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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
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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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on 31 March 2002
With such an unusual band as The Smashing Pumpkins, a greatest hits compilation never sounded such a brilliant idea to me. The main problem with this greatest hits record is that it obviously focuses on singles and, as most true fans will tell you and as some other reviewers have pointed out, the Pumpkins' best moments were usually not the blockbusting singles but hidden away in the middle of albums. I say "usually" because that's really not the case with their first two albums and therefore I can't really complain with "Siva," "Rhinocerus," "Today," "Cherub Rock" or "Disarm." The lovely "Drown" is an unexpected treat aswell but I am a bit crushed that "I am one" and the brilliant "Rocket" (Which WERE both singles by the way) have been left out.
"Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness" was probably the highpoint of the Pumpkins' career and if I were compiling this album it would probably be at least a third of "Mellon Collie." In spite of the albums colossal size (over two hours and 28 tracks) you'd be hard pushed to find anything that I would call filler. "Tonight, tonight," "1979" and especially "Zero" are absolute gems but the albums hidden treasures: "Galapogos," "Porcelina of the vast ocean," "Where boys fear to tread," "X.Y.U" and loads of others really should be on this disc aswell.
The album "Adore" had some lovely stuff on it but was a slightly hit-and-miss affair with some great melodies getting lost under waves of electronica. It sometimes works but on "Ava Adore" it kinda flops. "Perfect" and "Eye" are much better but two of the best "Adore" tracks: "To Sheila" and "Behold the nightmare" have been left out (Particularly annoying because at this stage the compilers really should have realised that the Pumpkins were a commercial failure from "Adore" onwards so they should have stopped looking for non-existant "greatest hits" and picked the best songs instead.)
Everyone I know pretty much hates "Machina" but for me it was another high-point. "Stand inside your love" is one of the best tracks on this album and again, it's a shame there wasn't room for "Heavy Metal Machine," "This time" and "Wound."
By far the biggest crime is committed towards the end of the album. "Machina 2" was a fitting swan song for the Pumpkins and it's pretty criminal that only one track (and not the best track either) makes it onto the disc while bruising heavy metal such as "Dross" and "Cash car star" get the cold shoulder.
One of my fellow reviewers got it exactly right in that this should have been a double disc compilation because as it is, this is an album which tries to cram everything the Pumpkins were about onto one disc; a task almost impossible to pull off. If you have anything more than a casual interest in the Smashing Pumpkins then for heaven's sake save up and get the proper albums. You'll not regret it.
P.S yes the bonus disc sucks too
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on 23 November 2001
Devoted Pumpkins fans are likely to say that their favourite songs Corgan has penned are those that stayed well out of the limelight. Though I agree with this, this does not diminish the sheer quality of this album, a collection of their singles and other highlights.
Bringing together classics from the psychedelic Rhinoceros and the grungy Cherub Rock to the electronic Eye and Ava Adore, the 1st CD gives a great overview of what the band achieved. Listening in order also puts Corgan's versatility on display - he has never ceased to progress his music. Quite simply great music allround that has artistic merit and a degree of mass appeal.
The 2nd CD is certainly more of a treat for die-hard fans. Though some tracks will have wide appeal (such as Slow Dawn and Set The Ray To Jerry), the material here will be more attractive to those who have known The Smashing Pumpkins' music through the ages. Featuring several new tracks, from the superb 'My Mistake' to the frankly abysmal 'Because You Are', it's a must for all true fans.
I should imagine that the majority of people to snap up this double CD will be long devotees of the band... but the first CD (available separately) is something for everything, and a fitting homage to a truly great, great band.
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on 16 September 2005
This album is full of fantastic songs.. if you don't know the pumpkins, I STRONGLY reccommend buying this.. if you already have all the albums, id still go for it! It has had a huge effect on my life.. with many of the songs featuring on 'the soundtrack to my life' so to speak! Tonight, tonight and disarm are going to play at both my wedding and my funeral! There are such a range of songs here.. there are the more aggressive altern songs which are amazing (especially when driving.. ZERO.. bullet with butterfly wings..ooooh yeh!), and there are equally some beautiful tracks like Perfect, Disarm, Stand Inside Your Love and many more. I have strong feelings for almost every song on this album so it's hard to specify but I honestly feel this album offers a section of the pumpkins for everyone.. this will actually appeal to pretty much anyone who enjoys rocktype music! My love for the pumpkins extends far beyond this compelation as I do have all the source albums.. and there are some songs which are sadly missed out.. for example Soma and Mayonnaise! However.. it is still amazing, everyone I know who has it has got obsessed with it very quickly! I have been obsessively listening to it on/off for many years and I am not atall sick of it.. it's my driving music right now actually! I love it.. get it!!!!
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on 19 November 2001
This can only be summed up in one way: genius! Everyone, whether a Pumpkins fan or not, knows of their intense songs and original stylings, and this greatest hits compilation shows of all of their best pieces. Rotten Apples, the first cd, would have been fine on its own. It has all of their best songs, including classics like Bullet With Butterfly Wings and Today, along with the smashing (no pun intended) final single, Untitled. So, alone Rotten Apples is truely stunning. But then you get to the second disc: Judas O. This is a collection of the best B-Sides that they have ever made and is a perfect addition to an already perfect greatest hits album!!! Buy Buy Buy!!!!
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on 29 January 2002
Well firstly I should confess, I own every album the Pumpkins have released so I was already a fan.
The Greatest Hits collection spans all of these albums and as greatest hits albums go, it's a good one. There are so many great Pumpkins tracks that there were always going to be a couple of omissions but on balance this collection is a good one.
What you don't really get from this album is just how they evolved over time (check out the Greatest Hits Video to do this ! Fantastic). Gish is a fairly straight forward rock album, Siva being a good example yet the beautiful Rhinocerous the gem of Gish hints at what was to come.
Today and Disarm from Siamese Dream show how I power ballad should be written while Cherub Rock remains a favourite for many fans.
The best Pumpkins album for me is Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, a massive double CD collection which spans all types of music. On this collection you get the power of Butterfly with Zero with the pop rock of Tonight Tonight and 1979.
Ava adore and Perfect from Adore follow. Adore is a much more melodic album and i'd have loved to have seen For Martha on here. The final album was back to a mix of power and melody and so it is here with Everlasting Gaze and Stand Inside your Love.
The Judas O collection of B sides is interesting for Pumpkins fans but for those not already attached this Cd may be a disappointment lacking any truly memorable tracks.
All in all a great summary of the Smashing Pumpkins work underlining what a shame it is that Corgan has called time on the band.
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on 17 November 2001
From my own experience people fall into one of two categories when it comes to the Smashing Pumpkins. The first being the section of the population who detest this band and anything to do with them. Whether it be Billys vocals , their naval gazing temperament or their unwillingness to conform to what "rock" music is supposed to be in this day - they just don't want to know!
On the other side you have people who simply love this band above any other. The people who admire the bands ability to change sonically from a whisper to wall of noise in one note and then back again to a calm before you know what hit you. That's just one of many reasons that make this band great and won't mention any others because when it comes to the Pumpkins either already get it or you don't.
Similar to the band this collection titled "Rotten Apples" is a contradiction in itself. This double CD is called a "greatest hits" album but truth be told the Pumpkins never really had any hits! In fact other than "Disarm" or "Tonight Tonight" the band never had a top 10 entry in the UK - which, judging by the amount of rubbish filling the music charts should be taken by you the reader as a badge of honour.
Also it would be unfair to call this album "the best of the pumpkins" because its not. Just ask anyone who's gone out there and bought this bands music to tell you what their favorite Pumpkins songs are and you'll get very different selections of to the ones that appear on this disc.
So on the face of it this album in itself might seem ill advised venture? Fortunately it merits its existence with a bevy of rare (and not so rare tracks) that were not included in the bands five "official" albums between 1991 and 2000.
So what about Rotten Apples itself? Well it gains a point straight away by playing as any honest "best of" album would i.e. in chronological order. It starts with two tracks from Gish ( Siva, Rhinoceros) before three tracks from the LP that broke the band "Siamese Dream" (Cherub Rock, Today, Disarm).
Next comes four from the album that arguably made the pumpkins the biggest band in the world for the year of 1996, namely Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness (Bullet With Butterfly Wings, 1979, Zero, Tonight, Tonight).
After this is a couple of cuts from the underrated Adore (Ava Adore & Perfect) until finally three tracks from their final "official" album Machina (The Everlasting Gaze, Stand Inside Your Love, Try, Try, Try) see out this collection.
Interspersed with these on Disk 1 are four tracks that most fans may not have (for one reason or another). These are namely "Drown" from the soundtrack of Cameron Crowes grunge pic Singles (1992) & "Eye" which comes off the soundtrack to David Lynch's 1997 movie the Lost Highway.
The other two valuable tracks are "Real Love" which came with the downloadable Machina 2 "Friends and Enemies of modern music" album & finally the imaginatively titled "Untitled" which feels like an early pumpkins song fused with their later direction. An interesting listen in itself to a collection that would be worth buying on its own!
But it is the second disk which will be of most fascination to pumpkins fans. Tentatively titled "Judas O" it contains an array of goodies that only the most obsessive fans out there could claim to already have.
By my count only 4 of the 16 these tracks on the second disk have been released as b-sides namely "Set The Ray To Jerry, Aeroplane Flies High, Believe & Marquis in Spades".
The rest have been taken from the downloadable album MACHINA 2 (Lucky 13, Saturnine, Slow Down, Here's To The Atom Bomb) or are now previously unreleased* material (Because You Are, Sparrow , Waiting,Rock On , Winterlong ,Soot And Stars, Blissed And Gone, My Mistakes).
In conclusion, this title is well worth buying but then again if you are a pumpkins fan then I wont need to convince you of this. Anyone else will probably just go on dismissing this band until the cows come home whilst you'll sit there polietly smiling at them as they tell you every reason under the sun why this band suck. Their loss really! Nothing like consistency in a world gone mad!
* Note: by unreleased I mean one or two were available as limited edition promos or demos but you'll be hard pressed to get your hands on them at this point in time.
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on 26 October 2001
Well what can I say about this band that hasn't been said already. Technically they are probably the finest rock musicians of the last 15 years, and Billy Corgan (along with a little help from James Iha) has written and recorded some of the most heartwarming, generation defining peices of music ever, "1979" and "Today" being two classic examples. Everyone has a favourite song of theirs that they treasure, mine is probably "Tonight, Tonight". This was the first full song on "Mellon Collie..." and it brought home to the world that The Smashing Pumpkins are one of the most diverse, visionary bands of our time. The sweeping string sections in this song really took my breath away and the melodies in this song really are something to behold. My favourite part is towards the end of the song when it all builds up to a crecsendo and then you are left with just Billy Corgans beautful melancholy vocals and a single suspended string harmony. Unbeleivable. You really have to hear it to beleive it. It's the sort of song that brings back all of the good memories and things that ever happened in your life, all the magic stuff you know? Well anyway this best of collection is all well and good for people who want a quick fix of everything Pumpkins, but if you really want some music history i suggest you go out and buy their albums. It's the only way you can do their music justice, by listening to all the sets as they were originally intended.
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on 6 January 2013
What a superb collection of Smashing Pumpkin hits, I love this band and always thought 'Melancholy and the Infinite Sadness' was one of the best albums ever cut, and this collection just confirms how good it was, lots of other gems too, it is ace.
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on 26 November 2001
I have always been aware of the Smashing Pumpkins of the influence they had on the US market and the continuing influence after there inevitable break-up last year. I was aware of the successful singles that sometimes pop up on MTV2; Today, 1979, Disarm and Tonight,Tonight. But having never bought one of their albums previously and watching a documentary on the band a few days ago it is clear how great a band they are and will remain to be. The collection Rotten Apples shows a clear increase of musical improvement technically and professionally. From their raw begins with 'Gish' (Siva) to the self-parodying 'Machina'; where a true metal classic like The Everlasting Gaze still maintains that uniqueness and Corgan trademark that sets them apart from other bands of the era. I bought the album last Wednesday and have listened to the album every day since, for the simple fact that both lyrically and musically it strikes something within you an emotional reaction that compels you to adore the music. A fine example is in Disarm when about 2 1/2 minutes in Corgan sings 'The killer in me, is the killer in you' at the same time as he sings these words, orchestral violins play the same words giving you the impression that if Corgan was absent the violins would still enstil the same emotion within you. The same magnificent work with strings is evident on Tonight, Tonight. And I defy anybody not to start jumping about the room when the bass-line to 1979 cranks up into a mild-mannered homage to New Order. All in all if you've never bought an album by them before but know the myth, like me you will be overwhelmingly pleased to discover that the Pumpkins weren't a metal band, but as close to Rock perfection there can be. An American band hold there own unique place in music history that will never be equalled.
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