Archive for the ‘The Smashing Pumpkins’ Category

Last Tuesday The Smashing Pumpkins released a new record, Monuments to an Elegy. Did you know? Do you care? One of the biggest bands on the planet in the 90’s and you’re telling me you didn’t know? Perhaps you were once a fan and just got over it? Siamese Dream and Mellon Collie was all you invested in and felt after that things started to get a bit shaky…

No more D’Arcy, no more James, and even no more Jimmy. A few more bass girls later and then a little boy who flipped burgers winds up on drums and you had it, eh?

Well, I for one never gave up on the great pumpkin, Mr. Billy Corgan. I feel that he has still put out a lot of great music since that CherubRockBulletWithButterflyWings heyday. I’m often confused at how people “listen” to music. These once rock heroes are so easily abandoned. What was once relevant is no longer and vice versa. But who really has say in that? Granted Billy has said and done a lot of stupid and completely bizarre things over the years, including putting an ad in the Chicago Sun-Times years ago to get the Pumpkins back together after a few years dormant and a pretty unsuccessful solo venture to boot. In fact, the week of the release of this new SP record he was all over the net bitching and complaining about Foo Fighters and Pearl Jam, saying, “They just don’t have the songs…” Of course the backlash from fans on either side of the argument were less than flattering. But will something like this push Billy farther into obscurity? Who can ever tell…

Anyway, MY point is, that given sane or not, Billy still makes real good music, really. You gotta give it a chance. Things change, people change, life is tough man. These artists are under a microscope and scrutinized for everything. One wrong move, one weird chord…and you can be yesterday’s news. Boil it all down and he’s only human. WE ALL say and do stupid things, it’s just harder to take it back when you are a “former icon” and if you fart, that news makes the internet and next thing you know you are “trending”, and not in the good way, (even typing that word makes my skin crawl.)

Monuments to an Elegy cover

Monuments to an Elegy cover

But let’s cut to it. The new record, Monuments to an Elegy is great, great, great. It is absolutely the most digestible SP music in quite some time. The longest track on the LP clocks in at just 4:09 and the rest reside in the 3 some odd minute realm and boasts only 9 tracks. There is no 11-12 some odd minute epic. No bizarre lyrical journeys into madness. The songs are sweet and punchy and super well written. No reason at all that this cannot be another hugely successful Smashing Pumpkins record. Is it in the name at this point? Is that the cross that Billy will have to bear for the rest of his time as an artist because he still wants the band, his band, to exist being the only original member. Jeff Schroeder who has now been with Billy since 2007 continues to fill his role as guitarist. Hell, even Tommy Lee plays drums on this record, (yes, that Tommy Lee). So you know the musicianship is solid. You’ve got songs like “Being Beige” which is in the classic Pumpkins ballad vein with a kick. You’ve got “Run2Me” which to me can honestly be a top 40 pop song. Maybe he should have sold that one to One Direction or something and it could have been huge. Every song on Monuments is great. It’s an easy listen and quite frankly I’m sure you’ll let it spin back around for another. Maybe “Run2Me” was your fave first time round but then you get pumped over the 70’s tinged “Anaise!” giving a bit of a nod to Queen’s “Another One Bites The Dust” with its punctuated bass line being the star of the show.

Billy Corgan & Jeff Schroeder

Billy Corgan & Jeff Schroeder

Love him or hate him. Billy is great at what he does. His voice may be an acquired taste, yup, absolutely. His imaginative song titles may leave one to think he’s too high on himself. But every true artist is just a bit, right? I really hope that people will give this and new Smashing Pumpkins music a fair shot. All you Gish and Siamese babies are missing out. It’s true. I’m still in your corner Billy!

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