100 Best Albums of the 2000s

100 Best Albums of the 2000s

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Brian Wilson, 'Smile'

88. Brian Wilson, 'Smile'

The famously un-finished Beach Boys record, begun by Wilson in 1966 as an answer to Sgt. Pepper but abandoned in favor of the less-ambitious Smiley Smile, gets finished in 2004 with help from longtime co-conspirator Van Dyke Parks. Is it the album it might've been 30-plus years ago? Who knows. But it's Wilson's finest solo moment: cascading vocal arrangements, delicious melodies, and letter-perfect orchestral flourishes. A generation of vocal-obsessed indie rockers (Animal Collective, Fleet Foxes) owe him large.

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