Amoeblog

Essential Records: The Smashing Pumpkins' 'Adore'

Posted by Billy Gil, September 26, 2014 11:33am | Post a Comment

 

We’re starting a new series where we talk about records that personally made a difference in our lives. Today we’ll talk about Smashing Pumpkins' cult favorite fourth album, Adore, which was just re-released on a seven-disc Deluxe Edition CD set and will be re-released on vinyl Oct. 7 (pre-order here).

 

When Smashing Pumpkins released their fourth album, Adore, I was about to turn 16. It was the summer of 1998 and I was all set to start band camp, complete with bleach-blonde hair and an injured toe. 

 

I was obsessed with the Smashing Pumpkins at that point. It may be hard to recall now, but the band occupied a unique space on the radio in those days. There weren’t any other bands on their scale releasing the kind of detailed and emotional but far-reaching rock ‘n’ roll that they were, so waking up to the roughed up chords and digital beat of “Ava Adore” on your radio alarm meant something. (The only other popular album you could compare it to at the time was Radiohead's OK Computerwhich was released a year prior.) 

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Smashing Pumpkins Release Rick Rubin-Produced 'Let Me Give the World to You' From 'Adore' Reissue

Posted by Billy Gil, August 11, 2014 01:33pm | Post a Comment

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.

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New Smashing Pumpkins Album ‘Oceania’ Up for Preorder at Amoeba

Posted by Billy Gil, May 29, 2012 05:36pm | Post a Comment
Smashing Pumpkins OceaniaOceania, the upcoming “album within an album” from The Smashing Pumpkins, is now up for preorder on Amoeba.com. The album is part of Billy Corgan’s ongoing Teargarden by Kaleidyscope project, which has included two physical releases thus far, Vol. 1 and 2.
 
It’s been a tricky thing to navigate Billy Corgan’s post-breakup of the original Smashing Pumpkins career. For every good to terrific release — from the unfairly maligned, Cocteau Twins-esque Machina and especially Machina II, to the too-short-lived Zwan and its sole release, Mary Star of the Sea, to his promising Depeche Mode as shoegaze solo debut, TheFutureEmbrace — there’ve been missteps — the largely underwhelming Zeitgeist (save a few choice crazy guitar tracks), the pretty bad American Gothic EP, tossed off digital singles. Of the newer songs, released after the departure of longtime drummer and sole other original Pumpkin Jimmy Chamberlain, I’ve only really liked a few. The psych-ballad “A Stitch in Time” knocks me on my ass when I hear it and leaves me hoping Corgan will continue pursuing more experimental territory, like he did to such success (at least in my mind, and that of a devoted cult) on Adore.
 
From what I’ve heard of Oceania so far, I’m cautiously optimistic. Though Pumpkins songs never sound the same on record as they do live, recent Pumpkins recordings have sounded increasingly stripped-down, which isn’t a problem, as long as the songs are strong. So just going by songs, then, the live tracks I’ve heard on YouTube from Oceania, as they’ve yet to release an official single from it, rock pretty hard, and do, as Corgan has alluded, sound like Siamese Dream, Gish and, actually, especially, Pisces Iscariot, their B-side album from the early era that’s at least as good as Gish. So far, opener “Quasar” reminds me a lot of “Geek USA,” one of my favorite songs from Siamese Dream —and ever, really — with its stop-start heavy riffage. The recording of “Panopticon” I heard has the kind of harmonic guitar playing that gives me goosebumps, kind of like Zeitgeist standouts “7 Shades of Black” and “Starz,” but with a better melody, like “Rocket.” “Pinwheels” aims for the heartstrings with its plinking keyboards and classic harmonic riff, sort of like a mellower “Today” or “Glynis,” one of my favorite Pumpkins B-sides.
 
So, we’ll see, fellow Pumpkins-heads. The album could end up being really awesome. Like most people for whom the Pumpkins are their all-time favorite band, or top 5 at least, I’ll definitely be getting it and there will be at least a few songs that renew my love for the band. But from what I’ve heard so far, this could be the return to form we’ve been hoping for.

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