Holy Pop Relic

Why Brian Wilson should have left Smile alone.

Brian Wilson’s Smile, the Beach Boys’ famously unfinished album, debuted last week to a chorus of rave reviews. In February, Jeff Turrentine anticipated its release and argued that it should stay where it belongs: in the fan’s imagination. “To return to this now-mythic collection of songs is to gild the rarest, wildest lily in pop music,” Turrentine wrote. “Smile is dead; long live Smile.”