Hipsters Unite!

August 4, 2010

Smashing Pumpkins

Siamese Dream

 (1993)

            I used to absolutely hate Smashing Pumpkins.  I’m not sure whether age has made me nostalgic for songs like “Rocket,” and “Geek USA” or whether I’ve grown to appreciate what Billy Corgan was going for on this album.  I feel like many people pretended not to notice that the Pumpkins had a jones for heavy metal and prog rock and instead we focused on the self-depreciating, angsty, and ironic presentation of the band.  Siamese Dream was in many ways things that bands like Nirvana was against but somehow, they got lumped into the same genre.  Unlike their supposed cohorts, leader Billy Corgan wanted to be a rock star and wanted the Pumpkins to be a great rock band and he made no secret of this.  The first track, “Cherub Rock,” with its majestic snare drum intro signals the coming of greatness.  Butch Vig’s glossy production fits right in right in with Corgan’s grand scheme.  The album has ebbs and flows, varied dynamics, and overall feeling in their songs.  This isn’t just a raucous band playing brash music like most bands that were big in the early 90s.  Give as much crap to Billy as you want about his playing most of the instruments on Siamese but so what, Corgan and drummer Jimmy Chamberlain make a great duo. 

            The band backed the right horse in some ways, prog rock-influenced bands such as Radiohead became the hot thing and the Pumpkins also got more and more ambitious which separated the boys from the men in terms of fandom.   As Corgan laments in “Cherub Rock,” indie rock is limiting if you want it to be; the Pumpkins are a great example of a band that were not afraid to wear their star power on their sleeves.

–MEW

Y’know what’s better than hearing Smashing Pumpkins play “Cherub Rock”?  Having a bunch of douchebags ruin it instead:

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