Thursday, April 19, 2012

Siamese Dreaming

I've got a little free time on my hands and I've been going through my music collection, filling holes, organizing what's already there, and listening to a lot of stuff I haven't had on rotation for a while.

One such album/srtist would be Siamese Dream by Smashing Pumpkins which I consider to be one of the best rock albums ever. No hyperbole. The songs, the words, the sounds, are all tremendously good and so very tight. The layered guitars, the insane drums, the ethereal quality of Corgan's voice and lyrics which, I would say, has never been recaptured on any other Pumpkins album make this album near-perfect for me. If I'm trying to get someone to listen to the Pumpkins, I usually toss them Siamese Dream.

Now, from everything I've read and heard, after all the tracks had been put down, Corgan went back and rerecorded the guitars and bass originally played by D'arcy and James Iha. The only tracks he didn't mess with were those of Jimmy Chamberlin because Corgan did not know how to play the drums. This would, if the stories are true, make the whole album a collaboration between Corgan and Chamberlin and all that implies.

Other albums followed but most without Chamberlin as he was kicked out of the band after a keyboardist they were touring with died as a result of a drug overdose which Chamberlin was involved with. I won't get into details but the story is probably detailed here.

Flash forward to the 2007 release of the newly reformed Pumpkins album, Zeitgeist. Now, when I say newly reformed, I should qualify that D'arcy and Iha did not return to the lineup for the same reasons they left the band in the first place. Chamberlin, however, did take the opportunity to reconnect with his old band as Corgan had never agreed to losing him in the first place. So, we have Corgan and Chamberlin together again working on this 'new' album - the same guys who were essentially responsible for Siamese Dream - and it turns out to be utter shit. I don't even consider it a part of the true Pumpkins canon because it sounds like a band trying to sound like the Pumpkins rather than actual founding members of the band making up for lost time.

So, what went wrong? I dunno. Maybe D'arcy and Iha had a much stronger influence on the music than people give them credit for. Maybe Butch Vig was instrumental in bringing everything on SD together the way it did. All I know is that the same guys did it perfectly once and cocked it up royally the second time around. Go figure. Maybe it's true what they say about how you can never really go home again.

And on that note...



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