on 16 January 2003
The Smashing Pumpkins were a band that continually evolved throughout their albums, and their fourth "proper" album is, in my opinion, their finest and most beautiful work. "Adore" may have been panned by the critics, and some fans consider it to be the worst of the band's efforts, admittedly it does take a few listens to really connect with the mood of the album. But once you recognise and appreciate the song's melancholy outlook, the album really enters another level.
"Adore" was recorded without the help of drummer Jimmy Chamberlain, who was asked to leave following his involvement in the death of a Pumpkin's tour musician. He was replaced with a drum machine, and therefore created a totally new sound for the Pumpkins, gone were the powerful, guitar-driven songs that made their previous three albums, and replacing it was far more electronica based music. "Adore" is a very somber album, it was written and recorded during the death of Billy Corgan's mother, and the band were beginning to sober up to the reality of rock and roll, songs such as "Blank Page" and "Annie-Dog" really reflect the bleak mood of the album. The two singles released off the album don't really show off the it's deflated feel, both "Ava Adore" and "Perfect" are fantastic examples of the Pumpkin's work, but they sound slightly disconnected with the rest of the album. The electronica influence really shines through tracks such as "Appels + Oranjes" and "Behold! The Nightmare", whilst more tender, intimate moments are reflected in "To Sheila" and "For Martha", an epic track which only the most ardent philistein can fail to fall in love with. The album ends with the mysterious "17", a strange seventeen-second long track which is slightly baffling, what it is meant to mean or reflect I don't know.
Despite the strange conclusion, "Adore" is the most touching and wonderful album that I have ever heard. Ignore whatever reviews that you have heard which slates this album, just listen to it and make up your own mind. "Adore" is not an album which will leave you dithering whether you like it or not, you'll either fall in love with it, or hate it. I personally regard it as not only the best album by the Smashing Pumpkins, but as the best album I have ever listened to. My copy has a slightly different track-listing, but I'm sure the copy advertised here won't fail to touch your hearts, it really is that good.
on 11 February 2011
The Smashing Pumpkins have so many great albums, but here's how I look at it. "Gish" was a smashing debut from a band at their purest, with raw production and sheer originality. "Siamese Dream" was the band at their most commercial, a concise, accessible album with lovely catchy tracks. "Mellon Collie..." was undoubtedly their masterpiece, showcasing the best of the bands various talents. This third album boasted some of their best grunge material like "Bodies", "Zero", "Muzzle" and "Bullet With Butterfly Wings", some of their best acoustic material like "Galapagos" and "Cupid de Locke" and some early examples of their electronically influenced music like the awesome "1979" and "Love".
However, "Mellon Collie" did have a lot of songs that I wasn't keen on like "Tonight, Tonight" (Overrated), "Porcelina" and "An Ode To Nothing". Also, as a double album with so many styles floating around it lacked the consistency of "Siamese Dream" or their excellent 4th album "Adore".
Simply put, "Adore" is my favourite Pumpkins album because of it's sheer style and consistency. Corgan's electronically influenced approach on Adore always appealed to me because I am a huge fan of electronic music. None-the-less, the style is certainly no gimmick and the album still offers a number of stripped down, solemn tracks typical of the band's previous albums. What is lacking however, is the band's original sound. Anyone with a purest attitude, would probably rather listen to raw, grunge-influenced albums like "Gish" or "Siamese Dream" which are so different to "Adore".
The Pumpkins were famed for reinvention, although I would argue that their career was successful more because of progression than reinvention. The reason I prefer "Adore" is because it represented the sound that I most associate with the band, namely; electronically-influenced, grungy soft-rock. You won't find tracks like "Perfect", "Ava Adore", "Appels and Oranjes", "Daphne Descends" or "Pug" on any other album. Even the softer tracks like "Dusty and Pistol Pete" and "Once Upon a Time" stand out due to the electronic production. Unfortunately, the band eventually progressed beyond "Adore" and made "Machina" where the tracks all started to sound very similar. Shame.
So, in conclusion, go and listen to the track "Appels and Oranjes" and then compare it to "Zero". If you prefer "Appels..." then go out and buy "Adore". Or try "Perfect", my favourite Pumpkins song ever.
on 3 March 2004
I'll admit that I wasn't sure about Adore at first. It was the second Pumpkins album I bought (after Mellon Collie) and I was expecting more of Billy Corgan's own brand of heavy metal. What I got, and what I soon learned to appreciate, is an album of rare beauty. Some of the lyrics (most to be honest) are as good as the work of any conventional poet - "I faced the fathoms in your deep, withstood the suitors' quiet siege, tore downs the heavens just to please you, to hold the flower I can't keep" is a perfect example.
The songs range from the almost sinister Ava Adore (watch with the video for full impact), to the dark, grief stricken Tear and Blank Page - one of the most haunting songs I've ever heard. Songs such as Perfect and Appels + Oranjes add just enough catchy pop to what is a lengthy, though not overly so, album. Other highlights include Behold! The Night Mare (see lyrics above) and the reverb drenched and downright scary Shame.
As a whole, Adore is a mixture of electronica and subtle acoustic tracks, with occasional moments of angry distortion. Jimmy Chamberlain's absence is noticable, but not necessarily detrimental (though he is one of the greatest drummers around!) and Billy Corgan's voice is noticeably better in comparison to earlier albums. It was always going to be hard to follow Mellon Collie, but Adore succeeds, both in sounding nothing like its predecessor, but also attaining the same heights. One of the best, and most underrated, alternative rock albums of the 90s, any fan of the genre should own Adore.
on 14 January 2002
If you are a fan of previous Pumpkins albums and donâ€™t think that you can open your mind out of the indie-rock origins of the band then prepare to be disappointed. Some of the songs on this album are almost revolutionary. Never before and never since I heard this album have I been so impressed with the completely original ability that this album has; the album has numerous songs (Perfect, Ava Adore, Apples + Oranges) which use fast, dancy, techno beats with slow heartfelt vocal. This mixture may not sound so fantastic but it works so well that this is one of the best albums that I have ever heard. I am a big fan of Melon Collie and the Infinite Sadness but this album has a groundbreaking edge that means that I rate it slightly higher. Track 14 (For Martha)â€¦
on 27 August 2001
They'd been around for years and the pumpkins released they're fith album, it came out and was a superb album, although there are a few songs that i dont like as much as the rest, though they are good songs. When the album came out it did not do well, despite the critics love of the album, the pumpkins appealed to a wider audience with this album than people who wished to bang there heads against brick walls, dont get me wrong i like moshing too, but I dont want to do it all the time. In this album Billy opens his heart, pours his soul all over the CD in the lyrics and the music, its a sensitive, mellow and in places, a sad album, and fits perfectly that time in Billy's life and what he was going through.
I guess this album brings the moment of truth to whats in the listeners heart, does he much like many wanabe moshas just want something to bang his head along to, or does he have a heart? I dont see how if you have a heart you can dislike this album, it is very powerful and it is very touching, and it does reflect the quiet songs on mellon collie, with just as much(if not more) feeling. I do feel if your a pumpkins fan , you should like the quiet and the loud songs, so if you do, then buy this, if you dont, then go elsewhere.
on 23 December 1999
A lot of people will disagree with this summary.Don't get me wrong, I love every song the Pumpkins have written, but after repeated listening some get a teensy bit tedious.Not on this album.Each song is a classic.From the aching acoustic meloncholy of 'For Sheila' to the dark goth-pop of 'Ava Adore' and the blissfully disturbing 'Annie Dog', this proves that The Smashing Pumpkins are one of the bands of the 90's.Although the high point has to be 'The Tale Of Dusty And Pistol Pete', an electronicoustic (i'm very proud of that phrase) masterpeice it is the aural equivilent of a runaway child staggering across the moors while the waves moan along the beach below.Or if you prefer, a desperatly romantic tale of anguish and inner demons.
on 27 February 2008
This is a strange album, and as a result of that strangeness I'm not entirely sure if it will still appeal to new listeners, or whether it really is just a throwback to the end of the late 90's alternative scene. It's certainly no way to follow up a huge, successful, double-album like Mellon Collie & the Infinite Sadness, with the band rejecting straight rock in favour of extended compositions drawing heavily on languid pianos, anachronistic 80's style synthesisers and lyrics that are shot through with a sense of bitterness and defeat. Listening to it today, for the first time in years, I was surprised at how highly a younger incarnation of myself must have rated this; especially given that it is (or was at the time) one of the priciest 'strange' albums ever to be released.
The band had garnered great critical and commercial success from their previous albums, Siamese Dream and the abovementioned Meloncollie. Being something of the dictator, Billy Corgan obviously decided that this success was a cementation of his ruler ship and decided that the band should create an album that dealt almost specifically with the break-up of his marriage and the loss of his mother. Secondly, drummer Jimmy Chamberlain had been kicked out of the band during a subsequent tour for heroin addiction and - with not enough time to replace him before the start of this recording - the band instead brought in a drum machine until a replacement drummer could be found (Matt Walker provides actual drumming on some of the tracks). Because of this, the album sounds like a throwback to Depech Mode's Violator LP with synths and drum loops all over the place, coupled with over-earnest lyrics that look at heartbreak & death (I suppose comparisons to the Cure could be made, circa Head on the Door and The Top).
Finally, the strain of the band under Corgan's dictatorship was becoming more and more apparent, with remaining members James Iha and Darcy contributing very little to the recording, whilst Corgan himself is rumoured to have played all the instruments himself. This isn't necessarily a bad thing though, what with Corgan's standing one of the better musicians to emerge from the so-called 'grunge'/alternative scene, but it does occasionally gives the album a stagnant, limited sound. It's also highly repetitive, with all the songs bleeding into one another until the point where they cease to hold any nuance of character or originality. As a result of this, the album ends up sounding, at times, as if it is just one long, repetitive, bleak 70-minute composition spread, out over one CD (or maybe this was the point).
Some of it is great; tracks like To Sheila, Ava Adore, Perfect, Crestfallen, Appels + Oranjes, Shame, For Martha and Blank Page, which, despite being terribly gloomy, represent Corgan at his very best. But did we really need songs like Pug, Once Upon a Time, The Tale of Dusty and Pistol Pete and Daphne Descends? In the early days, these tracks wouldn't have even been deemed worthy for their b-side compilations and yet here they are, mostly clocking in at 5 minutes + and featuring a style that never seems to change one little bit during their entirety. As others have said, there's a lot here to admire, for example, many of the stripped down lyrics that brim with emotion, the production and mixing; even Corgan's voice seems warmer and more human than ever before, but there isn't too much you can get behind and enjoy and come back to on a regular basis and feel transformed by.
A lot of Pumpkin fans hated this at the time because it was so stylistically different from the albums that came before, but for me, that's not the problem. The problem is simply: 'too long and too repetitive'. Like that old saying, when it's good it's very good... but when it's bad it's rotten might be something of an overstatement, but it seems to fit. And of course, it's nice to see a band experiment with their trademark sound, even if the results are far from groundbreaking. Because of songs like For Martha, Blank Page, Tear and Crestfallen, three stars really seems too low a rating. Then again, four seems to high. If anything, this album is a low-four/three and ½. Some will love it, others may feel indifferent towards it. At this current price it still seems a little steep. My advice is to try and seek it out in a bargain bin somewhere or failing that, borrow it from a friend.
on 5 October 2000
This album hailed a departure for the Pumpkins from their normal raw angry sound when they seemed intent on telling the world how much they hated it and everything in it, Adore reveals Billy Corgans softer side and his wish to let the world know he's not as miserable as he looks, full of lyrically powerful and some more traditional raw angry tunes this is a must for any real SM fan except perhaps for the spotty kids who want all music to be angry all the time just because they are too young to get laid!. "To Sheila" is my personal favorvite and I would recommend buyiing this album to anyone who likes good rock music
on 10 September 2000
This is perhaps one of the only Pumpkins albums i have heard where you do have to listen to the album more than once to like it. That is not to say however that it is a bad album, it is in fact a fantastic album with a few exceptions. Some of the songs do lack that extra kick from the guitar that makes Siamese Dreams and Melanchollie so excellent! But if you are a fan you certainly wont be dissapointed by some of the songs, Daphne descends and Appels + Oranjes to name a few, but if you aint heard the pumpkins start of on Siamese Dreams to really see why they are such a great band!
"Twilight fades/through blistered Avalon," is the ethereally dismal line that opens "Adore"'s first song, and sets the mood for the Smashing Pumpkins' quietest album, with the hard-rock guitars and percussion giving way to a gentler sound and some swippy electronica. It's not what you expect from the Pumpkins, but it's still enticing.
It opens with the lullaby-like "To Sheila," a shimmering little composition. Then Corgan stretches his music to include some symphonic, raw electronica in "Ava Adore," the fast "Appels + Oranjes," and the darkly shimmering "Daphne Descends." The saddening "Once Upon A Time" even sounds whimsical if you don't listen to the words, with that light melody and those bells.
Don't worry, the Pumpkins sound is retained in songs like the guitar-driven "Perfect," the hollow-sounding "Tear," and the balladic "Crestfallen." The second half sounds a little more acoustic and less electronic, with some lingering piano kicking off some of the songs. But lurking in the back is a hint of electronica that seeps in from time to time. One example is the haunting sounds at the back of "For Martha," a wrenching tribute to Corgan's late mother.
"Adore" is one of the most controversial Smashing Pumpkins albums -- rather than merely sticking to what he had already done, Corgan experimented with electronic music and melded it in. But the core of the music is the same -- pain and anger from the losses of life, the struggle with one's emotions, and finally letting go of that pain and anger.
Don't expect the Chemical Brothers in here -- Corgan's take on electronic music is dark, melancholy, almost gothic at times. Corgan's hard techno has its painful angles and corners, but in songs like "Crestfallen," he lets the smooth melody be carried off by sweeps of trip-hop. It adds a velvety sound to Corgan's already exceptional music.
It's saddening that the excellent Jimmy Chamberlin was not involved in "Adore," instead of the electric drumbeats. The guitar is still there, but it's a cloaked presence in most songs. Corgan's high voice is softened by the low-key songs he sings here. And his songwriting remains exceptional, vivid and emotional, like a poem set to music: "I can't go on, digging roses from you grave/to linger on, beyond the beyond/where the willows weep/ and whirlpools sleep, you'll find me..."
"Adore" is a dark, moody work that took quite some time to be fully appreciated by many fans. But despite its difference from other Pumpkins albums, it still strikes at the heart with its raw emotion. Rich and epic.