by Dan Moore
1. Kill yourself. If you've already bought your copy of The Smile Sessions, the Beach Boys collection that gets us as close as we'll ever come to a complete version of the most famous lost album of all time, you've probably been waiting for it--it just came out November 1, after all.
And if you've been waiting for it, your life peaked when "Good Vibrations" faded out at the end of the album proper. Don't be fooled: Your life remained bearable through the bits and pieces of "Heroes and Villains" all the way to "Psycodelic Sounds: Brian Falls into a Piano" at the end of the first disc, and you might have teased a certain anthropological joy out of the four additional CDs of studio takes, but this is it: You'll never again hear an official release of Smile for the first time, unless Mike Love decides he wants to buy a Chick-Fil-A franchise, or something. While you get your affairs in order, consider doing these four things, while you're at it:
2. Try not to sing the missing vocals in public. You've already listened to the 2004 Brian Wilson release, among other things, and the lyrics to all the unfinished songs are burned into your head in latter-day-Wilson's creaky talk-sing.
You're going to want to sing the verses on "Roll Plymouth Rock," here titled "Do You Like Worms." You are encouraged to do that in the car, but listening to this album on headphones while walking down the sleep could lead to some embarrassing moments, unless the girl who just passed you, avoiding eye contact all the while, knows all the doing-doing-doings in Cabin Essence.
3. Invent a new Grail Quest. You've been collecting bootlegs, wondering about what might have been without Sgt. Pepper's, having harrowing late-night conversations about trading "With Me Tonight" and "Fall Breaks and Back to Winter" for one listen of a finished version of Smile, arguing about the proper capitalization (I'm a SMiLE man about half the time) for months or years by now. If you're going to face the morning after you hear what amounts to the official Smile, you need to do it with a new quest in mind.
Weezer fans (there's a lot of overlap) have this one easy--good luck with the rest of Songs from the Black Hole. Otherwise, consider imagining all the other extraordinary albums Brian Wilson might have put together had he escaped Smile sane, successful, and all of 25 years old. That should get you wistful and depressed soon enough.
4. Watch this goofy "Heroes and Villains" video again.
5. Await further instructions. I'm just going to be honest with myself: If it comes out that there's some other astoundingly necessary piece of Beach Boys memorabilia that I don't have, I'll be a good boy and wait for it to come out in a five CD, two LP, one surfboard set, because I'm a glutton for punishment and complex harmonies. That's just how my life is going to be from now on.
And if I watch that "Heroes and Villains" video enough times, I might find a reason to live another day, or at least go crazy enough that Smiley Smile makes sense.