Smashing Pumpkins - "Zeitgeist"

It’s almost astoundingly terrible.

I didn’t have high hopes for a comeback record from 40-year-old post-Zwan, post-lame solo album, post-Blinking with Fists Corgan, but this is just bad and embarrassing. The whole album is one big blast of the sort of big, dumb, faux-metal dropped-D riffing that Corgan has always turned to when he feels like he has something to prove (“tales of a scorched earth,” “silverfuck,” “God,” “the everlasting gaze,” etc. etc. ad infinitum), and complete lacks the quiet and introspective moments that made Pumpkins records what they were. There’s no subtlety here, no nuance, nothing but a big, dumb blast from start to finish that goes nowhere and does nothing.

The mix is also really, really terrible; most of the album sounds like demos, and not in that cool, rough, ear-pleasing way like a Steve Albini record. It just sounds sloppy and bad for the most part.

Thank you. Finally somebody else dislikes this album almost as much as I do. The Chicago-based music message board I frequent is surprisingly warm on this record. I’ve heard it a few times, and where are the hooks? Where are the melodies? Where are the really cool guitar lines? Where is anything, anything musically memorable? “Bleeding the Orchid” kinda has potential for growing on me, but that’s about it. And Billy’s voice is WAY too high in the mix.

I dare say, I prefer Machina to this.

“Bleeding the Orchid” and “Neverlost” are probably the two better moments on the record, which still means that they’re sub-B-side quality - and I’m talking about weak, Machina 2-era B-sides, not brilliant ones like Cherry or Ugly.

Isn’t the mix amazingly bad?

I wasn’t going to buy it simply out of protest. Releasing 4 versions of the album each with its own bonus track?

To quote
“Best Buy and Target each get a version with an exclusive bonus track. So does iTunes. Like, a different one for each. Everybody else gets the regular version with no bonus tracks. So if you want all of the bonus tracks, you have to buy an album at Best Buy, an album at Target, and an album at iTunes. (Ooh, the presale iTunes version also comes with an extra set of Smashing Pumpkins covers by the Bravery, the Academy Is…, Panic at the Disco, Test Your Reflex, and +44. Ooh.)”

Fuck off Billy. This isn’t the Pumpkins no matter what you call yourself.

I’ve heard this sentiment crop up all over the place, and I have to disagree with it. Billy + Jimmy = the Smashing Pumpkins, period. D’Arcy made absolutely no contribution to the band and didn’t even play bass on the records. She could barely play bass for the live shows! James Iha’s contribution to the band’s overall sound and songs was miniscule at best. Billy and Jimmy alone recorded Siamese Dream, with Billy playing all of the guitar parts and bass.

Wherever Billy and Jimmy go together, it will be SP - even if it sucks (as it currently does).