When Smashing Pumpkins released their beloved-in-retrospect fourth album, Adore, back in 1998, frontman Billy Corgan couldn’t resist talking a lot about a great song he left off the album called “Let Me Give the World to You.” Perhaps to preserve the nocturnal feel of the classic 4AD indebted Adore, the song wasn’t included on the album—the title alone promised a bombastic rock single in the vein of songs like “Tonight, Tonight.” But we got another version of the song later, on the digital-only Machina II, albeit in a different version that sounded quickly recorded in the best way, with gauzy, Cocteau Twins-inspired guitars and jangly pop feel.
Now Corgan has released the original recording, produced by none other than hip-hop producer extraordinaire Rick Rubin. So it’s that over-the-top “Bullet With Butterfly Wings” thing, right? The song is closer in feel to “1979,” with muted new-wave guitars and a level of restraint not typically seen with this band, yet its Beatles-inspired arrangement is, of course, heartfelt and grabbing. Though Adore is lovably imperfect as is, I can’t help but feel this recording would’ve slotted in nicely near the end of the album and perhaps provided a crucial breakthrough third single that could’ve changed the troubled history of the band for the better. Sigh.