Jake wrote: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.
I'm guessing that the re-recording had as much to do with Wilson not wanting to pay royalties/credit to the other Beach Boys and Capital Records as much as anything. Because if you listen to the bootlegs, the bulk of the material had been finished. They could have easily put it together with some additional overdubs and a few new transitional pieces of music. But this way, it's a "Brian Wilson" release, not a Beach Boys release.
There might be some weight to that theory. From what I understand, Brian licences the right to use the "Beach Boys" name to the other guys who continue to gig (perhaps irreparably tarnishing and diluting the trademark, but that's a different argument). But considering the acrimony the other guys (particularly Mike Love) put Brian through back in the day, I wouldn't be upset if this is Brian trying to reclaim ground that is rightly his. Frankly, the Wondermints deserve a bigger stake in the new release than Mike Love could ever justify for himself.
I too wish that I could buy a fully-assembled, fully-realized SMiLE by the '66 band and wonder in all its glory. But as has been mentioned here, such an LP does not exist. They could have resurrected the best of the old tapes and tied them together with new recordings, but then we'd be sitting here complaining about how some parts feel oddly disjointed. Plus in a way, it would be cheating the fans to present it as a new, complete work when it's a mishmash of old and new recordings. All things considered, I think they made the right choice in putting it out in 2004 the way they did.
In a perfect world, they could have stuck in a second disc of all the unfinished original bits. But I guess this would have led to many headaches (splitting up the publishing, different record companies, taking away from box set sales, etc).
The original "Good Vibrations" is one of my 5 favourite songs, so obviously the new recording has a ridiculously high standard to follow. That said, the new version on SMiLE is definitely the best 'cover' version I've ever heard, bar none. Just ask the people who passed me on the way home from work last night when I had the sunroof open, windows down, and tunes cranked to 11!