intelligent between us: he knew that critics (who are absolute 60's music lovers) would love it simply because the music had an impact on them, an impact in people who wanted to change the world, because they wanted to change the History (and I would love to live those times too because of it). And guess what?! He was totally right! He succeeded!... But critics totally forgot what music is, and this is not music, only nostalgic noise for those who want to go back in time. Maybe Brian lost his mind, but here I see that the followers simply lost their objectivity. Expand
  58. radar
    Oct 13, 2005
    3
    It sounds cold and overproduced. Go for the originals, folks. This was done just as good before.
  59. JereW
    Jul 18, 2006
    0
    Brian Wilson's "Smile" is ridiculous. I laughed when I saw this score...
  60. BenC
    Apr 28, 2007
    3
    The original is incredible, this is mediocre at best. It has so many stops and starts in the middle of songs that it gets annoying. Tedious is the one word i would use to describe this new album
  61. CG
    Jan 23, 2008
    0
    Completely overrated, unless it is placed in the children's section. By the way, I still think "Pet Sounds" is as charming as ever. I would normally give this a 4 or so, but it seems my duty to help average out all of the Wilson worship. The only musical "genuis" more overrated is Frank Black and that whole Pixies mess.
  62. ConnorM
    Nov 4, 2009
    0
    Looking at the comments I think either nostalgia has taken this website by storm, or a company was hired to vote positively, comment positively, etc. this album on websites.
  63. DenisL
    Mar 17, 2009
    1
    Absolutely useless.
Metascore
97

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. Smile is quite simply the greatest triumph in the history of pop music.
  2. 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.
  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]