Baker's Dozen

Artists discuss the 13 records that shaped their lives

9. The Beach BoysSmiley Smile

It’s one of the earlier records for me, I started listening to it when I was 19 or 20. I think it made me realise that I wanted to get better at music, it pushed me to want to learn more than three chords. Pet Sounds is so pristine, while Smiley Smile sounds unfinished. I guess it is unfinished, and I know Brian Wilson was never happy with the way it turned out, but whatever grievances there are, I love it. It’s a huge influence on me, it was definitely like my music school. Figuring out those harmonies and those chords really pushed my ears and helped me understand music theory in a deeper way. I mean I like it it has that unfinished edge and a more playful sound to it than Pet Sounds. I love Pet Sounds but it’s so polished that it doesn’t have the charm to it that Smiley Smile has.

You can hear that charm lyrically, songs about vegetables and Woody Woodpecker. That song ‘She’s Going Bald’ is amazing! It’s funny and also sublime, all at once. ‘Windchimes’ is one of the most beautiful moments in music, and lyrically he’s just writing about some windchimes hanging on his porch; somehow he makes it sound like the most sentimental and beautiful thing. I remember being bowled over.

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