Damn that Billy Corgan. This guy was the leader of one of the most popular bands in the ’90s and then bottomed out after a slew of drug problems, deaths in the band, crappy albums, failed side projects and failed solo albums. You know, the usual when it comes to rock stars.But there’s no doubting Corgan’s bombastic talents or hubris when it comes to making huge arena rock anthems. Between Gish, Siamese Dream and Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness (yes, yes, it’s about one album too long with lots of good songs and loads of crap), The Smashing Pumpkins churned out their own path during the halcyon grunge days of 1991-1996.
Anyway, most longtime fans have been waiting around to see what Billy and homeboy Jimmy Chamberlain (the drummer/former heroin addict of the band) would cook up next as the two reincarnated The Smashing Pumpkins brand. Filter has a first look at Zeitgeist, which will drop on July 7. It’s a little disappointing, however, that they don’t provide any MP3s to give a listen to the new material.
1. Doomsday Clock [3:41]
2. 7 Shades Of Black [3:15]
3. Orchid [3:58]
4. That’s The Way [3:44] <- KEY TRACK
5. Tarantula [3:47]
6. Starz [3:41]
7. United States [9:50]
8. Never Lost [4:13] <- KEY TRACK
9. Bring The Light [3:35]
10. Come On (Let’s Go) [3:15]
11. For God And Country [4:51]
12. Pomp And Circumstance [4:18]
* Produced by Billy Corgan and Jimmy Chamberlin, with Roy Thomas Baker and Terry Date working separately on various tracks.
* Billed as a “reunion”, though only Corgan and drummer Jimmy Chamberlin are present.
* It’s the first Smashing Pumpkins album since 2000’s Machina suite. In the interim Corgan has done one Zwan album and one solo album.
* Tracks #1 thru #7 are all aggresive, up-tempo guitar rock except for #4, “That’s The Way”, which is our guess for 1st single as it’s the most “pop” track with a catchy verse and chorus.
* “Never Lost” is one of the only ballad-y tracks. Like many of the Pumpkins’ classics, it is low-key, but still driven by its composition and melodies. Plus there are strings.
* The last two tracks are the only ones which are keyboard driven, with “Pomp And Circumstance” sporting timpani drums, choir-like vocals and squelching guitar.
* Corgan’s signature guitar tone is still as rich and forceful as it ever was.
* As we have seen with the new lineup, Corgan’s voice is what (supposedly) defines the Smashing Pumpkins as a band. But, much like in Zwan, here it seems that his natural angst is somewhat artificial and his screaming seems mellow in comparison the Pumpkins of the past.
* With the recent commercial success of new bands like Silversun Pickups, it’s uncertain whether or not the those outside the core SP fanbase will feel the need to reacquaint themselves with Smashing Pumpkins.
Not quite sure what SSPUs have to do with The Smashing Pumpkins, but I guess we’re just stoked that Billy and boys are back. Gotta admit though, we’re a tad sad that James Iha wasn’t asked to be part of the reunion. Wasn’t D’Arcy the only dead weight in the band?