Thursday, July 19, 2007

Billy Corgan, Smiling Politely

I will forever be a Billy Corgan apologist.

I forgot about them from about 1997-2006, but the Pumpkins were a pretty phenomenal band back in the day. Siamese Dream is my second-favorite album from the 1990s behind OK Computer, but it's far more enjoyable to listen to. In hindsight, it's probably one of my desert albums as well. I think it's better than Nevermind and completely blows Ten out of the water. Radiohead's The Bends is pretty great, but it's not as varied or creative as SD. While Radiohead and Nirvana were the most important 90s bands and Pearl Jam has been the most consistent over the long haul, the Smashing Pumpkins were the greatest (again, except for OK Computer-era Radiohead) band during the decade. 80% of Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness is astonishing (though the other 20% is pretty terrible, it totally falls apart at the end). The first 6 songs off that album might be one of the 5 greatest opening album sequences of all-time. Corgan's guitar playing is startling, from the riffs to the solos. For those two albums, Corgan was a certifiable genius. It's a shame that Adore, Machina, and Machina II are not very good albums despite flashes of brilliance.

Chuck Klosterman wrote how SP should be considered classic rock by now but they aren't because people hate Billy Corgan. He's an egomaniacal, insecure control freak who yearns to be relevant. However, I think that's part of what makes him awesome. The fact that Billy Corgan publicly insults and alienates members of his own band because they aren't up to his standards is just about the coolest thing I've ever heard. When he criticizes his fans for not buying the new albums, I think it's perfect. A crazy rock god is supposed to be a self-indulgent nut (even if that means sharing residence with Courtney Love).

So, based on the aforementioned, I'm psyched about the new Pumpkins album, Zeitgeist. I've got about 4 or 5 songs and they are pretty good. "Tarantula" and "Doomsday Clock" rock pretty hard, and a couple of the others are at least decent. I just think it's great to have ol' Nosferatu back in our lives. At LiveEarth he snidely remarked that people should buy the album instead of downloading it illegally "just like they did with all of [their] others." You tell em' Bill, I've only half-disappointed you! I still think the comeback could have been perfected if he grew his hair back (assuming he still has some). Billy looks too much like Voldemort for this incarnation of the band. For Mellon Collie and Adore, the skeletal monster-look worked because there was a ghoulish quality to those albums. I think if Billy wanted people to embrace him and his band again and travel back to 1993, he should have at least made the effort to look like a normal human being.

In any case, welcome back, Billy Corgan. We are in your debt.

"Cherub Rock"
"Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness"
"Tonight, Tonight"
"Here is No Why"
"Bullet with Butterfly Wings"
"An Ode to No One"
"Ave Adore"
"If There is a God"
"Doomsday Clock"
"Frail and Bedazzled"