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Mary Star Of The Sea

4.1 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (28 Jan. 2003)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: WARNER BROS
  • ASIN: B00007M84Q
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 70,465 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Lyric
  2. Settle Down
  3. Declarations Of Faith
  4. Honestly
  5. El Sol
  6. Of A Broken Heart
  7. Ride A Black Swan
  8. Heartsong
  9. Endless Summer
  10. Baby Let's Rock!
  11. Yeah!
  12. Desire
  13. "Jesus, I/Mary Star Of The Sea"
  14. Come With Me

Product Description

Amazon.co.uk

On initial hearing, Mary Star of the Sea by Zwan--Billy Corgan's first musical project after the Smashing Pumpkins--sounds light and breezy. His new bandmates-- Slint/Tortoise guitarist Dave Pajo, Skunk guitarist Matt Sweeney, A Perfect Circle bassist Paz Lenchantin and fellow Pumpkin Jimmy Chamberlain on drums--have given Corgan a fresh perspective and his time as touring guitarist for New Order seems to have heightened his love for mid-80s British indie. There are moments of straightforward jangle pop herein, while "Settle Down" reflects the moody angular style adopted by the likes of Interpol. He also appears to have fallen in love. "Honestly" has Corgan sighing "There is no place I could be without you…I feel love" like a newly reborn soppy fool. "Declarations of Faith" has him declaring "maybe we were born to love" to a gooey melody that recalls American Anglophile indie bands like Papas Fritas.

It's all a million musical and spiritual miles away from the messy pretension that led to the end of the Pumpkins. As the album progresses, though, Zwan merge this new perspective with the FM radio suss that characterised the best of the Pumpkins to produce a record that takes in 70s balladry and a 14 minute Spiritualized tribute (the title track) without feeling forced. There is even a nod to Britpop ("Baby Let's Rock!" is Suede pretending to be Menswear). It'll all end in tears, of course, but on this record Corgan's having the time of his life. --Ian Watson

BBC Review

Zwan is Billy Corgan's new band. The ex-Smashing Pumpkin has produced an album full of bright and breezy pop songs that are full of the joys of life. This is a back to basics record that will satisfy Pumpkin heads and should bring on board a whole new legion of fans.

Billy Corgan finally brought The Smashing Pumpkins to an end in 2000. The final couple of years of their illustrious career had been fraught with death, drug abuse and, with their last studio album Machina / The Machines Of God, critical and commercial failure.

To form Zwan Corgan called upon old friends Slint / Tortoise guitarist Dave Pajo, Skunk guitarist Matt Sweeney, A Perfect Circle bassist Paz Lenchantin and fellow Pumpkin drummer Jimmy Chamberlain. Together they've got the enthusiasm, excitement and vitality that all new bands possess. Combine that with years of experience and the invaluable ability to produce radio friendly pop songs and you have a winning team.

The 14 tracks on Mary Star of the Sea do sound like Smashing Pumpkins songs. Corgans nasal voice is instantly recognisable but it is the guitars that sound most familiar; sonic noises and guitar riffs that soar. As with classic Pumpkins albums, this record features heavy rock anthems ("Ride A Black Swan"), followed by more peaceful ballads ("Heartsong").

The album is jam packed full of great songs. "El Sol" is a beautiful indie track, "Yeah" is just plain cool and "Jesus I / Mary of the Sea" is a fantastic 14 minute epic roller coaster ride!

If you disliked the doom and gloom that was so characteristic of the Pumpkins later albums you have nothing to fear. Mary Star of the Sea is full of fun and simple happiness, even love. 'There is no place I could be without you...I feel love' sings Corgan in the superb "Honestly". You can sense the enjoyment the band had in making these bouncy pop songs. Beware; you won't be able to wipe the smile of your face.

Is it better or worse than The Smashing Pumpkins? Who cares, it sounds great and that's good enough for me. --Dan Tallis

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on 11 Feb. 2003
Format: Audio CD
... as far as atmosphere goes this is the furthest you'll ever get from the Pumpkins' goth-metal escapades that graced the end of their careers.
Summing up the album, the last Pumpkins single 'Untitled' wouldn't be at all out of place on this album - vintage happy Pumpkins style but with distinctly Machina tactics (i.e. the guitar noise).
People liken this new stuff to Siamese Dream but it's nothing like that at all - even though the album sounds obviously like Billy Corgan, Zwan seem to achieved their own sound. One major difference is that although the Pumpkins were a guitar-band, Zwan seem to focus more on vocals than guitar riffs. There are some cheese-rockers on here like 'Baby Lets Rock' 'El Sol' some harder rockers like 'Endless Summer' and the old melancholic Billy returning in songs like 'Of A Broken Heart' and 'Mary Star Of The Sea' (which are probably the best on the album, and my favourites).
The album takes a couple of listens but it is fantastic and is worth it for any Pumpkins fan, as Billy does not disappoint...even if it does sound like he's on happy pills :) plus...YOU GET FREE STICKERS WITH IT! =D
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Format: Audio CD
You need to listen to the album.... at least, 8 or 9 times to fully appreciate it.
The first time I listened to it, I thought to myself "This is basically another SMashing Pumpkins record"... But comparisons are always going to be made, especially with Billy Corgan. Over any type of melody, from metal, to acoustic, to electronica, you're always going to be reminded of the Pumpkins. You can't help it. It's Billy Corgan.
But after a number of listens, the hooks and melodies become catchier, the lyrics more comprehendable, each track a little more unique rather than one big sludge of guitared-power pop.
Bass driven melodies like "Endless Summer" will grab you first time, it's a lovely song, rocking guitars, nice hook. "Honestly" took me about... 10 listens to get into, for some reason I couldn't understand why it was chosen to be the lead single. It sounded like a mess of a song... but after a while it became clearer why, I couldn't stop singing the hook, and then I understood WHY that song was released first. "Lyric" is the highlight of the album and to be honest, it sounds like a Smashing Pumpkins song from start to finish. The melody is so obviously something that only Billy Corgan could sing, it's full of emotion, and the build up of guitars is fantastic.
Lyrics are a big part of any Billy Corgan release, and Zwan's debut album is no exception. Although they seem to be alot more simpler and 'happier' than anything from the Pumpkins, hints of Corgan's more mystical lyrics can be found in songs such as "Ride A Black Song", which is driven along by some hugely catchy riffage through the chorus. One of the good things about the album is the guitar melodies.. with three guitarists, you're bombarded from every angle, albeit by a solo or some power chords over the hook.
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Format: Audio CD
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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By A Customer on 8 Mar. 2003
Format: Audio CD
I first heard this album with no real knowledge of any of the Pumpkins old work, which may have been an advantage. The result was that I had no expectations, which led to me being competely blown away. This is probably the best debut album I have ever heard.
The opening track 'Lyric' is a sign of things to come, immediately setting the tone for a series of very upbeat and catchy tunes. Each track in turn offers something different, but the overall impression is that Corgan is at present a very happy man.
Zwan is a project that Billy didnt have to take part in, he had nothing left to prove to anyone, and could quite easily have damaged his reputation. The songs here though can only improve his reputation, especially as a lyricist. He is ably supported by the rest of the band who gel together as though this was their tenth album rather than their first. Each song is beautifully crafted, complete with ridiculously addictive choruses and brilliant guitar riffs.
The highlight is probably Jesus I/Mary Star of the Sea, a 14 minute masterpiece with some of the finest drumming ever recorded. Anyone who says this album is anything but brilliant is completely wrong, this is a work of genius and should be bought by anyone who has an interest in music. If you want something to wallow in your own self pity to then this is probably not for you but anyone else should love it. This is the way that music should be, cheery yet meaningful, upbeat and intelligent all at the same time.
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