on 27 July 2003
One of the most odd things that I have found about the Smashing Pumpkins is that their b-sides are often equal to, if not better than, their a-side 'superiors'. This EP proves my point perfectly. All of the tracks on this album (with the possible exception of Pastichio Medley, which I will explain further on) could be mistaken for album songs. If only all bands had leftovers like this. Here is my track-by-track guide:
Zero - The EP's main track, and the only track included on a SP album, Zero is a piece of finely tuned heavy rock. It is hard hitting and depressing, with an addictive riff running throughout.
God - Another hard hitting rock track, fairly similar in sound and structure to other Pumpkin's release Bullet with Butterfly Wings.
Mouthes of Babes - Again, a heavily distorted track with an amazing riff, but more laid back than the previous two tracks, more complex.
Tribute to Johnny - A change of pace, this track is a grungey (is that even a word?!) instrumental, reminiscent of the Pumpkins Gish era sound. The track is frequently interlaced with fantastic guitar solos.
Marquis in Spades - The EP's best moment, this track is awesome. Grunge style guitars and hatefull vocals drive you into some sort of world of it's own. This song crushes anything by Soundgarden, Nirvana and Alice in Chains, the supposed kings of 90s rock. Utterly bewildering.
Pennies - Possibly the only moment on the track that doesn't crush you with ultra-heavy distortion, Pennies provides a welcome change of sound. It has a catchy, crisp riff and sad, gentle lyrics.
Pastichio Medley - The final track on the EP, this is quite a note to leave on. At 21 minutes long, this instrumental is a collection of roughly 70 different riffs, almost all of which were never actually used, almost all of which are very good. The song begins to drag terribly at around the 15 minute mark, but everything before then is at least worth a listen.
I had better stop now, because I'm gushing. This is not an essential perchase for those only interested in the Smashing Pumpkins more commercial songs, but for *proper* fans, this is a MUST. Rock on.
on 30 November 2002
For anyone who loves the raw edged , guitar driven side of the Smashing Pumpkins , Zero would be an obvious choice to add to the collection .
The majority of the tracks on the record such as the title track 'Zero' , 'Mouths of Babes' and 'Marquis in Spades' are straightforward , classic examples of the pumpkins darker , heavier side and are great to sit back and listen to when your in the mood for something loud . My personal favourite is the mind-blowing 'Tribute to Johnny' , a rarely heard instrumental track written by Billy Corgan and James Iha .
In contrast to the rest of the tracks on the record , 'Pennies' could be said to represent the more relaxed , melodic side of the pumpkins . Corgan has successfully combined a simple melody and poetic lyrics to form a song that comes from the heart but could not be accused of being over-sentimental .
The final track 'Pastichio Medley' is , as the title would suggest , a cut and paste job with lots of different songs taken from various Pumpkins albums . It takes some dedication to listen right to the end as the constant chopping and changing of tracks makes the music kinda hard to follow , but it's certainly an interesting change to the kind of thing that you normally hear .
on 26 August 2011
As basically an extended single, this is an excellent collection of tracks in its own right. It has the very good 'Zero' from Melon Collie... but it also has some very stripped down, very Siamese-era tracks that accompany it.
They are not all perfect but little gems like the dirty 'God' and dirtier 'Mouths of Babes' highlight what a great talent this band has. But it is with the excellent 'Pennies' that they really hit pay dirt. It's the ballad of sorts but is just so tuneful and near perfect you wonder why it wasn't included in the album proper.
As with Pisces Iscariot and other singles with excellent b-sides, like the 'Thirty-Three' 2 part release (Aeroplane Flies High is superb) and '1979', this is a more than essential purchase for any self-respecting Pumpkins' fan.
on 2 June 2002
The single itself is a bit overproduced lacking some of the visceral pleasure it had live, but it's a rock/pop crossover, it has all the pop sensibilities (hooks, chorus, verses and passion) that could make an avid Britney Spears fan consider rock in the same way Smells Like Teen Spirit and Jane Says, it's almost subversant in it's construction.
To top this off, there's a medley of great tunes that makes it worth buying the thing in the knowlege there aren't just lip service b-sides burning a hole in your pocket. Get it anyway you can.