Tuesday, June 19, 2007

I Miss The Prentension in Rock

Music today is way to humble. Everyone seems so content to just make a couple of records, goof off on the road and then call it a day. This is not how it's supposed to be. Rock musicians are supposed to be bigger than life. I came to this conclusion when I went back through may catalog and stopped on THE SMASHING PUMPKINS. Everything about Billy Corgan and Co. was prententious. They claimed to be outcasts and misfits in the world but ended up being as famous as some movie stars (I mean they were on the Simpsons for Christ's Sake) Corgan claimed to be awkward and shy but dated Courtney Love. All the while they made music that was over the top and bombastic and yet with an undercurrent of doubt about their place. They were sonically more adventurous then NIRVANA or PEARL JAM, but still melodic enough to be able to score more than a few commercial radio hits.

The band fell in the VH1 Behind the Music trap as drugs, broken relationships and infighting tore it apart to the point where their so-called reunion album out soon is only a shell of the original band (mostly Corgan trying to cash in on the name to make up for his sorry solo album). But at their height they were certainly influential. You can hear elements of "Gish" in a lot of the shoegazer rock out now. Their albums could be a heavy as anything the QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE can muster. All in all, a very versatile and quality band who werer certainly full of themselves...and that's okay.

(m4a) Smashing Pumpkins -- Siva (from Gish)
The first thing I heard from them and still one of the best. Just a perfect mix of a wall of guitar and Corgan's nasal whine (which became more pronounced in his singing as he got older). I love the quiet interlude in the middle of the song and then the sudden blast back.

(m4a) Smashing Pumpkins -- Rocket (from Siamese Dream)
Although not the greatest song on this record (that would go to Cherub Rock), live the song shows its true power. The refrain "I shall be free" sung over and over by a crowd is something to hear.

Yes it's the Depeche Mode song. But I love what they do with it, turning it into a quiet meditation rather than a dance song. It takes guts to remake something so radically and the result is worth it.


Monkey Bastard said...

Good to see people sharing some good old Smashing Pumpkins, it always lifts my spirit.

Not too sure how I feel about the reunion though...


JC said...

I'm also a fan of the band, and a live gig at the time of 'Melon Collie' remains my last official dive into a mosh-pit (I was sore for days afterwards).

I'm with Monkey B on the reunion...not sure how it'll pan out.

But then again Billy was never remotely bothered about the views of any rawk critics...