The other day, while listening to some songs on my mp3 player while driving around, I decided to put on The Smashing Pumpkins’ Adore. For those unfamiliar with the album, it was the fourth album released by the band in 1998. At that time, The Smashing Pumpkins were pretty much at the peak of their popularity and this album followed their single biggest success, the 1995 double-album Melon Collie and the Infinite Sadness.
Despite good critical reaction, Adore was something of a sales disappointment, especially considering how successful each subsequent album they released before it was. They would follow up Adore with 2000’s Machina/The Machines of God but the damage appeared to be done. Machina sold even less copies than Adore and it appeared audiences were “over” The Smashing Pumpkins. The band seemed to sense this as well, and broke up after that album’s release, only to have singer/songwriter Billy Corgan reform the group several years later and, as of this writing, he -and his new bandmates- are still releasing new material.
Getting back to Adore, I’m in the car listening to the album and enjoying it. While the album isn’t as wildly ambitious as Melon Collie (my personal favorite of The Smashing Pumpkins albums) it is really, really good, hitting a particular sweet spot -to me- with the song For Martha:
Now, let me be the first to say this: I can totally understand people being turned off by the Billy Corgan’s voice. Personally, I don’t have any problem with it but for those who do, try to look past it. His music during the 1990’s was ambitious, interesting, and, best of all, so damn varied. And that includes the underrated Machina, which has its share of songs very much worthy of checking out, like…
Having listened to Adore and reconnected with it, I decided to give The Smashing Pumpkins’ latest album, 2012’s Oceania another listen.
I know critics liked this album and there are some songs here and there I like as well. However, there’s something about this album, and most of the “new” Smashing Pumpkins material post-Machina, that isn’t quite doing the same for me as their first incarnation did.
Regardless, Mr. Corgan remains an artist worth watching and listening to. Even if their/his latest work’s haven’t quite done it for me as their older stuff, I’ll still be there.
Here’s one of my favorite of their “newer”, post-breakup second incarnation of the band, from 2007’s Zeitgeist.