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This review is from: Rotten Apples, Greatest Hits (Audio CD)The Smashing Pumpkins were one of the greatest bands of the 90s, a mixture of dreamy pop and stark grungey metal, set against Billy Corgan's poem-like songwriting. And "The Smashing Pumpkins - Greatest Hits" almost lives up to its name -- there are one or two songs that don't quite fit here, but most of them are indeed the "Greatest" that the band produced.
The songs are pretty much arranged in chronological order, starting off with the hard-rocker "Siva" and heading off into the mixture of hard rock/metal, and eerie dreampop, climaxing with the rich offerings from "Mellon Collie And the Infinite Sadness." With the songs of "Adore," there's an obvious shift in tone, becoming a bit more gothic and less rockish, only to swing back in the slow-burning songs from "Machina," their swan song.
Long after disbanding, the Smashing Pumpkins are still a towering presence in rock -- they debuted in the era of Nirvana, but with a very different kind of music. Their creative use of basic instruments and Billy Corgan's rich songwriting made them much more complex and deeper than almost all rock bands of the time. And "Greatest Hits" follows them through the band's entire lifetime -- from their surprisingly polished debut to the panoramic "Mellon Collie" to their gothic art-rock.
The songs included on "Greatest Hits" are not just the most commercially known, but also several of the best -- "Ava Adore," "Siva," "1979" and "Tonight Tonight." An additional track is stuck on, "Real Love," but somehow it just isn't up to the standards of the other songs. It's nice, but not up to the level of the "Greatest" Smashing Pumpkins songs.
Corgan was without a doubt the creative center of the Pumpkins -- he wrote the songs, filling them with doubts, anger and anguish, and also provided some mind-blowing guitar riffs and his vocals. His high, reedy voice is woven well into the music, giving his poetic lyrics an unusually heartfelt quality. He's singing about love, death, bombs, loneliness in a metaphorical wasteland.
The guitar and bass provide sizzling soundscapes and dense walls of sound, while the percussion is complex and lightning-fast. At the same time, we get the sweeping dreampop (like the haunting "Rhinoceros") and gentler songs, where Corgan slows his guitar down to a gentle acoustic strum.
Rock doesn't get much more original than the Smashing Pumpkins, and several of their greatest hits -- both among fans and critics -- are compiled in "The Smashing Pumpkins - Greatest Hits." A good place for beginners, but also a good collection for fans.
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Initial post: 10 Dec 2012 15:34:19 GMT
Last edited by the author on 10 Dec 2012 15:41:24 GMT
This can never be the perfect Pumpkins hits record simply because it omits two crucial songs. They are the first single they put out on Sub Pop in 1989, I Am One and the 1997 BatMan movie theme The End Is The Beginning Is The End. Why they left out these two is perplexing, possible record company rights etc. But then they replace them with two mediocre songs like Real Love (when was this ever a single/hit???) and Untitled (ditto).
The Judas O second cd on earlier releases was a welcome bonus and is worth hunting for, although some may consider superfluous it does have some amazing hidden gems on it.
I would love to see Billy release some of their 80s Psycho Tapes Sessions which feature fantastic songs like My Dahlia and a proper live album with highlights of their entire 90s career. We are told that he intends to officially release Machina II which should be great with all the artwork/lyrics if included. Not sure about their later works though, i don't feel he's really added anything to the SP cannon, although there are a few good songs here and there.
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