Brian Wilson – Smile: #390 of best 1,000 albums ever!

Brian Wilson - Smile

So why is Brian Wilson’s Smile on this best 1,000 albums ever thing?

There’s a well-documented history on how Smile came to be and its decades-long path to get released to the public. Therefore, I’m just going to focus on the music here.

There are very few things in life that produce in me a sense of awe, a sense of wonder, a heart-moving feeling of something. Maybe something greater than anything I can possibly understand.

“Our Prayer / Gee,” the first track on Smile, is one of those things. In layman’s terms, it’s just flipping gorgeous. And it directly conveys the musical genius that lurks in the oft-tormented creature by the name of Brian Wilson.

Here’s what I jotted down about “Our Prayer / Gee” during my initial research for this project:

“Our Prayer / Gee” is at once like hearing a wondrous choir and better than 99% of the songs I’ve ever heard. It’s astonishing and moving and wistful all at once.

John Bush at All Music does a great job of describing Smile as a whole: “…a jaunty epic of psychedelic Americana, a rambling and discursive, playful and affectionate series of song cycles. Infectious and hummable, to be sure, and a remarkably unified, irresistible piece of pop music.”

It is all of those things, and perhaps something more as well.

“Roll Plymouth Rock” is somehow throwback rock and roll and a melancholy carnival and peak Beach Boys rolled into one.

“On A Holiday” is like taking a tour through Brian Wilson’s mind on a journey to some happy, childlike, perfect, mythical, and ultimately unreachable place.

And “Heroes and Villains” is pure unadulterated musical magic.

Some stats & info about Brian Wilson’s Smile

  • What kind of musical stylings does this album represent? Pop Music, Rock Music, Indie Rock
  • Rolling Stone’s greatest 500 albums ranking – #399
  • All Music’s rating – 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • When was Smile released? 2004
  • My ranking, the one you’re reading right now – #390 out of 1,000

Brian Wilson’s Smile on Spotify

A lyrical snippet from Brian Wilson’s Smile that’s evocative of the album in some way, maybe

A pirate with a tune on a holiday. Ol’ lazy mister moon want a getaway. And isn’t that a moon for a milky way?

What does the “best 1,000 albums ever” mean and why are you doing this?

Yeah, I know it’s audacious, a little crazy (okay, maybe a lot cray cray), bordering on criminal nerdery.

But here’s what it’s NOT: a definitive list of the Greatest Albums of All-Time. This is 100% my own personal super biased, incredibly subjective review of what my top 1,000 albums are, ranked in painstaking order over the course of doing research for nearly a year, Rob from High Fidelity style. Find out more about why I embarked on a best 1,000 albums ever project.