• Record Label: Nonesuch
  • Release Date: Sep 28, 2004

Universal acclaim - based on 29 Critic Reviews

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. Los Angeles Times
    "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. Against all expectations, Brian Wilson has achieved what should have been impossible, and has produced what may be the year's most thrilling album.
  5. The Wire
    The music has an originality that sounds remarkable even now. [#248, p.52]
  6. 100
    This is a brilliant record, just as it's always been.
  7. Uncut
    A unique and unlikely moment of retrieval, restoration and renaissance. [Nov 2004, p.98]
  8. Entertainment Weekly
    It's a gorgeous trip back to a time when anything seemed possible. [1 Oct 2004, p.73]
  9. Turns out those hypothetical comparisons to Sgt. Pepper's weren't so far off the mark.
  10. 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.
  11. Under The Radar
    Other than the fact that it came out a little late, there isn't a single thing wrong with it. [#8, p.113]
  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. 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.
  15. Filter
    One of the most inspiring and triumphant projects of the year, and perhaps the last 30 years. [#13, p.89]
  16. The end result is a great album, albeit one more lighthearted than its myth would suggest.
  17. Mojo
    There is a remarkable consistency about Smile's complex tapestry of delights. [Oct 2004, p.98]
  18. New Musical Express (NME)
    'Smile' stands up with any of the great music of the 20th century. [25 Sep 2004, p.63]
  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.
  24. Blender
    Despite Wilson's wrecked voice, it's surprisingly grand and moving. [Nov 2004, p.146]
  25. The most obvious aspect that takes away from Smile's luster however, is an uncomfortable sense that the album has morphed into a quaint piece of nostalgia rather than the masterwork it was expected to be.
  26. Q Magazine
    The real revelation of this new Smile is its melodic depth, even if lyricist Van Dyke Parks's oblique ruminations seem unnecessarily flowery. [Nov 2004, p.114]
  27. Despite the hype, it is hard not to be impressed with the new Smile.... The music flows beautifully - no mean feat when it encompasses barbershop singing, acid rock, early pop, Hawaiian chanting and mock-religious plainsong.
  28. Hearing the newly recorded album as a completed work instead of dismembered modules is a rollicking reassertion of Wilson's compositional genius.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 510 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 83 out of 510
  1. FeidoV
    Apr 12, 2010
    A great album.
  2. BrianE
    Mar 26, 2010
    Perfection in Sound
  3. AnthonyL
    Mar 26, 2010
    Best album ever.