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on 22 July 2007
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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on 9 October 2012
Who would think we'd have a new Pumpkins album in 2007, seven years after the band had, well, disbanded. Of course, the world knew Corgan would be reforming the band when he took out the full page adverstisement in the Chicago Tribune back in 2005, the same day his solo album TheFutureEmbrace, came out. That was the first time the public was aware of Corgan's intention to reform the band.

Apparently, it was also the first time the actual band members themselves had heard of it. According to James Iha, he hadn't spoken to Corgan in years, and D'arcy likewise was MIA. When it came to actually record the album, only Corgan and Jimmy Chamberlin, the Pumpkins drug-addict drummer (at least he was a druggy back in the 1990s), were on board.

So what does this all mean to the band's image and the public'c perception of the album? Note, I'm not talking about the actual music on ZIETGIEST, which is actually quite good.

Cynics felt Corgan was trying to cash in on the Pumpkins' name, since no one has really paid that much attention to his solo efforts, either with his one-off band Zwan, or his record FUTUREEMBRACE. People tend to dismiss ZIETGIEST out of hand, simply because it only features half the original band. Both cases (though there may be some truth to the first charge), are not really valid, or if they are valid, don't really effect one way or the other how the music actually sounds, or diminishes the Pumpkins' legacy in the least.

Now, some bands can survive personnel changes. Some can't. The Doors couldn't survive Jim Morrison's death, even though they they have toured in recent years under the moniker Doors of the 21st Century, till Densmore sued Manzarek and Krieger, an so changed the name to "Riders on the Storm," still a Doors derivative. I'm a huge Doors fan, but didn't even bother with this distraction. Then we have Led Zeppelin, who, after John Bonham died in 1980 after choking on his own vomit due to drunkenness, wisely called it quits. R.E.M., perhaps unwisely, decided to remain an active recording unit after the departure of drummer Bill Berry in 1997. Then we have The Who, who not only recorded two albums after Kieth Moon's death in 1978 (they would not record a studio album for well over twenty years following these two panned records), but continued to tour and even record a new album after John Entwhistle's death in 2002, leaving only half the band.

What does all this mean to The Smashing Pumpkins? Well, a lot actually. It proves when it comes to personnel changes, you must look at each band individually. To take one aforementioned example, Zeppelin quit because the band's success relied totally on all four members. You could probably argue the same with R.E.M. With the Pumpkins, however, that's never really been the case. Sure, D'arcy and James helped contribute, but they are also there to service as much a part of the image of the band as for what they brought to the sound. And here's why.

The Pumpkins have always been about Corgan, almost to the point where you could argue that of all the major rock bands to emerge in the 1980s and 1990s, the Pumpkins sound the most like a backing vehicle for Corgan's music. Most of the Pumpkin's songwriting is credited to Corgan. There's been allegations that SIAMASE DREAM was almost entirely recorded by Corgan himself, as he was not happy with the band's playing. As it's always been about Billy anyway, though I do miss Iha and D'arcy, their absence doesn't mean this isn't a Pumpkins record. That allegation would have a lot more weight of D'arcy, James, and Jimmy all recorded an album without Corgan.

As far as Corgan trying to cash in on the Pumpkin's name, I have more respect for him than that. While I do think it's true he is trying to get back into the forefront of rock audiences, I think it's more about trying to get back into the mainstream than to do with pure money. He should be set for life anyway, but who the hell knows with celebrity finances.

All that said, what about the actual music itself? Well, thematically, it's something of a departure from the band's previous subject matter. Corgan said the album was largely about "love, loss, and the government", and largely in that order.

The music itself is largely in the vein of their previous album MACHINA, only without the confusing-as-hell storyline (if it even does have a real plot to it, which I doubt). The music is hard driving, with plenty of guitar solos, etc, and phenomenal drumming by Chamberlin. For those looking for the next MELLON COLLIE, don't bother. ZIETGEIST doesn't have the eclectic songwriting that made MC so fun to listen too, nor does the band branch out in so many different territories as they did on MC.

Chamberlin has said that was intentional - they wanted to keep the sound of the album more basic, and not really get far out into the whole artsey-fartsey scene. "The mindset of the record was to put our best foot forward and not get too artsy. We wanted to try to create a body of work that was concentrated enough to bring back a fan base and invigorate a new fan base. We kept it pretty close to the chest, and we didn't branch out too deep into art zone while we were writing the record." It's sad, really, because it was fun seeing how far out the Pumpkins could really get out back in the mid 1990s under Corgan's leadership.

The band has never been really overtly political, and this is the first really political record Corgan's ever made. Actually, this political awareness gives critics a lot better ammunition against Corgan than the whole idea he's trying to "cash in". It's clear from the whole affair that Corgan is using ZIETGIEST as a bid to become culturally relevant again in an era where the media and the public really haven't been following him for the last several years.

As there's been a lot of political commentary in rock and roll, from Greenday's rock opera AMERICAN IDIOT to the soon-to-be very dated Neil Young effort LIVING WITH WAR, you could make the argument Corgan was using politics to make himself a voice that people listen too again. Even the coverart, which reminds one of the famous ending of the 1969 film PLANET OF THE APES, feels rather reactionary. To Corgan's effort, the politics doesn't sound forced, and he does incorporate his political ideoligies pretty well into the Pumpkin's image, but it still feels rather odd, given how unpolitical the band has been for the majority of its lifespan.

Overall, a good record, and sounds, minus the politics, a natural progression from ADORE, MACHINA, and the never commercially released (but widely distributed) MACHINA II. Some good rock songs too.

Album: US #2, UK#1
"Tarantula: #2
"Doomsday Clock": 81
"That's the Way (My Love Is): #23

The following B-sides have been released: Death from Above (4:06), Steller (6:22), Zeitgeist (2:49), and Ma Belle (4:08).

The following outtakes are known to exist: "Gossamer", "Superchrist", "Signal to Noise".

EDITION NOTES: the album ahs been released in several different special editions, as well as having the primary colour of red on the cover art be altered on these new editions.
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on 15 March 2014
It's not Siamese Dream or Mellon Collie, it's a different album, get over it.....now that's cleared up, on to my short review.

I love and appreciate it when other people get all meticulous and go through the track list etc., but I don't do it myself!
This is a great album, if it was their first release instead of Gish, it would still not be as big as or loved as much as the a fore mentioned albums, but it would be appreciated and given the credit it deserves, I'm pretty sure. There are a lot of reasons people like to pooh on this newer, (not newest), version of the SP's, both the fans and critics, but the fact of the matter is, that if you take away all the moronic, pointless comparisons and negativity, and just let the album speak for it's self, it more than stands up with most of the SP's back catalog. Music is personal, so of course everyone can't and won't feel the same, but I believe some of the negativity towards Zeitgeist is jumping on the bandwagon stuff, also it's a grower, it makes you work a bit for your reward, that being, a very interesting, haunting in places, record, the production isn't bad, it's different and makes the album less, not more bland, it just takes a bit of time to peel this onion. In reality it's a 4-4.5 star review, but I feel like defending this album a bit, sticking up for it against the jock bullies, that being said, Amazon is the place were it seems to have the highest amount of acceptance, Billy should have called it, "Listen without Prejudice"
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on 16 February 2013
I came to the Pumpkins late. I'd heard some of Adore and liked it, but didn't really discover them properly to Machina era. I liked that album. Then I heard Mellon Collie, and the rest followed from there. Personally, I think Zeitgeist is a great album. A good two thirds of the album are killer. The irony is that as Billy's voice has grown weaker, his lyrics have grown stronger. Many of the earlier releases I can no longer listen to as, musically superior they are, I can no longer relate to the lyrics. I personally come from an electronic music background, and so like a lot of his solo output and much of adore. I also enjoyed a few, but not all, of the Zwan tracks. My favourite corgan tracks are appels and oranjes, stand inside your love, broken heart, raindrops and sunshowers and a few off this album (bring the light, that's the way [my love is], Bleeding the Orchid, come on [let's go]). What are like about this album is perhaps the one thing that many don't like about this album, and that is the production. It has an unfinished feel, like a really good demo. After the high production values of previous, which they have been occasionally criticised for, I found this lo-fi approach to be very refreshing. There is an energy and vitality to this album that is very fresh. If you didn't know about their previous output you would say that this was a new band. Billy Corgan is one of those songwriters crying out to be covered by younger vocal talent. His lyrics are intelligent and thought provoking (particularly on the newest album Oceania - i'm not sure if the special k lyric is a reference to breakfast cereal or illicit drugs. If it's the latter, it's a bit hypocritical given his previous stance towards former band members.)
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on 28 July 2009
And so, the Smashing Pumpkins return from a LONG hiatus...or, to be more accurate, only half of them do. A lot of fans were up in arms when this was first announced, but let's not kid ourselves; the Pumpkins were always Corgan's baby, and if he can write, record and play `Siamese Dream' pretty much single-handedly, then this `back-from-the-dead' thing should be a doddle...right?

Wrong. `Zeitgeist' doesn't so much announce its arrival as it does aurally punch you in the face. `Doomsday Clock's droning, angular riffs demand your attention, even if you don't particularly like what you hear. `7 Shades of Black' follows this formula, combining stabbing riffs with quick-fire singing that almost instantly becomes irritating. `Bleeding the Orchid' and `That's the Way (My Love Is)' offer some welcome respite from the aural assault being, respectively, a down-tempo number that wouldn't have felt out of place on `Adore' and a cheery, sunny pop song that carries itself with an infectious energy. `Tarantula', unfortunately, swiftly follows. It's not that it's a particularly bad song, it's just that there's no real chorus to speak of, and the stabbing-riff formula set by the first two tracks is, by now, becoming very repetitive. `Starz' meanders around with no clear direction, `Neverlost' fails to take flight at all, and album closer `Pomp and Circumstance' feels completely out of place in this world of crushing dynamics. So far, so mediocre.

There is, however, some serious quality on the album. `Bring the Light' is played with the same infectious energy as `That's the Way...', and you just can't help but be swept up along the way. `United States' is a near-10 minute epic, showcasing some of the best drumming of Jimmy Chamberlain's career (it should be said, the drumming on the album as a whole is uniformly excellent). `C'mon, Let's Go' features a great riff, reminiscent in spirit to `Bullet with Butterfly Wings'. `For God and Country', despite being drenched in synths for the majority of its running time, emerges as a damn fine song. When he is willing to strip his compositions to the bare bones, Corgan's ideas work wonderfully; as he slowly recites `for God and country, I'll die' over a hypnotic bass loop, you'll have to remind yourself that he is probably being sarcastic, such is the dramatic power of this moment.

The album is, in parts, very good, and reminds you what was great about the Pumpkins in the first place, but at its worst it is nostalgic in the unkindest possible way. The man that wrote `Bullet...', `Today' and `1979' seems to have run out of ways to make any impact on listeners aside from bludgeoning them over the head with tedious riffs and sub-par song writing. It's as if he wants to make ANY sort of impression that he can by playing as loudly as possible. There doesn't seem to be any sort of quality control, something the Pumpkins have been guilty of since the bloated-but -brilliant `Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness'.

I should probably point out that I adore `Mellon Collie...', and I wanted to LOVE `Zeitgeist'. I really did. Unfortunately, this album serves as little more than a reminder of why the Pumpkins were one of the defining bands of the nineties and why they are no longer as culturally relevant a decade on, which is pretty damn ironic considering the album title.
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on 24 November 2011
After a 7 year hiatus due to a break-up in 2000 and then a subsequent reunion in 2005, The Smashing Pumpkins, minus James and Melissa, finally release new material. "Zeitgeist" possesses their distinctive sound and their front man Billy Corgan still takes centre stage but, at times, the sound is not as raw and dark as their previous efforts making it their least interesting work to date.

"Doomsday Clock" is reminiscent of their previous hits and is a stomping rock tune. "7 Shades Of Black" is less immediate but just as effective after a couple of listens, portraying the angst in Billy Corgan's voice. "Bleeding The Orchid" is a dark rock track with heavy electric guitars and a fantastic melody. The second single "That's The Way" and "Starz" have a more commercial and radio friendly feel to them as they are more middle of the road and softer than what the band tend to create, but they do work. The effective lead single "Tarantula" is another heavy guitar led track with a slight pop edge. "United States" is an intriguing 10 minutes long creation with a powerful message and dark arrangements making it the most interesting composition on this album. "Neverlost" and "Bring The Light" are strong but once again quite gentle and more pop driven. "Let's Go" brings back the energy and drive that they once possessed and has a great melody and powerful arrangements. "For God And Country" and "Pomp And Circumstances" have electronic pop influences, making them very different and more original than the other songs.

Although "Zeitgeist" feels finished, it is not as impressive as all of their earlier work and seems to lack charisma and originality. This could be due to the bands missing members or due to the musicians they have chosen to replace them, but it is a welcome return nonetheless.
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on 13 September 2007
This is an excellent effort by Corgan and Chamberlain and the other new Pumpkins. Their ever evolving sound and style has taken a new direction whilst still obtaining a classic Pumpkins feel. The focus on COrgan's voice and inept guitar skills and Chamberlain's subtle and intricate skills on the drums make this album, whilst being a lyrical masterpiece. I think this album is bloody great.

Doomsday Clock- This track rocks big time, i love the distortion and Chamberlain's drumming, brilliant. At Reading Festival 2007 this song was great, it makes a great live track as well as an album opener. 9/10

7 Shades of Black- Not quite as powerful as the opener to the track and probably one of the weaker tracks of the album if you can call any of them weak. This track doesn't really have anything that stands out dramatically, however it still obtains the classic Pumpkins sounds to a certain extent, the song is particuarly rescued by Corgan's brilliant vocals. 7/10

Bleed the Orchid- This track is brilliant, a less dynamic song compared to the previous 2 this track really exloits the characteristics of Corgan's voice. It begins with Corgan singing in a kind of Skat as a creepy anthem before the chordal works begin, the lyrics in this song are beautiful, and the chorus works really well. 10/10

That's the way (my love is)- Probably one of the more commercial pumpkins songs but its great in the way it brings the tempo of the album down. The chorus is very catchy, with strings echoing through in the background. 9/10

Tarantula- I heard this on the radio before the album came out, and on first listening i thought this track was amazing, the Pumpkins are back. This is one hell of a good song. Musically this song is beautiful, Chamberlain and Corgan are genuilly brilliant. 10/10

Starz- This for me is a new type of song for the pumpkins. Corgan's voice over Chamberlain's drums prove textually innovative and, although the chorus is a little bit lame, works well. Te overdriven guitar work in this song works well. 8/10

United states- Chamberlain again proves his drum skills and inner metronome are very shape throughout this track, andCorgan proves he still loves his distortion. I love the chordal progression in this song, and again it made a great live track. It gets a bit monotomous after a little while though. 8/10

Neverlost- I love the laid back nature of this song and the inclusion of an acoustic keyboard instrument which sounds like a marimba or a vibraphone. Corgan's vocals again shine. A fairly plain and simple song. 8/10

Bring the light- Thrilling and tense. The introductory buildup is brilliant, and when the riff kicks in you are up on your feet rocking. Corgan's brilliantly trained jazz drumming prove a great assett to this song. 9/10

(Come on) Let's go!- Again good guitar work from Corgan, and i like the inclusion of the bassists backing vocals in this song. Not the most interesting Pumpkins voice but they do attempt a few new things which includes harmonising meldoical mvements between the guitar and Corgan's voice. Good track. 8/10

For GOd and Country- This track is brilliant. The piano at the start is very atmospheric, and the groove when it kicks in is a typical Pumpkins groove. Chamberlain's deft drumming again is brilliant and the subtle distorted progressions on COrgan's guitar work really well. 9/10

Pomp and Circumstances- Good track ,Corgan's voice is just brilliant, none like it really. What a great songwriter too.

Great album, it grew on me as a listened to it more, and its now up there with the likes of Gish, siamese dream, Mellon Collie and Machina for me.
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on 30 August 2007
This, it's fair to say is a pretty heavy album from a two-man band. Billy Corgan, and Jimmy Chamberlain are the people who provide the music and everything else. Chamberlain is the only other survivor from the original 'Pumpkins line-up, while Corgan has always been the frontman. Here, it's no exception as Chamberlain provides drums, while Corgan provides, well, everything else. Bass, Guitars (lead and rhythm), and vocals as well. He also writes the lyrics for the songs, for that matter.

So how does 'Zeitgeist' shape up? It's strong, and heavy, with the only weak point being Corgan's rather weak vocals in comparison to the aggression of the music. And that is felt throughout, as on all songs, with perhaps an exception of some sort on 'Starz' where Roy Thomas Baker produces, and gets a slight aggression from Corgan's vocals.

The centrepiece of the concept is no doubt the halfway point of the album, and the 10-minute epic, 'United States'. It rocks and it slows down, before exploding again towards the finish. 'Doomsday Clock' opens proceedings and is featured on the new 'Transformers' film soundtrack. A very good opener, it's then followed similarly by '7 Shades of Black'. Things are slightly softer on 'Bleeding The Orchid', with its Queens Of The Stone Age-esque 'aah's and the arena-rock feel it generates so easily. Track four is 'That's The Way'- a possible future release as it is not too heavy but still has a good melody, especially towards the choruses. Track five is one of the main highlights of Zeitgeist, a song called 'Tarantula'- where Corgan opens up with 'I don't wanna fight every single night, everything I want is in your life'. The song itself rocks, roars and rampages. It's very hard rock, bordering on metal, as the beginning of the album is.

Track six is 'Starz', with RTB's immaculate producing skills. The song is quite good, although some might see it as a bit cheesy. The music itself is very good and cannot be underestimated. Track seven is 'United States', and track eight is probably the weakest on the album. 'Neverlost' is soft, with a marimba (I think) or something similar as the focal instrument. It doesn't seem to fit in, although it suits Corgan's vocals better. The trouble is, by then, you're beginning to get used to them. Track nine is 'Bring the Light', which refers back to the heavy, chugging, almost metal sound which is by now a signature of the album's best work. Yet it maintains a melodic quirkiness which is uncharacteristic for such a heavy song. Next in line is (Come On) Let's Go!, a similar track to the previous one, just that it isn't as good. It starts with a solo, but that's as good as it gets really.

The final two tracks are 'For God And Country'- which is ok- it's softer, more melodic rock. 'Pomp and Circumstances' has a hint of Flaming Lips about it, which is good, but it doesn't seem to fit on the album very well. Don't get me wrong, if the album was too samey, it would get criticized for that, but it doesn't quite feel right. The solo at the end is very good, a bit Brian May-esque, but apart from that, I would consider it to be filler material really and a weak ending to an otherwise superb album.
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on 15 August 2007
They're baaack! Well, half of them are to be precise. Eight years after the underrated "Machina" album was recorded and one well-publicised dissolution of the band later, Billy Corgan has reformed the Smashing Pumpkins with Jimmy Chamberlain. What this album is not, though, is a reprise of ten to fifteen years ago. That time has passed. So too, fortunately, has the time for Billy's interim efforts. One could go so far as to say that those days are well and truly up the Zwanny...

So, bad puns apart, what do we have? To begin with, `Zeitgeist' is a German term meaning "spirit of the age" and an album cover depicting Liberty sinking into the sea as the sun goes down just might be a clue as to how the Pumpkins would define this one.

Indeed, the album immediately explodes into life with the heavy guitar work of "Doomsday Clock", which, unsurprisingly, depicts an apocalyptic view of the world ("I'm certain of the end / It's the means that has me spooked") before the sound is ramped up even further for "7 Shades of Black", a twisted song of intertwined love and hate.

"Bleeding the Orchid" and "That's the Way (My Love Is)" see the amp turned down a notch or two, before the listener is launched into the standout track on the album - "Tarantula" - a song of chunky, loud guitar riffs that belie the softness of some of the lyrics ("I want to be there when you're happy / I want to love you when you're sad").

Then, just as you are trying to make up your mind on whether or not you like "Starz" (the simplicity of "what hurts so much is knowing that we are free" is rather good), along comes the 10-minute epic of "United States", which gets a bit bogged down halfway through, but perks up again. Think "Silverf*ck" rather than "Porcelina of the Vast Ocean" in terms of how it sounds.

After that, sadly, the album does meander along a bit with a few so-so songs. "Neverlost" becomes fairly bland after a few listens, "Bring the Light" is really a B-side (although there is a decent mid-section part to it), and "Come On (Let's Go)" is an awful song that is just about rescued by Billy's vocals.

Then, lest we forget the political overtones of this album, "For God and Country" looks to steal back this phrase from those who use it in a militaristic sense, while "Pomp and Circumstances" is a quiet ending to an otherwise loud album and seems to be a song about Billy's own career - "what was once new now gone / what was once praised now wrong". Its not amazing, but I think that it will grow on me.

To like or not to like? Well, it's clearly not their best work and there is not likely to be a super-hit to help gain the masses' attention. That said, the world seems a better place with the Pumpkins back, so I can overlook some of the album's flaws and recommend that old fans should go and buy it, but that interested new fans should approach with some caution.
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HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERon 3 August 2007
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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