Jake wrote:The original stuff (and there's a lot of it -- several multi-disc bootleg compilations) was never properly finished. A lot of fans have spent a lot of time compiling their own versions from the original material that's been made available. The bonus disc on the Good Vibrations box contained a lot of it, and a lot of that stuff is great.
Whatever. I'd prefer to hear the album back when Wilson had a great voice. And I'd definitely prefer to hear the Wrecking Crew over the Wondermints as a backing band. And I'd prefer to hear the original, 1966 Beach Boys singing backing vocals too.
Your argument is the same one George Lucas uses to justify the fucked up new versions of the original Star Wars trilogy. And it's just wrong.
Jake, brutha, you run this wonderful website and therefore I don't like arguing with you, even when it's friendly (like now). But I must.
At the risk of sounding coy, there's a big difference between the new "Star Wars" and the new "SMiLE." And here it is: the new "Star Wars" is utter shit, a complete abomination of the original with no regard for taste or decency. The new "SMiLE," however, is completely awesome. Yes, that's subjective. But, as Christgau says, Brian Wilson sings this stuff with total commitment to material, treating it with the utmost reverence. You can hear it. The guy really means what he sings; it's not some good ol' nostagia show for him. And his voice is fine, even if he struggles with a few of the ridiculously high notes.
The Wrecking Crew may have been the greatest, but now the Wondermints are (as you kind of allude out in a future posting). Plus, it's not like the individual parts of the music are hard for any competent musician to pull off with the same style and grace.
But there's one reason, above all others, as to why this album is the "real" version of "SMiLE" that people should listen to: Brian Wilson released it. Unlike the original "Star Wars," the original "SMiLE" never came out.
In the spirit of friendly discourse,