It’s easy to rag on Billy Corgan for being a hypersensitive narcissist who says ridiculous things, but he’s been doing that for two decades now. (The first time I cringed at a Corgan comment? In 1994, when he reportedly said to Kim Thyail, after an uncomfortable interaction with the Soundgarden guitarist, “You hurt me deeply. You hurt me deeply in my heart.”)

But Corgan’s post-’90s music really shouldn’t be judged alongside that aspect of his persona. No, the essential problem with the latter-day Smashing Pumpkins records (starting with 2000′s Machina/The Machines of God) is that they fall prey to what Rob Mitchum — in his review of the band’s 2007 album Zeitgeist — called “the ’Zero’ dimension.” As Mitchum (accurately) assessed it, Corgan had left behind his band’s softer side, to the music’s detriment.

That was only a problem, of course, to the extent you didn’t enjoy songs from the “Zero” dimension … until the first couple EPs from the Pumpkins’ ambitious Teargarden By Kaleidyscope project emerged in 2010, which suggested not just a nadir for Corgan but popular music in the 21st century. Today, it’s easy to look at the quote-unquote Smashing Pumpkins and look away in disgust: There’s ol’ Charlie Brown (front, center) with a bunch of demographically diverse scrubs, at least two of whom probably never even saw the inside of a studio while the music was being recorded.

He’s made such a mess of things that really, how do you even accurately catalog Corgan’s, um, catalog? The new Oceania is technically the band’s ninth studio LP, but that seems misleading: It leaves out 1994′s Pisces Iscariot, a collection of early non-album tracks that is better than the majority of the music released in the ’90s, yet it includes Machina II/The Friends And Enemies Of Modern Music, which was never released to stores and is plainly an addendum to the more traditionally distributed Machina. And how to account for Teargarden, an ongoing “album” of which Oceania is considered a segment? Furthermore, what about Corgan’s 2005 solo album, TheFutureEmbrace, which shares at least as much DNA with the Pumpkins as the band’s own fourth album, 1998′s Adore, or the lone release from Corgan’s Zwan — 2003′s wildly underrated Mary Star Of The Sea — which shares even more of that DNA?

In terms of its personnel, Oceania may be a “Smashing Pumpkins” album in name only (Corgan is obviously the only original Pumpkin left in the patch), but from a musical perspective, it feels like it deserves that name. The album opens with “Quasar,” and the guitar-bass-drums interplay with which the song begins recalls two other Pumpkins album openers: “I Am One” (from 1991′s Gish) and “Cherub Rock” (from 1993′s Siamese Dream). It’s a far cry from those classics, of course, but it’s a good omen — an announcement that, maybe, Corgan has exited the “Zero” dimension. Like much of the best Smashing Pumpkins work, the album never settles on one sound, although it’s blatantly dreamier and less rat-in-a-cage raging than any other Pumpkins’ LP released this millennium. The album’s entire second quarter — “Violet Rays,” “My Love Is Winter,” One Diamond, One Heart,” and “Pinwheels” — is composed of ballads, but their tones and instrumentation vary (from acoustic guitars to Adore-esque synths). The title track is a proggy marathon that tries to squeeze about half of Melon Collie into its nine minutes. And the album closes on three ferocious guitar-heavy anthems that veer in and out of the “Zero” dimension without getting stuck there. All along, new drummer Mike Byrne serves as a more-than-passable stand-in for departed skinsman (and Corgan’s only real collaborator) Jimmy Chamberlin. The album’s immediate highlight is “The Celestials,” a sweeping, swelling, quiet-loud-quiet ballad that kind of makes me feel like I’m flying; it’s easily the catchiest song Corgan has written since “1979.” (If radio and MTV still existed, they might even play the thing.)

It’s typical to overreact when a once-great artist — previously believed to be deep into his dotage — hits that sweet spot again, but I don’t think I’m being hyperbolic when I say that Oceania is Corgan’s best album since Mary Star Of The Sea, and the best Smashing Pumpkins album since … Melon Collie? (Adore apologists will take exception to this.) He’ll never again reach the heights of those first three albums — who will? — but it’s good to hear, at least, he’s climbing.

Oceania is released 6/19 via EMI. Stream it now.

Comments (68)
  1. i liked it and then i didn’t know how to feel about liking it. O_O

    • Feel good about liking it. There are plenty of polarizing, frustrating figures out there making and releasing good music. Very few of them have a past as great as the first three (of four, since I do count Pisces Iscariot) SP albums in their back pocket. Zeitgeist wasn’t TERRIBLE, it just wasn’t great. Billy has always had it in him to do great stuff again. Lets hope he continues down that road.

      • “Zeitgeist wasn’t TERRIBLE”…on the contrary, I think that album is really underrated. Of course, it depends on which version you’re talking about, since I think they released it in about a dozen different configurations with various bonus tracks (I know I own three different versions).

  2. This is a great record.

  3. You used 417 words before describing anything about the actual music on this album…jussayin

  4. Question is which will be the entrance songs for the wrestlers on his reality TV show…

  5. It’ll probably be good! Unfortunately, too many people won’t give the album a chance, just because they don’t like what he said about Radiohead.

  6. Although some of this is debatable, for the most part, I can’t really bring myself to disagree with it. It’s a solid, if far too short (SP’s and Billy’s past is a long and convoluted adventure) explanation of the then and now with a fair review of the new material included for good measure.

    However, there is one assumption you’re making here that I do want to address. From what has been reported and discussed by people who have witnessed it (including the band themselves), all four members of the current SP did actually play on this album. Billy may have told them what to play, but they did actually play the parts themselves.

    Also, as a random aside – not really relating to this review; Jeff is a pretty great guitar player and in a live setting Billy actually gives him a lot of freedom. I saw the old SP live a lot, and I’ve seen the new SP (with Jeff, anyway) a handful of times now. It’s very clear that Jeff is occasionally leading the direction of the “jams”. Billy will actually look at the guy and pay attention to what he’s doing, something I rarely saw him do with James.

  7. Boy…my favorite band of all time for sure. Well, Adore was and is vastly underrated and in my opinion offers more of a heartfelt glimpse into Billy’s music and soul then Gish, and I was also a fan of machina 1 ( and its superior machina 2) even though Machina 1 took serious critical drubbing ( and should have been heavily editied), but whats left to say? Zwan’s debut was a solid, good album, if not spectacular. TheFutureEmbrace solo album by Corgan had moments of cool and moments of bah for sure…leading up to Zeitgiest in which things turned the dividing corner. That record had a few very good tracks but included some duds. Its easily the weakest pumpkins record. The whole Teargarden fiasco ( yes fiasco) is that die hard fans like myself were open to the idea of 44 great songs in slow succession and instead were left reeling from dissapointment as like piecemeal the songs came one by one, each more dissapointing and bland then the last. Tough pumpkins pill to swallow. In fairness, I love Billy Corgan; I love his music, his rich emotional way of looking at the world ( and i disagree with the writer about the so called cringeworthy comment towards Kim; Billy’s extremely hypersensitive and said comment was not cringeworthy though possibly drunken a tad) is going to polarize people. I think Adore was his real first commercial failure and critical misunderstanding. Except the songs, mostly, were all knockouts. The good thing with Oceania is that there are a few knockouts. The first 3 are really good, if not great, and almost half of the record gets back to solid territory. I wish the rest of it filled the gaps up a bit and brought that old delicious Pumpkins darkness to the proceedings with some fury, some more passion, some more personalized lyrics and idealism, but that Billy hasn’t materialized since Adore and we will always have those records. Thankfully, this album is in no way a dissapointment. my hope is that its merely a warm-up to something bigger, brighter and better and in league with the adventure of The Great Pumpkin’s highest creative aspiration and potential. Glimpses here if not jackpot yet. But it makes Teargarden less bitter in my mouth and the next record ( Please Billy release a sequel to Oceania and not peicemeal…your true loyal fans who still love you like myself want a record not a tease of songs) highly anticipated…the first since 2000, at least for myself.

  8. its a good point. The reveiwer talks about what a dickhead Corgan is for 5/6ths of the article then finally gives the album a little credit for being good… which it definately is.

  9. Two things I can’t agree with: This is SP’s best album since Mellon Collie and that their last good song was “1979″ (Their last good song was in fact “That’s the Way My Love Is” off of Zeitgeist, and before that, “Try Try Try” and “Stand Inside Your Love” off Machina were great as well.)

    While I definitely believe Corgan is showing healthier signs here as a songwriter, this album to me played a bit too inflated in length and ideas, and often sounding repetitive. Overall, Smashing Pumpkins really doesn’t have an identity these days. It’s, as mentioned, a mixture of all of Corgan’s ideas, Pumpkins or not. I say this as someone who actually owns everything including ZWAN and Zeitgeist, went to see them on that album’s tour (although, Explosions In the Sky opening was kind of a huge bonus to do so) alongside that terrible anniversary tour from a few years back. Corgan could probably find himself on the upper echelon of alt rock again if he actually wanted it. Oceania to me seems like he needs to make a buck off an album so he plays nice with his fans again, but it won’t surprise me if he goes back to polarizing them with crazy meltdown after this is done and says he’ll never release another formal album ever again or something.

    • Two things I can’t agree with: This is SP’s best album since Mellon Collie and that their last good song was “1979″ (Their last good song was in fact “That’s the Way My Love Is” off of Zeitgeist, and before that, “Try Try Try” and “Stand Inside Your Love” off Machina were great as well.)>>>

      Yeah, that’s where the review lost me. Also, “The Celestials” has one of the corniest lyric I’ve heard Corgan utter, and is hardly catchy.

      • Michael Roffman,

        I replied to Michael_’s post below, but to address one of your points: Yes, his lyrics are corny as hell, but I’ve always found that to be the case with his lyrics, so I didn’t mention it here. FWIW I didn’t notice “The Celestials” to be overly corny (by BC’s standards, at least) but I didn’t look at lyric sheet, either. I stand by my assessment of the song’s catchiness!

      • Wait, can we get a round of applause for a guest appearance from Consequence of Sound Editor & Chief Michael Roffman, who just made his first post here on Stereogum? This is kind of like the moment on WCW Nitro when Scott Hall interrupted the broadcast and everyone still thought he was with the then-WWF. Are we in the midst of some sort of nWo-like invasion here on Stereogum?

        Jokes aside, welcome and if CoS is ever still in need of writers and you’re willing to look past that time we had a bit of a miscommunication, I’m open to ideas.

    • Try Try Try and Stand Inside Your Love are great (though the latter is a bit cheesy for my tastes), but the standout on Machina is easily Age of Innocence. My favorite Pumpkins song ever, and I say that as someone whose favorite album of all time is Siamese Dream (see username).

    • Michael_,

      In my defense, I didn’t say the Pumpkins haven’t produced a good song since “1979″; I said “The Celestials” is the “catchiest” song the band has released since “1979″ — not exactly quantifiable, but I stand by it! There are numerous songs on Machina and Zeitgeist that I love (all of which are quite catchy, in fact), but “The Celestials” is catchier still.

      Is this not the Pumpkins’ best since Mellon Collie? Maybe I’m being too generous. But I look back, and as I see it, it’s clearly better than Zeitgeist and Machina II, and IN MY OPINION better than Adore (which I admit in the review may not be a popular opinion, but I really don’t like Adore). So for me, it’s Machina vs. Oceania … maybe not a slam dunk, but I think Oceania wins.

      I agree with all your points regarding the Pumpkins’ lack of identity and Corgan’s personality issues, which is maybe why I used so many words up top trying to untangle those things (before getting to the music).

      • Understood — I guess catchiness differs in the eyes of the beholder. The songs I mentioned are more over-produced / glossier tracks in comparison to “The Celestials,” which may be why that track didn’t strike me to be as purely melodic as “1979″ and the others are. As for ranking the Pumpkins catalog, it’s pretty much a crap shoot after Mellon Collie with where you want to place them.

    • Too many Michaels up in here.

  10. “Corgan is obviously the only original Pumpkin left in the patch.” Cute.

  11. was surprised to see people give a shit about this album 0__o

  12. Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

    • I agree dude that Machina 1 and Machina 2 have some of their best song. It’s too bad only die hard Pumpkins fans like us seem to know this ( and not let Corgan as a person persuade our verdict of his tunes). I would rate Oceania the best since Machina. Corgan the person gets vilified while if a currently high praise circle or pitchfork friendly band like Radiohead/Thom Yorke were to be polarizing, there would prob be praise. Even musical praise. The King of Limbs was not a great record but for Radiohead it will never sink or swim popular critical opinion. Shame that it can’t be fair and balance that way for pumpkins :) i love Radiohead, but you know, expressing my opinion. Pumpkins love forevah!

  13. Sorry to be so hard on you Michael but dammit, Corgan and his music (and his current bandmates) deserve more accuracy and respect here at Stereogum than you’ve been giving it recently and over the years. And I’m a longtime reader (at least 8 years running.)

    Speaking of respect, I respectfully disagree on Oceania being the best album since MCIS. It is the best since Adore.

    • Adore is easily as underrated as Mary Star.

    • Charlie,

      My point was: The last decade — post-initial breakup — has not been kind to Billy Corgan. I loved Zwan but that band’s breakup was as acrimonious as any I can remember. I liked Zeitgeist but it wasn’t exactly an unqualified success. With Teargarden, it seemed he had totally lost the plot, and for many fans, the new Smashing Pumpkins were a million miles removed from the old band — even though the old band was basically Billy, Jimmy and a couple props. Without Jimmy, it started to look like Billy and three randos.

      I say this not to disparage the musicians, but to illustrate public perception. When many people look at the Pumpkins (or Zwan, for that matter), it’s not a band; it’s Billy, a female bass player, an Asian guitar player, and a white male drummer. The demographic specificity of that equation makes it appear, at least, that Billy assembles lineups based as much on looks as ability (not saying he does this, but it’s definitely a theme). It’s also worth noting that, aside from Billy, the entire lineup has been turned over pretty regularly:

      James –> Jeff
      D’Arcy –> Melissa –> Ginger Reyes –> Nicole Fiorentino
      Jimmy –> Joey Waronker/Matt Cameron/Kenny Aranoff –> Jimmy –> Mike Byrne

      This breakdown doesn’t take into account Mary Star Of The Sea or TheFutureEmbrace, both of which — artistically speaking — could have been released as The Smashing Pumpkins without much uproar (and have entirely disparate lineups, save for JC). So does anybody besides Billy really matter? I honestly have no idea. Are the new guys contributing more in the studio? If so, excellent! The results are terrific. But to the portion of the fanbase that has drifted since Zeitgeist, the band behind Billy has no real identity. (Again, I say this not to disparage their work! I really like the new album, so whatever they are doing is working.)

      • If that’s the case (that you aren’t trying to disparage the non-Corgan Pumpkins), next time don’t call them “scrubs” and do a better job making clear you aren’t questioning the merits of them being in the band (that you’re just pointing out public perception issues). By the way, in that list, you forgot (the late) Mark Tulin (ex-Electric Prunes) as an SP bass player and somewhat significant Corgan collaborator in 2009-2010 during the early Teargarden sessions – he even played live with them on RSD in April 2010, and his very death influenced the making of Oceania, as Corgan said recently.

        And I disagree with you on how people looked at Zwan. That was a great lineup of alternative and indie stars, Chavez’s Matt Sweeney, Paz Lenchantin of A Perfect Circle and David Pajo (from a million projects, most notably the influential Slint) joining Billy and Jimmy (one of the best drummers of our generation).

        Tell me something, Michael. Why is it that it’s okay for Robert Smith to have musicians in The Cure come and go and it not be an issue, but somehow when Corgan does it, it’s a bad thing and makes the Pumpkins, less credible as the Pumpkins somehow? Or when Dave Grohl does everything in the studio for the Foo Fighters early on, why didn’t people question the contributions of the rest of the band (like Pat Smear) or see them as being a bunch of props or hanger-ons in a band featuring the ex-Nirvana drummer?

        I get it. Billy is a jerk. But somewhere along the way he got this wrong reputation of being a control freak (and not letting other people contribute much). The truth is, James and D’Arcy sucked at recording (at least for the first two SP records), and so Butch Vig looked at Billy, and the budget and said he might as well do all the guitars and bass parts himself. So that’s not his fault.. MCIS was truly the only real full band effort.

        At some point, people need to get a clue that SP is and always has been about Corgan (just like The Shins have always been about James Mercer, The Who’s always been about Daltrey and Townshend, etc.) and stop saying that SP isn’t the same without James and D’Arcy (and now Jimmy). I miss Chamberlin dearly but this current lineup is the best and most talented they’ve ever had – Corgan’s even stated that Jeff is a technically better guitar player than he is, which you could never say about Iha or Sweeney.

        By the way, Nicole (ex-Veruca Salt), was a veteran Billy found in CA after one of her bands opened for SP at a tribute show a few years ago. The only reason she (and Mark before her) even became Pumpkins is because Ginger became a mother and had that as a priority (which you can totally understand). And Mike was just a fantastic find after a bunch of auditions (especially for his young age). The kid is also a good singer and keyboardist too, so no, looks had nothing to do with his or any other band member’s hiring. Auditions and connections with other musicians in Los Angeles (where Corgan spent a lot of time after helping out Courtney Love – who Billy took Melissa away from 12 years ago while Courtney was doing nothing musically).

        I could go on, but one thing is clear: the music media can do something about public perception of the Pumpkins with regard to band members’ contributions. All I can say is for people writing about them and the making of past works and current ones like Oceania is to do your homework. Study the interviews (or if you’re like me, interview Corgan himself like I did late last year), which there are a ton of nowadays. Even go on Nicole’s Facebook page and you’ll see a lot of entries about her time spent recording Pumpkins songs over the past year or two. Corgan and company talk openly about the recording process more than ever – two years ago there was even a 7-hour webcast of the band members individually recording parts to future SP songs like “Lonely Is The Name” – and will continue to I’m sure. You just have to pay more attention to it.

      • Jeff is a better guitar player than Billy and James. Seriously. Go see them live and then try to say otherwise and actually mean it. For that matter just watch a couple of the live videos on YouTube.

        Mike, if you can’t have Jimmy, is the next best thing. The kid was clearly influenced by his playing. Minus some jazz chops, he’s basically the same guy.

        Nicole is the best bass player the Pumpkins have ever had. Best singer, too.

        This incarnation of the Pumpkins is very talented. Whether or not the magic happens for you, personally, when they’re on stage is something completely different.

      • I know this thread is from last week, but after a few more spins of Oceania, I really conclude that its on the same level as their last best album Adore, and a few notches up. I can’t peg it on the same level as Mellon Collie of course or the first 2, but its really a grower in a good way. The synths are all done tastefully ( even when out in the forefront like “One Diamond, One Heart” and I really think that epic passion is back, especially in a track like “The Celestials”. In fact the first 3 songs are a triple knockout punch that hasn’t been matched since the first 3 records. A dud or two on the album, but not a dud like some of Machina’s weaker tracks or Adore’s non-essential tracks. I listened to it the 2nd time and that was when it really grasped me and I realized, hey, this is pretty great. Glad a lot of the reviews have been positive. It really doesn’t bear many faults. It may not be classic, but then again, to a lesser degree then their best catalogue, in years to come, it might be a minor Pumpkins classic and a makeup present for Zeitgiest and most of Teargarden By Kalydiscope.

  14. I’m definitely one of these so-called “die hard” Smashing Pumpkins fans. As far as I know I own everything they’ve ever released that made it to a piece of vinyl (yes, everything – you can ask, but I really mean everything). And I’ve seen them live far more times than would be considered healthy (that’s largely because of the Fillmore runs, though). Unfortunately, I think Adore is terrible. It sounds like a different band hired Billy to sing for them. I do agree that every other album has some good-to-great songs, even if they aren’t great front to back.

    • cerebus fights for pumpkins and DMB. cerebus fights for 1995

      • Errr. Strange you would only notice me in those two threads. Could it be because you also hang out in 1995? Hmmmm?

        Actually, these days, I mostly listen to electronic music, free jazz/improvised music and a good bit of classical (I play the cello, amongst other things). I listen to newly released music on a weekly, often daily, basis. I go to the record store at least once a week (because doing such a thing in the Bay Area is still fun).

        It’s just coincidence that Stereogum has recently had two articles about bands I really love who were big in the 90s. And I would say that their best albums were actually in 1993 and 1996. Regardless, the point of my taking the time to write what I think of them, a point you seem to be missing, is that I believe they are still good NOW.

      • Isn’t this comment funny? Well, the_ricards, I think it is, at least.

    • I’d say I’m on about the same level of “die-hardness” (pardon the made-up term) – although I own everything on plastic (i.e. CD) as opposed to vinyl – and while Adore is my least favourite Pumpkins album, I think “terrible” is overstating it. If nothing else, it includes one of BC’s best (and most underrated) songs in “For Martha”.

  15. Maybe I’m just stoned, but I’m really enjoying this album.

  16. as a longtime pumpkins fan, i’m inherently biased, but wow, i was surprised how good some of these songs actually are. zeitgeist leaves plenty of room for improvement, but seriously, this is actually impressive on some scale. some small scale.

    and really, do we need to apologize for adore? it’s a great record

    • Agreed about Adore. It’s not “guitars in your face” Pumpkins but it still feels very…Pumpkiny. I think a lot of people have a hard time reconciling the lack of distortion. Although I do wish he took it more in the direction of “Eye” like he said he would.

      On that note, I feel Machina is basically what Adore would have been if Jimmy was around. Personally, I love both albums, but for that reason i can also see why a lot of people don’t like them.

      • again, from my biased opinion, i’d have to say the pumpkins never released a bad record/single from the classic lineup days, and i’d include adore to that as well. sp applies such an unapologetic and genuine gothic feel to every song, “dusty and pistol pete”? country-goth! “appels + oranjes”? robo-goth! “for martha”? prog-goth! and it somehow all ends up feeling authentic. it shouldn’t. it’s a little hodge-podge and overlong, but they brought something different to the table that might’ve weeded out their pop-loving 1979-era listeners but didn’t alienate their hardcore fans. i love that record.

  17. I think Adore has some good songs, mostly on its second half (Tale of Dusty and Pistol Pete, Behold the Night Mare, Blank Page), and a whoooole lotta filler. Machina has some really great jams but suffers from poor production choices and conceptual nonsense.

    I gave this a listen and was honestly super disappointed. A lot of the songs, especially in the middle (One Diamond One Heart, Pinwheels) seriously sound like Coldplay. The bland, MOR “light rock meets pretty synth patches” sound just doesn’t do it for me. If you’re gonna rock, ROCK. If you’re gonna go dreamy, go dreamy. This half-assed inbetween thing just sounds generic, IMO. And some of the lyrics are really cringeworthy, even for Billy (One Diamond One Heart is ATROCIOUS).

    But, who knows. Maybe it’ll grow on me with more listens.

    • mr mayo, give it a listen again on its own merit. It isn’t trying to go extremes in one direction or the other. Its its own musical entity and even a listen to the first 3 songs, showcases some of the best writing and intensity to bot since Mellon Collie. I def don’t hear coldplay in it and I have no idea what MOR is, but yeah, I think in my opinion that the style and synths are tastefully done, not saccharine or suffocating. Lyrically, billy has always ben vilified for writing trite lyrics, expect he really doesn’t write trite lyrics. I haunt looked at Oceania’s lyric sheet, but mr mayo its better, particularly if ur a an SP fan as your avatar and name suggest, that you don’t go into the listening of Oceania as a critic, but merely a fan.

    • Ok I don’t mean any disrespect here cause I’ve agreed with a lot of what you said, though I unequiovcally love Adore. if I could shift any overall critical reception of any album it would be that…but to your main point here.

      Oceania isn’t perfect, it’s sort of pleasant, not bad but it’s not quite a classic and while i wouldnt say Coldplay it definitely has it’s softer moments and lyrically it’s quite cringey but I have to tackle you on your if you wanna rock, rock, if you wanna go dreamy go dreamy. The album you cite as one of your favourites in siamese dream has that exact split. it has some the rockiest moments set against its dreamy components again and again. The break down in Geek USA, the crescendo of Soma, the whole stop start of Silverfuck.
      Now Oceania will never reach those heights but it shows that at their best this Dreamy vs. Rock debate about their music never existed. these two elements blended superbly.

      I think the rot started with Untitled, it seems like Billy forget how to put dynamics into his singing. from that point on, through Zwan and even here it always feels like whatever the melody is he’s just trying to cram in as much vocal as possible and in an artless enough way. compare this to something like Set the Ray to Jerry, a b-side but where there seems to be more of an innate understanding of how to complement the melody. I’m not sure I’m articulating it right but this sort of trend in his later songwriting has been the biggest turn off for me. It just feels like he forgot how to properly craft a song. And to be honest I wouldnt blame him. In his hey day he was so prolific but while I don’t think Oceania is a total return to form it definitely feels like he’s regained some song writing guile, he just has to develop it into the magic of old.

      • totally well said man. I love Oceania, but in a distant way compared to how the old records were. His music has improved for sure but there is a distance lack of passion, urgency and that old pumpkins streamlined sound and angst I really REALLY miss. Hope it comes back :)

  18. He should just rerelease the Zwan record as a S.P. record. Its the best thing he did that hardly anyone heard.

    • I think that record actually sold pretty well. Had singles on the radio and everything. That band would still exist if it weren’t for some sort on internal explosion that nobody really understands to this day (and if you do understand, please explain).

  19. Ugh well, nice critique I guess, but it makes me rather sick.

    ZERO was a f*king epic tune that whether you like it or not, still has shirts in production *today*. Which I think its rather crazy considering it was released in 1995?? That’s nearly 20 years later. So getting stuck in the “Zero Dimension” as you call it, I can’t exactly agree that is a bad thing. If everything they crank out sounds the same then sure, but I personally don’t believe this is the case, even with this album and I haven’t even heard it yet >.<

    I personally LOVED Corgan's The Future Embrace, and in fact got my musical production name from it. No, I'm not sharing it yet, sorry. ;)

    The Smashing Pumpkins will forever be in my heart as a strong, alternative rock band straight from the 90's that kicked a$$ not only because I have their albums & songs memorized but also because —it showed me & other girls/women at the time how D'arcy Wretzky could set an example for all females to engage in massive bass bada$$ery!—- Even when she left & was replaced yadda yadda, having that female bassist was almost a Smashing Pumpkins expectation or look expected from the band.

    To harp on Corgan because his music is changing is like punishing a teenager (or younger/older, I suppose) for growing, learning, and being shaped by life's events.

    Are you the same person you were 1 year ago? 5 years ago? 10-20 years ago? I'm going to generalize and say OF COURSE NOT.
    So WHY do you expect the same lot of music from a band that has been through a lot of changes, been affected by the same world events, and their own personal events? You speak of the Zero Dimension. What if they were stuck in a Cherub Rock dimension? You'l be slapping them on the wrist for that too!!

    This article sounds quite like a LOT of other opinions/websites where the author(s) is jaded or cynical about Corgan/The Pumpkin's past glory, and wants to see them achieve similar status. I believe this could very easily affect the way the album is perceived/heard.

    Yet oh my god when it comes to (i'll use RADIOHEAD–simply because I do enjoy irony)…radiohead you are so far up their a$$es that you can't see straight and praise every single strum of their guitar or vocal that comes out of Thom Yorke's throat. Give me a break.

    Michael Nelson, perhaps it is time to revert back to your childhood (yes, I'm going somewhere with this). Go play Operation or Jenga or some other childhood boardgame like Sorry. **Find a way to view the world in a new light, in a new perspective,** instead of from your jaded Stereogum article-writing-cynical opinionated being that youv'e engendered.

    Then, maybe if you rewrote the article, listened with fresh, new ears and MAYBE tried to perceive what Corgan was after with the album, it may be a constructive critique that I enjoy, that maybe even Corgan would enjoy and might acctually have an effect on the band as is stands today. Is this not the essence of a critique? to get inside the heads of an artist with a fresh, objective, constructive opinion? That's how I was taught in art school. And while this is a music website, I'm sure you can see the symbiotic relationship!.

    This is very unfortunate because I am brand new to your site. Seeing such opinionated journalism is one thing — seeing something that has been rehashed and rehashed over and over again "ohh the pumpkins aren't as good as they were with Siamese Dream, etc"… it gets old before I even finish the article because I've heard it so many times before. Not to mention it threatens my "new user" status. I don't know how many people or hits you acquire each and every day, but it does make me wonder if/how/why you lose viewers and/or if you are even remotely interested in keeping them. (can't help it, it's the marketing & advertising and possibly the anthropologist specialist in me).

    bassgiesha signing out.

  20. Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

    • Uh, yeah? They only helped define alt rock along with other greats like Nirvana, RATM, etc. ffs

    • are you hiding behind that caterpillar on your face ? :p

      • if you’re interested in my “avatar” it is directly from my art collection…or rather, what I determine as my art collection. get all up in my business at or go directly to The front page has my favorite personal work. Click gallery and then browse to see about 5 years of work.

        Just remember, there are no girls on the internet and no, i’m not showing you my boobs.

  21. Very solid record. I waited until I could go into a store to buy it and blast it in the car at 70 mph (yes, I still play CDs). I’ll need to listen to it a few more times, but at this point I’m pretty sure I’ll be happy to add it to the list of Pumpkins albums I really like.

    • CDS FTW! I’m so retentive about them that I don’t loan cds out. I used to napster etc, and ended up with about 45 mp3 cds i have no idea whats on them because the .txt file is lost. Finally transported my 8?10? cd cases down to my house from my parents, now that i have no roommates that could possibly be thieves. DANG doesn’t it drive u crazy to get a scratch? and with legit mp3 downloads you can’t get the art!!! Toothpaste, btw is a good buffer for getting a scratch (not too deep) to play. ezz the one Cerebus big up :D

  22. Well for the people who say that Oceania I have one thing to say to you “four.” That’s right b*tches four, number four on the mother-f*ckin’ charts!

  23. Well for the people who say that Oceania sucks, I have one thing to say to you “four.” That’s right b*tches four, number four on the mother-f*ckin’ rock charts!

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