So, I've been looking over their "Smile" album over and over and over again. From learning about it after getting "Pet Sounds", I was saddened to learn that "Smile" would never come out (Obviously it did, but hang on for that). However, I was enthralled when I learned Brian Wilson made it in 2004. And I love it; it is just amazing, from start to finish. Obviously, the original "Smile" would have been just as amazing. When "The Smile Sessions" came out, I learned that it was originally conceived as something Darker, but originally hearing "The Smile Sessions", I would say it was a bit cheerier in some places; the Saddening "Old Master Painter" is cheered up with the Western Style Bit at the end, and "Veggie-Tables" got one with a sort of Hawaiin Themed Tune as well. But then I started thinking; why were these things put there? How could "Smile" be dark? What about the songs that weren't included like "Three Blind Mice" and "Tune X"?
So, I started thinking, and thinking. And suddenly, I started getting this idea that "Smile" was indeed intended to be Dark, and that it actually had an additional Concept to it, lost when certain songs were stopped or removed.
Before I say what I the concept is, let me put the track listing on as what i think "Smile" would have really looked like:
2: Song For Children (I Ran)
3: Teeter Totter Love
4: Father Is The Child Of Man
5: With Me Tonight
6: He Gives Speeches/She's Going Bald
7: Our Prayer
8: My Only Sunshine
9: Love To Say Dada (In Blue Hawaii)
10: Roll Plymouth Rock
1: Tune X
2: I'm In Great Shape
4: Good Vibrations
6: (On A) Holiday
7: I Wanna Be Around/Workshop
8: Cabin Essence
1: Surf's Up
2: I Don't Know
4: Wind Chimes
5: Three Blind Mice
1: Mrs. O'Leary's Cow (The Elements)
2: You're Welcome
3: Heroes And Villains
So, where am I going with this kind of set list? How does this make "Smile" darker? Because all the more depressing songs are on one side instead of the other side? Nope, because this set list tells a story. A story of a Man, burdened by loss and rejection, who, with his childish sense of a world of only good and evil, ends up destroying an entire city.
So, let's tell the story: The Man (We'll call him Brian) is at the funeral for his dearly beloved wife who died of a terminal illness (Wonderful). While he's there, he recounts how they've been in love since their youth (Song For Children, Teeter Totter Love, Father Is The Child Of Man). He remembers their Honeymoon (With Me Tonight), and he remembers the dreaded day she got Cancer (She's Going Bald). At the Funeral, he prays that his wife find eternal peace and happiness in heaven, and he realizes he will never be happy again (Our Prayer, My Only Sunshine). But then he remembers a dream he had that he never got to achieve when he was married; he always wanted to go live in Hawaii (Love To Say Dada). So, Brian boards a ship and sets sail to Hawaii, leaving behind everything, including his dead wife (Roll Plymouth Rock).
He arrives in Hawaii after a long trip (Tune X), in which he jumps out of the ship quickly, ready to explore the island (I'm In Great Shape) and buys himself a farm there (Veggie-Tables). The Farm is next to a very happy, always partying city, so he bothers to go there. While he's there, he meets a very beautiful girl, who works at the bar, whom he falls in love with (Good Vibrations). At first Brian tells himself that he could only ever love his dead wife, and that doing so could be a bad thing (Gee), but then he tries to ask this girl out buy offering her a drink, which she refuses (Holiday). Brian goes to his farm, saying he hopes she has a terrible life as he works on his new farm (I Wanna Be Around/Workshop). As Brian works, he hears the train pass by his quaint farm, and he begins to wonder if Humans are just naturally evil (Cabin Essence).
In the Middle of the night, Brian has a dream, which basically tells him Humans are naturally evil, and that it is learned from Father to Son (Surf's Up). Brian is panicked that he would even have such a dream, and he tries to not focus on it as he works on his farm (I Don't Know). But Brain believes in it more and more, so much so that he actually tries to be one of the Animals (Barnyard). He tries to focus on something else, as the wind chimes his dead wife used to have and that he brought with him becomes his focus, but Brian can't stop thinking about how evil people are (Wind Chimes). After thinking about it more and more, Brian decides that it is up to him to save Hawaii from these Decadent People by destroying them (Three Blind Mice).
His plan is simple; Destroy the city to scatter the people. Brian decides that the most naturally way of destroying things is with fire, so he sets the whole town ablaze in hopes to get the people to leave the Hawaiian island(Mrs. O'Leary's Cow). He retreats back to his farm, where he is telling all his animal friends and the earth itself that they can help him get rid of the humans, as the cops are pounding on his door to arrest the man (You're Welcome). Our story ends with Brian in jail, possibly standing on death's row, recounting that the world is full of nothing but Heroes and Villains (Heroes and Villains). However, it should be noted that the town has rebuilt itself, and that everyone who was actually living in the city before the fire, is perfectly safe, and living there once more, happier then ever before.
As you can see, the story itself is pretty sick and twisted; A story of Insanity, Depression, Death, Arson, and Terrorism. Not only that, but they treat Brian's first Wife's death as a complete joke. "Dumb Angel" (The working title for Smile) would have actually been more appropriate then "Smile", because 'Brian' thinks he was doing the earth a favor by destroying people. That could be why Mike Love would hate the album; especially since every album before hand was mostly Surfing And Sunshine, not Insanity and Attempted Mass Murder. Sadly, when several songs were removed, there was no way the Album could take this path. As time went by, everyone else forgot about it, especially since several of the songs were removed and there are multiple ways to arrange the songs. So, in the end, Smile was indeed meant to be Darker and Edgier. It just turns out it was too Dark and too Edgy, especially for the Beach Boys themselves.