As Good vibrations fades, you realise that Smile is one of the saddest records there has been. Not on account of the music, which is joyous throughout, but because the record has happened forty years too late.
Of course it's a great record but it's something even greater filtered through a ruined mind and played by a covers band. It's as though Brian Wilson were resurrecting his previous hits for a reunion tour.
Throughout, you try to imagine what it would have sounded like had it followed Pet sounds.
That it exists is a wonderful thing. That Wilson is still here, out the other side of a torment that could, should have killed him, is something to be celebrated, and this record does celebrate it.
If you love music, if you know that Pet sounds is one of the greatest pop albums (and if you don't, buy it and play it until you do), you probably already own Smile and you too will have shed a little tear for the Brian Wilson of the mid-sixties, who wanted to beat the Beatles and would have, had the world not conspired to break him.