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All afternoon I’ve been smiling. Brian Wilson finally completed his legendary album, Smile. All afternoon I listened over and over and over. Delightful!

The music world has been waiting almost 40 years for this album. Wilson started it in the 60s, but eventually abandoned the project. For years he wouldn’t even discuss it. But finally, this treasure has been completed and released. The story behind this long wait is worth reading.

Listening to the music stirred a range of emotions from laughter to tears. While I cannot fully explain the reasons for my response, I know that it brings to mind the hope and wonder of the 60s. I know some people think of the 60s as a time of rebellion and even consider a dark time when the cultural norms began to disintegrate. My sister and I have very different emotions.

We were young children in the 60s; she was born in 62 and I born in 64. The chaotic music, fashion, and energy of the 60s provided the background for our ealiest memories. The music of that era has a mythic quality for us, and I cannot help but hear with a sense of longing for innocence. So in some ways, my experience is completely reverse. I realize the darkness and light of that period cannot be confused with any true state of innocence, but it stirs something within me that longs for reality that is purer and truer than anything I’ve seen on this earth. I think all people sense this longing, but different things may trigger it. For me, one trigger is the jubilant harmonies of Brian Wilson.

“Smile” journeys across the mytho-poetic landscape of the American storyfrom the Pilgrims to the Wild West to the infamous Chicago fire to the beaches of southern California or Hawaii. What an wonder-filled journey!

Thanks Brian.

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  1. October 11, 2004 at 11:44 am

    Doug: I’ve been wondering about *Smile*. For so long it was the greatest rock album never released. It’s hard to believe it’s finally here. Yours is the first review I’ve read, and it makes me want to buy the album. Peace. Milton–>

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