Posts Tagged ‘zeitgeist’

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Smashing Pumpkins – Zeitgeist

July 13, 2007

Having waited for this album for so long, I find it completely necessary to give it a thorough review, no more, no less. I’m not going to meander for set amount of long winded paragraphs or give it just two cents and leave it be. I remember looking at the website that was billycorgan.com for so long, when it was just a shriveled remnant of what was left of the artistic endeavors of our said celebrity himself. And then I remember reading the add in the newspaper straight from Billy Corgan, about reforming the band. This excited me on many levels. Possibly my favorite band reuniting, with the hopes of a new album and tour? Wonderful. I joked to myself, that I would be sitting by my computer monitor for years, as the seasons reeled outside my window. What is most unfortunate is that this actually happened. I figured it would be worth it in the end, to finally hear this album. What severely disappointed me was the absence of James Iha and D’arcy Wretsky in the group, who were replaced by…I don’t know, faceless pawns. I still held onto some hope that this album would truly be good in the end and justify all the pain and anxiety that preceded it.

Alas, my friends, I am at the pinnacle of disappointment. While this album should have kicked ass to hell and back, it just doesn’t cut it. The clues all add up. The fact that James and D’arcy are gone were the death spell, for sure, and this album has none of the spirit that the original lineup had. It proves that Billy and Jimmy are not all that is required to be the Smashing Pumpkins, and only half of the puzzle just doesn’t cut it. Another discouraging clue was the album cover, which is just as cheesy as most of the music has ended up being. Which is the albums problem. About half of it sucks horribly because it tries to be revelatory and meaningful. Not that previous Pumpkins albums weren’t, but none of them preached anything. Personal sentimental value came with the previous albums, and this is packaged with nothing but poor production. It just doesn’t sound right. The guitars are too buzzed over, and in no way beautiful like they used to be. And Billy’s voice sounds almost timid despite the fact that he is screaming. This is a generic album. Freeze-dried. And it feels just about as personal as The Future Embrace. And we all know how…goddamn impersonal that album was.

I don’t want to make it sound like this album does nothing right. To be fair, the first five songs are killer. Tarantula is a decent single, but unfortunately the weakest out of the albums good songs. In any case, it was probably worth it just for the awesome timing of the cover of the single, which is a scantily dressed Paris Hilton. You all know what happened a couple of weeks ago. It was pretty much the most ridiculous situation our fair nation has seen. Paris Hilton gets let out of jail for a day and you would have thought that some building blew up or the president was shot at. What felt like every channel on TV had faint blurred photos of Paris Hilton and rumors abash the screen. Paris Hilton is not a national crisis. This is probably part of what Zeitgeist is trying to say. Something about how impersonal our nation is, or has been since 9/11, or maybe just how downright ridiculous the country is now, or at least the people in it. The day that Mudhoney got political, people thought the world was going to spiral out into the endless abyss, but they had no idea that someday, for gods sake, the Smashing Pumpkins would get political. In any case, the first five songs are great. 7 Shades of Black is a great, almost dirty metal riff-fest, and a personal favorite. The rest are all more than great and probably could have stood as singles. But everything from track six onward is, in a word, cheesy. Billy Corgan seems to have forgotten that on his last release, he had a song that unnecessarily ended with a “z.” Starz is not the only song that has a dull and generic hook that just doesn’t really stand tall at all. Even the albums attempt at an SMP epic is flubbed pretty badly with United States. The rest are simply not worth mentioning. Except maybe for Neverlost and one other one, maybe. It’s a bad, horribly shaky album.

For those of you who skipped to this last paragraph to see how I felt about the album in short, the bottom line is, Billy Corgan has lost his edge. It makes sense though. When I think about it, the Pumpkins albums have actually gotten progressively worse through time, the only exception being Machina II which was probably better than Machina. Which really means nothing considering the first four were all so utterly fantastic that they could only be chosen between from personal preference. Using the word “worse” in their wake is a bit of a crime. Machina is the only one that stuck out like a sore thumb, because it was marginally worse than it’s predecessors. To put it plainly, when you listen to Zeitgeist, you will start to realize how great Machina is. And I mean that, sincerely. I can’t stress enough how good the first five songs are. But they really just played their best cards first. Everything else is graced only by scattered quality. The theme is tired. It’s poorly produced. It’s really only worth it to fans. Insert witty aphorism here.

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Smashing Pumpkins Reunion (New Album?)

October 11, 2006

To be honest, no real news within the past month or so. It has been almost a month since the last little update here and close to jack shit has happened. Jimmy has continued to post new “Love Letters” getting less and less sappy and Billy-esque the farther they go along. But even though they are interesting, they reveal nothing. No real news along the lines of any band lineup. The Pumpkin Queen was, however, revealed to be of some official descent and is the manager for the site, I believe.

The only two sites right now that you can take seriously are the official myspace page and smashingpumpkins.com, the latter of which is pretty much in limbo. The former is, and you’re going to love this, turning into an outlet for complete tools. I got weirded out when I saw fan directed videos, avatars, and artwork posted all over the place on the myspace page. But hey, whatever. Some of the videos are actually alright, and myspace has always been the home of huge tools everywhere. But they I saw a fanmade music video depicting various Naruto scenes played to Bullet, and I basically said screw it, I’m checking back once a week. Last time I checked, a small FAQ on the left border was there. The four questions that were asked are obvious, and vague as to who answered them.

Q. Who’s in the band?
A. Not telling.

Q. When is the album coming out?
A. Soon.

Q. What does it sound like?
A. The Smashing Pumpkins.

Q. I want to submit art…
A. Submit to The Pumpkin Queen. We’re down with avatars, myspace layouts, fan directed videos…

Pretty much the same bull. But hey, it’s just a matter of waiting. At the moment I’m optimistic about Iha, neutral about D’arcy. I just can’t see only Billy and Jimmy popping out of some cake at an executive press-release somewhere yelling “gotcha, bitches! It was US the WHOLE TIME!”

Well right this second, it’s the night before Halloween, which means it’s the essential pumpkin time of year. Really, it’s never been about candy, although that sure is a plus, so much as it’s about getting off your ass and doing something outside, be it hiding in some bushes, walking somewhere, or just sitting on your porch. You can bet I’ll have Mellon Collie blasting if at all possible, wherever I may be. I’ll try to smash a pumpkin, but I can’t make any deffinitive promises.

Strangely enough, smashingpumpkins.com was updated again.

“IN STUDIO NOW! ALBUM OUT SOON!!”

Reall, what does that mean? I made a guess a while ago that I’d have the next SMP LP by January or February, and if they are really getting their asses in gear we’ll see what comes of that prediction. More Jimmy “Love Letters” which are essentially still bullshit. Like, still stuff you would expect Billy to say. The only thing worthy of note is that as of the third post, drums were almost done being tracked and that they would soon be “cutting BC loose to work his magic.” Which essentially could mean anything from recording and overlaying guitars to simple producing stuff, but it was mentioned before that Roy Thomas Baker was done being worked with, so really theres no way of knowing how far in production they are. Like, if drum tracking was JUST done with and a producer was finished up with, well what the fuck. You know?

The music player and youtube video are everchanging. The music player seems to be changing daily to differeng lower key songs and a bigger one every so often, usually live takes. The youtube portion is always live stuff, always featuring all four original members. Which is strange. Draw from that what you will. Apparently there was some message for a talent search or something which I missed, and I can’t find. I can’t really say anything more about that.

If it’s pumpkin day tomorrow, I guess there very well might be anything ranging from nothing to a “love letter” (god these things suck) to a bigger announcement. Billy is scheduled to play with Pete Townshend on TV sometime in the near future. I’ll keep this posted if anything happens.

Well, within the past half week or so the three songs that have been playing on the Pumpkins’ myspace have been everchanging. Every day mostly, and more often than not live takes of great songs that weren’t necessarilly hits. I guess I would probably still kill a man to see the Pumpkins in all their glory, but I would really consider their studio work to be far superior to their onstage sound.

Anyway, Jimmy Chamberlain did a few blog posts which he described as “love letters.” Well, at least it’s not Billy. He really didn’t reveal much besides the fact that he was doing drum tracking and they finished up working with Roy Thomas Baker. Beyond that, the obvious question of who the band even is right now save Billy and Jimmy is conspicuously being dodged.

For those too lazy to check themselves, Jimmy is pretty much talking like you would expect Billy to. Talking about souls and shooting stars and shit. If the posts are frequent I’ll be happy, even if they are vague. This waiting sucks, doesn’t it?

Some news. The music player on the SMP myspace has some songs up and running now. Bury Me, Set The Ray To Jerry, and Daughter are all on there now. All tracks we had before, and obscure lesser known tracks as well, save maybe Bury Me. I believe Daughter was co-written by D’arcy. Whether or not this means anything is unclear. Beyond that, it has also been announced on the myspace page that a studio blog of Jimmy Chamberlain will be in commission soon.

Alright, I’ll be blunt. There isn’t enough information to really justify a post, but I’m doing it anyway. I’m going to try to take this is slowly and as basically as I can. If I have any of this information wrong (which actually isn’t too unlikely), I appologize.

Well, as most of you know, a few months ago smashingpumpkins.com was updated. I believe it used to just redirect browsers to Billy Corgans website or myspace, I forget which. Well, not too long ago it was actually directed to the url with a big SP heart in the middle over a white background, and a little bar to enter in your email address for a mailing list. The site was quickly assumed legit, because it was directly affiliated with Warner Brothers. Time passed. A lot of time. And eventually the site was updated with a little passage of text on the bottom. I forget the exact wording right now, but the gist of it was that the “Smashing Pumpkins” (in quotes because really I have no idea what that means right now) are in the studio and are working with producer Roy Thomas Baker on their first album since 2000.

Which brings us to another issue which has been alluded to but not officially stated numerous times. Who are the Smashing Pumpkins now, if they really do exist anymore? It has been pretty common knowledge that James Iha and D’arcy will not be involved, and it might just be a Billy Corgan/Jimmy Chamberlain thing going on. What do I personally think of this? Not good. But really there isn’t much to back up this as fact beyond past statements of James and D’arcy that they aren’t exactly interested in such a reunion. Beyond that, I wouldn’t be too surprised if they didn’t end up being included, though I would be very bummed.

Jimmy Chamberlain was interviewed in a German (or perhaps it was French. One of the two) drum magazine not too many months ago as well. He requested that questions about the band not be asked, but they were, and he sort of brushed them aside. But he did reveal the detail that many songs are being worked on. Like, a lot. Beyond that, back in September, an interview with Kill Hannah (whatever) revealed that the band had heard two instrumental tracks from the, uh, band, after having dinner with Billy and that they were good. Specifically, “the intelligence of Machina” and “the accessibility of Mellon Collie” were stated to be signature of the sound. Beyond that, the only instruments were guitar and drums. Whether or not this is true is a tad hazy, but I wouldn’t be too surprised.

Five days ago (October 6th), Billy’s myspace got a facelift. A new background and logo were posted. However, go there now they have been taken down, as well as the audio from TheFutureEmbrace and other such things. It looks pretty blank right now. But go to smashingpumpkins.com and you will see something different. Specifically, the background that was included on the myspace page for the time it was there. The image is a big grayscale American flag type of image, with thirteen stars that look like they just might be simmilar to Billy Corgan’s handwriting (which is actually rather distinctive if you are a fan) next to a jagged SP logo.

Strange, but interesting. Beyond that, the message that the band is in the studio is gone. Whether this means the band is out of the studio or not is unclear. The bar for entering your email address for the mailing list is still there. To make things more confusing, there are other myspace issues and mysteries cause even more weirdness. On the sidebar of Billys myspace page, a url was provided for the actual url, which is that of another profile completely. http://www.myspace.com/billycorgan This is a relatively blank page with only scattered information. Friends are being added, but no comments allowed. It is rumored to be Billys personal myspace page where he does other stuff (you never used to see him online on the previous myspace page anyway). And now there is this. http://myspace.com/smashingpumpkins Official or not? I’m pretty goddam sure it’s an altered version of Billys old myspace which can no longer be reached. But note the standalone player and how it is attatched to an undefined file. To be honest, I’m taking all this out of the mouths of many. There seems to be confusion as to which myspace page is in fact official. It’s all very confusing, and I’m not going to try to even begin to understand the little details which I have just described.

The only truly official and non-mistakable detail is the flag. The image has spawned much controversy, as many people see it as a sign of political music. Personally I agree with the few who say that Billy has already stated that he does not wish to make political music or tell people how to vote. Beyond that, I don’t really care whether his music is political or not.

Upon further inspection, the picture of the flag is sourced from the following link.

http://s71.photobucket.com/albums/i153/Janelly333/

Some people have been saying that this person is affiliated with Billy Corgan and works for him in the marketing department. This very well could be true. The fact that this is where it’s sourced from means something after all. The fact of the matter is, there has been a ton of confusion over the past few days over, really, nothing. I mean, a total lack of details. The truth of the matter is, Billy Corgan, as ingenious as he is, is a bit of a mystery to all of us outside of his music, and quite the paranoid perfectionist so it seems. I know someone who heard his previous marketing agent speak at a conference, and she described her old job as working with the “male diva” Billy Corgan. Maybe not a diva, but Billy does seem very shadey with the updates both official and questionably official, a fact which I am not quite happy with. This is all very strange yes, but it’s really more of a matter of anything happening at all.

I’ll keep this post updated continuously for as long as I feel I need to.