Label: Brother Records - 50999 404432 25,Capitol Records - 50999 404432 25,Brother Records - 4432 • Format: CD HDCD, Album, Remastered, Unofficial Release, Stereo, Mono • Country: Russia • Genre: Rock • Style: Pop Rock, Psychedelic Rock
Originally positioned as the first major movement on Smilepreceded by an intro of the hymn-like Our Prayer and snippet of doo wop classic Gee, Heroes and Villains gets interrupted, expanded and requoted along that album's full length flow.
Reproduced in this format as Smiley Smile's opening track, Brian Wilson's complex harmonics move into a dissonant counterpoint too quickly for a top 40 pop music fan's ear, unrelieved by the now absent "in the cantina" interlude from Smile.
Not good to dance to. All of which, as we would discover so many years later, broken down and stretched out on Smile can feel like being dropped into something complex and beautiful. Van Dyke Parks poetical wordplay offers up moments of clarity here for the brain to latch on to, but they don't string together, and isolated on only one cut for three and a half minutes, becomes more frustrating than making no sense Love Beyond - Various - Bluegrass 1 - Bluegrass Spirit all.
Again, that plays out differently full length on Smile. As a 45, Heroes and Villains attracted respectable, non-blockbuster sales in the States and UK, but was voted song of the year in France. Maybe it helped if English was not your first language. Just dig the sounds, and catch a random word when you can. Then there's the production. The opening stanzas match the chug-a-lug rockin' car beat of Fun, Fun, Fun or Shut Down, swing into a swirling caliopi tempo, slow way down moving towards the a capella interlude and return to the car beat.
Too much. Performed live over the decades, the drummer and bass player could mash this together and push it along, while the simplified live vocals mimicked yet clarified those from the studio recordings.
Or the a capella interlude could get stretched out in concert for the show's Art Rock segment, giving the audience's ear time to adjust. The Smile versions segue at the end with a little orchestration and the clip clop horse beat of old Gene Autrey songs, tipping us off to some of Smile's Americana ambitions. But the single and hence Smiley Smile version removes or mixes down Heroes And Villains - The Beach Boys - Smiley Smile ascending bass line at the "heroes and villains, look what you've done done" chorus and conclusion, replacing it with a low Heroes And Villains - The Beach Boys - Smiley Smile drone that only alters with the chord or key changes.
As a witty sonic comment this drone appears as early as Pet Soundsand gets used here the same way, to set up the "I've been in this town so long" segment. And then overused. Is it an attempt to simplify the sound for the single, to remove the propulsion and turn the song towards a close, preparing us for the rest of Smiley Smilewhere its frequent deployment has a different effect? Awake - Nasum - Grind Finale is it an attempt to sabotage the song itself, the first sign of Brian Wilson's withdrawal?
Not the huge Good Vibrations follow up it needed to be, but a whole lot of something. Placed inside of Smile, Heroes and Villains would get explained by being expanded. Placed alone at the beginning of Smiley Smile it would get explained by getting unpacked. Through some trick or advance in recording technique, the voices suddenly sound quiet but closer and clearer.
Side One, Track Two Vegetables.
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