Smashing Pumpkins - Oceania

The Smashing Pumpkins have a new album out.  I love the Pumpkins, and I love Billy.  They were a very big part of my life when I was younger.  Then, it got weird.  They broke up a bunch, and replaced even more people.

You may think that that is normal business over the years for rock bands, but I don't dig it.  Pearl Jam are still together.  They never broke up, always kept making great music, and still tour and kill every time.  No drama.  This is what I wanted the Pumpkins to be, but I am sure that is what Billy thought, too.

So, smash cut to another ten years gone by.  After Billy declared the album 'dead', he came back and made an album.  Billy is not good press for himself.  He is keenly aware, and very smart.  So, he gets himself in tons of trouble being an elitist a hole.  It shouldn't matter, but it's tough to put entirely aside.  I mean, he isn't Axl Rose level of vile... but I bet many would argue he is.

So, do I need another Pumpkins record?  I am 40.  Not sure I have any angst left.  Wait, Billy is 45   So, odds are Billy doesn't have any angst, either.  Can the Pumpkins make a 5 star record?  Can any of my teen year bands do it?  Am I over this whole thing?  Maybe I can't relate to them anymore... or they can't relate to me.  It can be done for sure.  Pearl Jam's self titled release (the Avocado one) is amazing... and just a few years old.  That is 5 star, and Billy is a better song writer than Eddie.  Eddie is just more likeable, on every level. 

So, I picked up the album yesterday and listened to it on my long drive home.  It's really good.  It sounds like the Pumpkins... not just Billy and a backing band.  He is locked in with these guys, and his new drummer is almost as good as Jimmy Chamberlain was.  Of course, no one could be as good as Jimmy.  He was fucking amazing.  Am sure he still is, wherever he went.  That man is a drum god.  Think Neil Peart.  Yeah, I put him in that class.  I have seen them both live.  Have seen Danny Carey live, too, from Tool.  Those three are the triumverate of bad ass drumming.

Guess we should get back to the album, eh?  I am not going to go into it track by track.  I was driving, so I wasn't looking at the track names.  I have a stupid nice stereo in the truck, though.  So, it is the perfect listening studio.  Plus, it's the only place and time the wifey isn't nattering at me.  I listened to it in sequence, which I think it important on this one.  The songs flow together very well.  The songs are great, and the sound is great.  The only minus, and it is a big one, are they keyboards.  They are in almost every song, and much of them sounds terrible. 

It becomes a distraction.  I think a piano would have sounded beautiful.  But, the keyboards sound to me like they were played on one of these.  Seriously.  Other than that, it is a very solid album.  Should you buy it?  Yes, if you are a Pumpkins fan.  No, if you are not.  Billy also wants you to know he has a wrestling company and a tea shop now.  So, why all this side talk and only a paragraph about the actual disc?  Well, a few reasons.  One is that the new disc is exactly what you would expect from the Pumpkins.  Awesome bombastic rock, and some beautiful meandering pieces that remind you of the best stuff from Mellon Collie.  Also, with Billy, it is tough to seperate the two.  Think of Lindsay Lohan, here.  Every article for the rest of her life will have the word 'troubled' in it.  In fact, odds are that word will show up more than 'actress'.

The Smashing Pumpkins are back... but why do they keep leaving?


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