Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Smashing Pumpkins - Adore


Yes, it's not their biggest seller or anything but I like Adore.  I was thinking that  I have to say that, because I bought it, but actually I don't, because I've freely admitted to buying dross before.  I guess I like it because I really wasn't exposed to a whole lot of Pumpkins before this.  I mean, I'd heard a fair bit of Siamese Dream but never owned it, and every single one of my radio-school mates owned Melon Collie so I never bothered buying it, and then when I heard the band had a new album out, I thought, well, it's bound to be good.  And I really think it is.

It's a quiet, reflective album and I particularly like Ava Adore and Once Upon A Time.  I think it's one of those albums that's nice to put on when it's rainy outside and I'm inside reading a book and occasionally something will make me look up and listen to the music.

But maybe that's because I'm focusing on what Adore has, rather than what it's missing. I will say that Billy Corgan's voice can give me the shits after a while.  He's almost as whiny as Thom, but at least the tunes are better.



Ah, the finicky, fickle fall of the pointy stick. If only for a few centimetres, it might have hit on a few better albums from The Smashing Pumpkins. But it didn't, it touched down on Adore instead. At least I get to tell you how fucking awesome it was to stand between the crowd and the stage at the Big Day Out in '94 while the Pumpkins ripped the fuckin' place apart. (Yes, for those more observant readers, yes, it was the same occasion I saw Soundgarden - truly memorable).

What followed this tour was recording and releasing Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness and the touring accompanying it. This in turn led to drummer Jimmy Chamberlin being sacked from the band due to his implicition in the OD death of keyboardist Jonathan Melvoin. Chamberlin's massive drumming was replaced by machines and session musos for the Adore sessions. It might have, as one reviewer said, sorted the 'true' fans out from those who liked them for their big sellers but the reality is The Smashing Pumpkins without Jimmy just weren't the same band.

This was the beginning of the end, as far as I'm concerned.  Eschewing the huge stadium rock they were well known for and presenting a set of more subtle electronic-laden material frankly made them sound like Garbage wannabes (no offence to Garbage, of course.  Ironically is was Butch Vig of Garbage who produced the first two Smashing Pumpkins albums).  To top it off, Billy's petulant and increasingly meglomaniacal behaviour only drove a wedge between him and the rest of the band, eventually leading to departure of D'Arcy and the inevitable breakup.

There are a few nice moments on Adore, but these are more associated with the its lavish production and soundscapes, almost sounding like a soundtrack for a movie at points, something furthered by Corgan's admission that this is a "concept album without a concept."  Yeah, thanks for trying to be clever, Billy, but its simply not enough to hold my interest.

VERDICT: TURN IT DOWN before I bitch slap the whine outta ya, Billy-boy!

For more information: http://www.smashingpumpkins.com/

In our collection, we also have Gish, Siamese Dreams, Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, Pisces Iscariot and Machina


  1. Adore has its moments but I was never really that into it. The first three songs are great but it loses me after that. Mellon Collie on the other hand is one of my favorite albums of the 90s - and dare I say, possibly my favorite double disc album ever (I would have to spend some more time to think about though...)

  2. Jeff, big call on Mellon Collie, I must say. There are a few good doubles out there (The Wall being a personal favourite).