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4.1 out of 5 stars24
4.1 out of 5 stars
Format: Audio CD|Change
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on 16 February 2003
This will aways be compared to Billy Corgan's previous band, the Smashing Pumpkins, and in fairness, Mary Star may be exactly how they would have sounded had the Machina albums been any good. The drumming, courtesty of Pumpkins drummer Jimmy Chamberlain, is pure Pumpkins, while new guitarists Pajo and Sweeney seem to have inherited James Iha's lyrical guitar threads throughout the album.
But to judge Mary Star in its own right, it is a fine record, so upbeat and happy that after a few listens it leaves you will a smile whenever you think of the songs. And with titles like 'Endless Summer' and 'Baby, let's Rock', it would be hard not to.
As an album with Corgan's stamp all over it, of course it veers from cringable cheeziness to genius, but is still by some way the best Corgan album since Mellon Collie, and with several radio-friendly, uplifting, almost 'pop' songs, Mary Star has the potential to set Zwan off on a course that might make them more commercially successful than the Pumpkins ever were.
I was very pleasantly surprised. Definitely worth a look.
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on 24 April 2003
I first heard of the band & was a little excited at the prospect of Billy returning,I thought he'd just spoil his repuatation.However, upon hearing the album I now know I was wrong, very wrong!
This is like all Pumpkins albums a long one but thats were the simalarities end.You can only hear a glimpse of the pumpkins style in some solos and a few riffs.This is very orignal & very different to the pumpkins.Lyric is a great exapmple of what the rest of the album is about,pop-punk-rock.
My favourite song is def Jesus I/Mary Star of the Sea a 14 min. long genuis song which hits the listner in all the right places.
Look Iam rambling just get the album & decide for yourself
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on 25 March 2003
Mary Star of the Sea is a wonderful album, full of meangingful lyrics and happy tunes. There is not a bad song on it, but among the best is the calm 'Of A Broken Heart' and 'Baby Lets Rock!'.
Zwan are obviously going to be compared to The Smashing Pumpkins, by their millions of fans who have not forgotten. This album is a lot happier than Billy Corgan's previous stuff, but it has not dropped. For those who wish to see a second pumpkins, you will not. They are just as good, but they are slightly different.
This is a promising band full of many a gifted artist and I can safely say that they will go very far.
Good on ye Billy
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on 30 January 2003
This is an excellent album. After the disappointing pretension and bluster of the Smashing Pumpkin's final commercially released album Machina, the bright, upbeat melodies of frontman Corgan's new band are a breath of fresh air. The vocals are still somewhat of an acquired taste, although he does display a more impressive range than usual. The music itself is extremely accomplished and varied rock, and has the potential for more widepread appreciation than the Pumpkins' latter work. There is a DVD bundled with the US release (I'm not sure if the UK release has it or not) that showcases a lot of live tracks that are not on the main album. Although a lot of the accompanying features are weird, the overall package is excellent value for money. I have found it difficult to pick any favourite tracks, they are all so good. And I rarely say that about any album.
This one comes highly recommended. The Smashing Pumpkins are dead. Long live Zwan!
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on 3 February 2003
I'm sure nobody would even consider buying this album if they weren't a Pumpkins fan already. I was a bit worried- wanting it to have all that I love about the Pumpkins but worried that it would seem too much like them in Disguise. Well it does both. This album has all the Corgan Charm I love so much about SP but it's clearly a move away from the later stuff with the massive riffs reminiccent of Gish days combined with a whole new flavour. Definately highly recommended.
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on 3 May 2008

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on 21 May 2003
Zwan aren't the most fashionable thing around. They don't sound like The White Stripes, they don't record their albums in a week in someone's shed, they don't sing about what they go to school for or indeed, about sk8er bois. What do they sing about? Jesus, endless summers and being in love. They are, to the most prudent Smashing Pumpkins fans a load of pretentious pretenders. But what's being overlooked here is The Pumpkins, before they split weren't exactly a major force themselves. They didn't split up, they just stopped being important and faded away. Good riddance.
Don't get me wrong. I was a huge Smashing Pumpkins fan as well, but this album, which I bought on whim, took me by surprise. I was expecting an average album, with maybe a couple of good singles and the rest some peculiar art-rock filler (Machina anyone?), and I didn't get it. I got Mary Star Of The Sea, the finest Billy Corgan album I've heard. Each song just a dream, take Endless Summer, Honestly, Lyric and the gorgeous Yeah!, did he make songs as downright catchy and melodic as consistently in the Pumpkins? Did he balls. So James Iha has split, and D'Arcy has been replaced by some other woman. So what? It was always The Billy Corgan Show anyway. This is effectively The Smashing Pumpkins, freezeframed at their most sparkling, think a whole album full of Todays and 1979s, with a slightly more Religious undercurrent.
This is possibly the finest pop record of 2003. Whether this means they'll be able to deliver more of the same is doubtful. But for now, considering it's come from nowhere, this seems like more than enough.
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on 16 February 2003
With "Mary Star Of The Sea" Corgan has turned in his best album since the Pumpkin's epic "Mellon Collie" opus in '95. This really is a return to form for the much derided "baldie tw*t in a dress"!
Obviously having worked with New Order on their last album has had a big impact on Corgan and his new Zwan project. In fact, the Mancunians influence is all over "Mary Star Of The Sea", paticularly "Settle Down", which sounds like the long lost half-brother of New Order's "Ceremony".
Another big surprise is just how content and happy Corgan suddenly sounds. Themes of love, sunshine and endless summers abound on what are, essentially, some of his most melodic moments to date.
It can be difficult not to hear Corgan's distinctive snarly voice and immediately think of the Smashing Pumpkins, however his Zwan band are distinctly more indie than the metal inspired Pumpkins.
It's hard to find much to fault on this album. So, ok, the title track may drag on a little and the cover art may be a little too 70's art college...but with fantastic tracks such as "El Sol", "Lyric", "Honestly" and the aforementioned "Settle Down", Zwan could become the surprise package of 2003!
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on 23 February 2015
decent album, talented artist
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on 9 October 2003
right. the smashing pumpkins were an amazing, and epic band. their brilliance stemmed from each of their song having a particular hook or section to it that was just aurally wonderful. examples of this are Soma, Luna and Hummer on Siamese Dream and Porcelina of the Vast Oceans and many others on Melon Collie.
do not get me wrong, this album is nice. but that's all it is. its a good 1st listen, but there's no depth to it. sometimes there are so many layers of guitar, that the song is almost overwhelmed by sound. not a good thing. what Billy has tried to do, is to combine all of these wonderful bits into 1 album and into every song on the album. the songs are simply too 'in your face' and do not have the subtle grace and beauty of a great many Pumpkin songs.
if your looking for musical depth and intrigue, go for Siamese Dream by the Smashing Pumpkins.
I felt pretty disappointed after listening to this album.
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