Van Dyke Parks

I’ve been commissioned to write a review of Inara George and Van Dyke Parks, and I’m pretty stoked.  This dude worked on Smile, which is one of my favorite albums of all time (and I own thousands).  Most people put Pet Sounds in that category, but in my opinion, while Pet Sounds was a pioneering album, its formula was retooled into better albums by the Zombies and Bee Gees (and to a lesser extent by Bowie, the Beatles, and virtually everybody else). 

But Smile, I mean, wow.  What wonders the world might have wrought if it had been released on time, before Sgt. Pepper and before the Beach Boys lost the head of steam they’d built with Pet Sounds.  While Pet Sounds is melancholy and lovely, Smile is transcendent, spiritual, American, orchestral, and utterly unique.  It’s accessible but wears well with each repeated listening, and Van Dyke Parks’ lyricism is a big part of what makes it so interesting.

Anyway, I have to stop writing, before I scoop myself!  But take a look at Van Dyke Parks waxing nostalgic about the Troubadour.  Doesn’t he talk like David Lynch?

P.S. I’m not talking about Brian Wilson’s SMiLE album that came out a couple years ago.  It’s really good, and I own the DVD and all that.  But it’s no more the “real” Smile than seeing a concert by Al Jardine and Friends is the same as seeing the Beach Boys.


Oklahoman by birth. Angeleno by fate. I've been in half a dozen bands and own 25 cubic feet of old records. Thank God for Ikea shelves.

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