During my commute to work this morning, my iPod shuffled up some Smashing Pumpkins, and it got me thinking...
Sorry for being That Guy, but I’m gonna play the (aging former) Hipster Card and say that as a high school sophomore, I was out in front of Smashing Pumpkins before most of the other kids in school.
The problem was that “Gish” was schizophrenic. Consider the album’s second song, “Siva”:
Songs like “Siva,” “I Am One,” “Bury Me” and “Tristessa” brought the Rock, and brought it hard with crazy distortion and a silky lead tone. The other six songs were self-indulgent, quasi-arty crap. One or two slow songs are OK, but six? They just sucked the momentum out of what could have been a classic hard-rock record.
But because of the songs that did bring the rock, I had high hopes for “Siamese Dream” when it came out two years later. Those hopes were dashed quickly upon its release. “Cherub Rock” was all right, but the rest of the album was mostly the same slow, boring, “I’m pretending to be a sensitive artist so I can get some poon” garbage. It was the biggest piece of self-indulgent wanking since the “White Album.” Or until “Mellon Collie” came out.
With “Siamese Dream,” Smashing Pumpkins had become the Biggest Band in the World (as well as the darlings of the frat douches in college, at least until Oasis got huge the next year), and Billy Corgan began believing it.
What a waste.