8 Songs, 31 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Even in this age of inevitable reboots and reunions, getting the original Smashing Pumpkins lineup back together was going to have a high degree of difficulty. Billy Corgan had expended so much energy further establishing himself as the band’s visionary since the departures of James Iha, drummer Jimmy Chamberlin, and bassist D’arcy Wretzky—the walk-back would need to be careful. And it has been. “We’re not always good friends to each other, but our friendship is really deep,” Corgan told Beats 1 host Zane Lowe. “I had this moment when we were working at Rick Rubin’s on this music—I looked across the room and just had this sense memory of being in my dad’s house with James. This relationship that goes back now 31 years just blows my mind, but here we are. We’re still playing guitars and we’re still little kids chasing the riff or something. It’s beyond my conception.”

Though the nostalgia and goodwill was not enough to get Wretzky back into the fold, the result of the first album with both Iha and Chamberlin since 2000 (as well as Iha replacement Jeff Schroeder) is pure Pumpkins. Characteristically logorrheic album title aside, the eight taut songs—the longest is under five and a half minutes—eschew the conceptual excess of many Corgan-driven exercises and, surely not by accident, recall the ferocity of the Siamese Dream/Mellon Collie glory days. The bouncy backbeat of “Silvery Sometimes (Ghosts)” channels “1979,” while the rumbling proto-metal crunch of “Marchin’ On” and closer “Seek and You Shall Destroy” channels 1979. Maybe it’s Rubin’s back-to-basics production approach or the overall spirit of reconciliation, but there’s a lack of fussiness that directs the band’s inherent drama into all the right places.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Even in this age of inevitable reboots and reunions, getting the original Smashing Pumpkins lineup back together was going to have a high degree of difficulty. Billy Corgan had expended so much energy further establishing himself as the band’s visionary since the departures of James Iha, drummer Jimmy Chamberlin, and bassist D’arcy Wretzky—the walk-back would need to be careful. And it has been. “We’re not always good friends to each other, but our friendship is really deep,” Corgan told Beats 1 host Zane Lowe. “I had this moment when we were working at Rick Rubin’s on this music—I looked across the room and just had this sense memory of being in my dad’s house with James. This relationship that goes back now 31 years just blows my mind, but here we are. We’re still playing guitars and we’re still little kids chasing the riff or something. It’s beyond my conception.”

Though the nostalgia and goodwill was not enough to get Wretzky back into the fold, the result of the first album with both Iha and Chamberlin since 2000 (as well as Iha replacement Jeff Schroeder) is pure Pumpkins. Characteristically logorrheic album title aside, the eight taut songs—the longest is under five and a half minutes—eschew the conceptual excess of many Corgan-driven exercises and, surely not by accident, recall the ferocity of the Siamese Dream/Mellon Collie glory days. The bouncy backbeat of “Silvery Sometimes (Ghosts)” channels “1979,” while the rumbling proto-metal crunch of “Marchin’ On” and closer “Seek and You Shall Destroy” channels 1979. Maybe it’s Rubin’s back-to-basics production approach or the overall spirit of reconciliation, but there’s a lack of fussiness that directs the band’s inherent drama into all the right places.

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Ratings and Reviews

4.0 out of 5
137 Ratings
137 Ratings
Lanternprime ,

Bring it on! Love pumpkins!

I’m just basing this on the first two songs. Not bad, but these last couple albums feels like he’s changing his vocal approach. And I just can’t get used to it. I feel like they need to turn him down in the mix. Anyway just my opinion.

fertile octagenarian ,

We want the soft vocals.

Billy Corgan is a polarizing figure. His music is either great or annoying. What I think we all long for is soft/high pitch vocals we see in Gish, Siamese, Melloncholy (a few tunes) and on B-Sides like Whir, Glynnis, and Obscurred. The music here is listenable but I agree with the first reviewer regarding the vocals. However, I think that he has been humbled by his lack of success as he gets older. Nearly 30 years in the business is not bad. Clearly, Stephen Malkmus got in his head in 93/94 (it has been the same since).

Truth be Told is in heaven. ,

Welcome Back!

I think it has to be said that after reading these reviews, yes, everyone is welcome to their opinion, however those that complain that this doesn't sound like Siamese, or Melancholy, well I say, go listen to those albums if you want that sound. SP are artists, and an artist doesnt paint the same picture over and over, and same goes with a band who has been grinding it out as long as these guys have been. I welcome the new songs, I welcome the band's eagerness to try different stuff; sometimes the material that comes after experimentation is better the best material of all! Ben Kenon, Get real! Billy "experiencing" first hand what he has seen, is far different than a conspiracy theorist. And whats wrong with a conspiracy theorist; they ask questions and question the narrative. I guess I ask you, why aren't you asking questions? Unreal.

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