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39 of 42 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Very Good Pumpkins album
People have been lining up to have a pop at Zeitgeist, including a ridiculous amount on here who penned reviews based on hearing the first (and poor) single, hearing a couple of dodgy live outtakes or obtaining, (cough) "an advance copy" (cough).

It's easy to have a pop at Billy Corgan. He wears his heart on his sleeve and has done a complete u-turn on his...
Published on 22 July 2007 by Mookie

versus
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A 4 star album, a 1 star "Special Edition"
I've given Zeitgeist 4 stars on the review against the standard edition.

This Special Edition is best avoided - it just isn't worth the money. For the extra dough you get:

- The same album, no musical extras.

- The exact same artwork, though packaged into some arty photo-album format. It's actually quite naff.

- Erm....that's...
Published on 31 July 2007 by Mookie


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39 of 42 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Very Good Pumpkins album, 22 July 2007
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Zeitgeist (Audio CD)
People have been lining up to have a pop at Zeitgeist, including a ridiculous amount on here who penned reviews based on hearing the first (and poor) single, hearing a couple of dodgy live outtakes or obtaining, (cough) "an advance copy" (cough).

It's easy to have a pop at Billy Corgan. He wears his heart on his sleeve and has done a complete u-turn on his millenium 'rock is dead' rhetoric. His notorious 'artistic temperament' makes him an easy target and always will do. That said, he remains the one true survivor of the early 90s US alt-rock scene, (now that Pearl Jam have well and truely gone down the mainstream route with their sub-U2 latest offering and Rolling Stones support slots) and i'd suggest his longevity is in no small part down to his willingness to try new things and experiment with new sounds. For me he stands alongside Cobain as the only 2 real talents of that scene.

So to Zeitgeist. Id dispel the 2 most common criticisms thus:

"It isn't Mellon Collie / Siamese Dream"

- Of course it isn't. Since when did the Pumpkins EVER try to recreate previous albums? This was the band that issued a double album that went 13 times Platinum in the US alone, then followed it with a complete musical right turn to the 80s electronica-inspired Adore - a superb album, if commercially unsuccessful.

"It's only Billy and Jimmy, therefore not the Smashing Pumpkins"

- Siamese dream was written and performed almost exclusively by BC and JC as well. Let's face it, although we miss them D'Arcy and James Iha were always the Pumpkins' window dressing.

So forget bemoaning the fact BC and JC aren't still stuck in the 1990s and instead enjoy a record that shows flashes of sublime quality of the type many of today's overhyped young pretenders would give their right arm to be able to produce.

"Bleed The Orchid" is a Pumpkins classic that would sail effortlessly onto any 12-track 'Best Of'. The poppy "Bring The Light" would sit astride many a popular radio playlist were it being performed by The Killers or Razorlight. "Doomsday Clock" and "United States" are OTT, loud and just plain evil tunes. Corgan's ear for glorious melody is fully intact on Starz, Pomp & Circumstance and That's The Way (My Love Is). In true Pumpkins fashion the album is over-long and contains a couple of filler tracks that could've easily been left off the final cut. Most disappointing is the bizarre decision to release different editions of the album with different bonus tracks exclusive to each. A pretty poor show, especially when 2 of the bonus tracks "Gossamer" and "Stellar" are amongst the strongest tunes from the Zeitgeist sessions. Both should've made the 12-track (at the expense of Tarantula and Neverlost i'd suggest). You've done yourselves no favours there, guys.

Overall this is a damn good album. It sits comfortably within the Pumpkins catalogue and shows there plenty of life in the old dog yet.

Long may they rumble on.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gets better with each listen; a real grower., 18 July 2007
By 
Mr. Mj Williams "Matt" (London) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Zeitgeist (Audio CD)
I, like many of the other reviews that I have read, was not overly impressed with this album when I first heard it. This was a huge disappointment to me as Zeitgeist was one of my most anticipated albums since I had first heard of the reunion.
I really liked Tarantula and Doomsday Clock, but nothing else stood out. However, I kept wanting to listen to it and I'm thankful to say that after about 6 or 7 listens, I really like it now, and it stands up well against their back catalogue. I always thought Machina was a bit of let down, bar a couple of classics such as Everlasting Gaze and Stand Inside Your Love. This is a return to form in terms of consistency. Every song is strong apart from United States which, despite some good moments, is a bit of a self indulgent dirge. My highlights are Doomsday Clock, 7 Shades of Black, Tarantula and Bring The Light, which contains some wonderful guitar, powerhouse Chamberlin drumming, and great tempo changes. Doomsday Clock and 7 Shades of Black are two heavyweight old school Pumpkins rockers, and Tarantula hears Corgan's sublime screeching guitar return after an absence of far too long. There are still moments of Corgan's mellower more romantic side with the likes of That's The Way (My Love Is), which is in the vein of Zwan, which is not such a bad thing in my opinion. Corgan's willingness to experiment is still evident in For God and Country and Pomp and Circumstances. These two tracks require the most patience, but are rewarding in the end.
The album has been criticised as not being a true Pumpkins record due to the absence of Iha and D'arcy, but the fact that it is well documented that the Pumpkins masterpiece Siamese Dream was almost solely recorded by Corgan and Chamberlin renders this criticism void. Zeitgeist doesn't reach the sublime heights of Siamese Dream or it's excellent successor Mellon Collie, but it is still a worthy addition to your Smashing Pumpkins collection.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Back on form, 10 Oct 2007
This review is from: Zeitgeist (Audio CD)
It has been a while since the smashing pumpkins made a truly great album (probably since melon collie) so I didnt expect much when I saw it advertised. However I was wrong to think they had lost their talent for making music. Zeitgeist, for me, was a brilliant album. Lively and well crafted all round. Highlights for me included tarantula, doomsday clock and united states. It is hard to say whether other people will like it though because the smashing pumpkins have tried so many different styles of music over the time. If you liked their earlier rock stuff however then you should like this album.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A 4 star album, a 1 star "Special Edition", 31 July 2007
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I've given Zeitgeist 4 stars on the review against the standard edition.

This Special Edition is best avoided - it just isn't worth the money. For the extra dough you get:

- The same album, no musical extras.

- The exact same artwork, though packaged into some arty photo-album format. It's actually quite naff.

- Erm....that's it.

Pretty poor im sure you'll agree. If you're going to release a special edition at least ensure there's something 'special' about it. Otherwise you're just ripping fans off.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I'm in touch with you, 3 Aug 2007
By 
E. A Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
The Smashing Pumpkins are back. The legendary rock band, which blossomed like a dark rose in the musical wasteland of the 1990s.

Okay, only frontman Billy Corgan and drummer Jimmy Chamberlin have returned from the original lineup, and the absences can be detected. But their return album "Zeitgeist" is still worthy of epic praise -- dark, passionate hard-rock, written with a darkly poetic sweep. Too bad the extra material isn't so good.

The drums smash, the bass roars like unleashed tornado. "Is everyone afraid?/Is everyone ashamed?/They're running towards their holes to find out/Apocalyptic thieves/Are lost amongst our dead," Corgan drawls, telling us a story of gas masks, Kafka and fear.

It's followed with the roiling rocker "7 Shades of Black," with the level of depression you'd expect ("And without peer/And without fear/I'm without anyone at all!"). Then it pours into a series of blazing hard-rockers -- soaring grimy epics, buzzing and cascading bass rockers, a stripped-down melodic tune, and the soaringly exquisite "Pomp and Circumstances," which is only marred by Corgan singing "la la la la..."

"Zeitgeist" probably won't be gently compared to the Pumpkins' earlier classics, especially since it doesn't have James Iha and D'arcy Wretzy from the original lineup -- valuable talents both. But taken on its own virtues, it's brilliant hard-rock -- epic, dark, and with moments of sheer poetry woven into the stormy music.

If I had a main complaint, it would be that the softer songs are rare here, and that the bass doesn't have that epic quality in some of the songs. But Corgan is blazingly passionate in his playing, layering and building a storm of driving guitar and fuzzy bass. He pushes on the fiery melodies of each song, with Chamberlin smashing the drums beside him. These guys sound kinetic.

And Corgan's nasal voice sneers and drawls through the harder songs, but he can also sound wistful and tender, like when he sings, "that's the way my love is." And he pours plenty of passion into his songs, which seem to balance out between the happy and sad -- on one side, a crumbling, bitter apocalypse, and on the other, "no shadows follow me unsung."

Some of his songs aren't up to par lyrically, like "God and Country." But Corgan spins his weird poetry in other songs, like the the ethereal "Pomp and Circumstance": "Torn, broken and frayed/Oh don't we face/War, sunshine and grace/Oh won't you stay/For a while/We can fail in style..."

The special edition of "Zeitgeist" also comes with a eightyish-page booklet, but to be perfectly honest, the booklet is kind of pointless. It's primarily filled with arty photographs -- Paris Hilton in front of a burgeoning nuclear explosion, a grim reaper on the presidential podium, a Roman soldier, coffins, and quite a few others. They're interesting photos, but not really worth exerting yourself for, and they don't reveal much about the album itself.

The Pumpkins aren't quite all they once were here, but Corgan and Chamberlin are enough to make "Zeitgeist" a brilliant hard-rock album with some vintage flourishes. Just take it for itself, with no comparisons.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Raw, solid comeback album., 23 Mar 2009
This review is from: Zeitgeist (Audio CD)
This album had suffered at the hands of many old-school SP fans who have condemned it as being not much more than a Billy Corgan solo effort. (He wrote and performed nearly the entire record, with only other returning member Jimmy Chamberlain on drums.)But when this album is treated with patience, it is well worth listening to.

The first half of the album is largely made up of heavy rockers and stadium-sized ballads. Opening track Doomsday Clock gets the ball rolling with a drum intro and a blast of guitar distortion. It carries an apocalyptic theme that carries through most of the album. Tarantula is a similar song, only the lyrics opt for a lighter subject matter.

Among the best on the record is the stadium rock song Bleeding The Orchid, where the heaviness is let up for a softer affair that still packs a punch. Starz is almost reminiscent of the kind of unique kookiness that the Pumpkins carried on the notable album Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. The centre of the album is comprised of the 10-minute epic United States, a slow burner at first, but with repeated listens it becomes one of the strongest tracks, with its thundering drum beat and heavy riffs.

The second part of the album carries across similar themes. Although also being solid, this half is not quite as impressive as the first. Neverlost's melodic hum and God and Country's war criticism are probably the highlights here.

Throughout Corgan uses his typically unique love-or-loathe vocals, and his lyrics are decent, albeit unusual at times. Guitar-wise he also has some nice ideas, although nothing revolutionary. Chamerlain's drumming is easy to hear, even if you weren't aware that he featured, his distinct, pounding beats are given a good production job.

In conclusion, it may not be as good an album as Siamese Dream of Mellon Collie, but Zeitgeist can easily be seen as a successful comeback by the Pumpkins with half the previously available staff on hand. It's a raw and anthemic album with a good, back-to-basics production that was much needed after the electronic experiments of Machine/Machines of God. It should stand the test of time as a good, solid rock album.
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4.0 out of 5 stars plus ce change plus ce meme chose, 5 Dec 2008
By 
This review is from: Zeitgeist (Audio CD)
Billy has a massive ego; the lyrics are more obvious in their self-centeredness than before; he does all the production and instrumentation himself - something he's always been more comfortable with - and together with the Pumpkins having had a long hiatus, the album sounds more another solo effort than something the original line-up would've put out.

The title is slightly contractory as it is perceived as fear for runaway terror and alienation and a drowning America yet the themes he visits on most of the songs reinforce our knowledge of his own neuroses and isolation more so than ever. It is a streamlining of ideas.

I read Billy was into heavily produced post-punk, goth rock and new wave among other things. The Pumpkins toured with shoegaze bands and were friends with some of them. Early songs featured these influences, and on Zeitgeist there is a definite air of electric fuzz, again more apparent than on any other album. His voice is right up in the mix, deliberately indicating less of a layered metal attack (which is what you hear first) and more of a thick fog of shoegaze plasma. This is most evident in the contrast between the first few tracks which are heavy and packed and the effective climax in and at the end of United States, which unlike in Machina, where Heavy Metal Machine did not succeed, works well here. Justin Broadrick of Napalm Death/Godflesh had the same tactic in his new band, Jesu.

One thing that remains and is built on is the Pumpkins tendency to make things over the top. They have always danced in commedia dell'arte and thankfully that has not evaporated as years ago it helped build their image as goths and garner new fans. Zeitgeist has also picked up the Springsteen-esque party vibe that the wonderful Zwan's Mary, Star of the Sea had, reminding us that while Billy may appear to take himself seriously at all times, we must remember that he is also being serious when he is playing at being a silly-billy.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Album I have heard in the past decade, 2 July 2007
Wow!

When I firsty started playing this album a few days ago I approached it with some skepticism. Some of Billy Corgans recent work including "The Future Embrace" and Machina has been ok but has not blown me away like Mellon Collie and Siamese dream did.

This album exceeded all expectations and is up there at the same level as Siamese Dream / Mellon Collie. Maybe not quite as good but it comes very close.

Favourites are 7 shades of black, Bleeding the Orchid, Starz, United States, Bring the Light and Pomp and Circumstance but all of them are good. There is not one filler on this album.

United States is an epic song, the drumming is fantastic and the ending was just outstanding.

Pomp and Circumstance is very strange. First listen I didn't really get it as it was so far removed from anything the Pumpkins have done before but now I am really enjoying it. It makes me feel like I am floating in a space ship.

People have criticised their decision to release 4 different albums but this has not merit. Have these people forgotten that they actually released their last album before they split up in 2000 on the internet for FREE?? Also, it is Reprise / Warner Bros that should be criticised for it is them that makes these types of marketing decisions and also it is a bonus track at no extra price. They will all be available in other places as well I am sure. Death from Above is already available on the Tarantula single.

This CD, once released, will be in my CD player for a long long time. One of the best albums I have heard in 10-15 years and I am not just saying this because I am a fan. I was heavily critical of Machina and TFE. Billy Corgan still has a genius ability to write some of the most powerful rock music out at the moment. They don't follow trends, they set them.

I find it hard to put into words how much I love this album - it is simply stunning.
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3.0 out of 5 stars return to form, 5 April 2010
By 
P. J. Jones (Hereford, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Zeitgeist (Audio CD)
I stopped buying Smashing Pumpkins albums after Machina. Frankly, I was so disappointed with all their albums after the amazing Siamese Dream that I wished I hadn't bothered. What had happened to the wonderful guitar led songs of the band? It seemed as though the whole sound had been sacrificed for one, Billy Corgan, and his lyrical ramblings. Siamese Dream was a classic, the sum of equal parts from a band oozing confidence and dynamism. In all honesty, I find Corgans voice the least impressive contribution to their overall power. That having been said, Zeitgeist, is something of a return to form, an echo of that previous grandeur. There's still no real comparison, how can there be without the wonders of James Iha's brilliant guitar, but at least it is recognizeable as a Smashing Pumpkins album in the same vein, despite the fact that all instruments are played by Corgan except drums. So if you too have given up on them, give this album a listen. It's nowhere near as good as Siamese Dream but it's not bad.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Siamese Dream was 14 years ago, get over it people!!, 13 July 2007
By 
This review is from: Zeitgeist (Audio CD)
Zeitgeist hits the mark with enough of that Pumpkins passive aggressive sound still remaining intact after all these years, courtesy of Chamberlain's distinctive jazz trained hands and Corgan's heavy but never cliche'd fret work.
There's a few filler's on here but what SP LP doesn't have them (except for the sublime Gish)?
If you only bought Mellon Collie then you might not "get it" the first few spins, but it'll get you in the end!
Interesting to note that a few have said its not as good as Siamese Dream because D'arcy and James aren't there. The fact is, Siamese Dream was largely a Corgan - Chamberlain recording, as is this!
All we need now is a new album from the Pixies and I'll die a happy man!
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Zeitgeist
Zeitgeist by Smashing Pumpkins (Audio CD - 2007)
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