Friday, June 22, 2012

While I listen: New Smashing Pumpkins album review

Back in a former life, I used to write music reviews for  Well, thanks to the magic of twitter, I found out today that the Smashing Pumpkins have a new album.  So five seconds later, and thanks to the magic of my super-worth-it $9/month Rhapsody subscription, I'm listening to Oceania as I type.  

Welcome to my "reviewing the new Smashing Pumpkins album as I listen to it" diary.

A writer on Grantland dubbed the new SP album Oceania "the best SP album in 20 years."   I wonder if the lazy critics who say shit like that have a review template that starts like this:

"The best _(band name)_ album in _(years since band was any good)_ years".  

Unfortunately for the Pumpkins and for Mr. Review Template User, it's been quite a bit more than 20 years since they had a good album.

That's not to say the Grantland reviewer's opinion is wrong, it's just that saying a new effort is the best since their old shitty old one isn't exactly high praise.  It's like saying that Ben Affleck's direction in The Town was his best work since Gone Baby Gone, the film viewing equivalent of a Rubick's Cube. 

And so far, this album sounds positively mellon collie.  The best I can say about it is "it's better than that last piece of horrible shit they put out five years ago" and "his vocals have never sounded less whiny (but they're still pretty fuckin whiny)."  Another plus, I guess, is that the production is spot on (making the song suckiness even more blatant).

I'm getting the sense in listening to this that Billy Corgan has turned his attention from politicking to love.  Lots of major chordy lovey-dovey sounding crap here.  I wonder if he has a wife or girlfriend.  Let's see....

Through the magic of Wikipedia, I have just learned that, in actuality, he is single.  His last serious fling was Courtney Love, begging the question "WHAT THE FUCK WAS HE THINKING?!"  

So, a couple years since they broke takes him probably a year to write an album...'nother year to record and release it...doing the math, I suddenly understand why he seems so happy on this album: HE'S NOT WITH COURTNEY LOVE ANYMORE.

Here's some Oceania lyric samples for you, straight from his mouth to my fingertips to your eyes: "I'm always on your side....I love you 101%...I'll always follow could I ever have doubted you?"  I feel like I'm swallowing a latte without the coffee or foam or soy - it's all syrup here baby!  

All right, these stevia lyrics have to be about someone.  If it ain't Courtney he's talking about, who the hell is it?  Back to Wiki...

Damn, he was linked with Jessica Simpson?!  Let's give her a WHAT THE FUCK WAS SHE THINKING?  Nevertheless, I can totally see him sitting there, thinking of her tits, and writing all these lovey dovey lyrics.  

On a side note while I'm forcing this into my earholes, I heard new Fiona Apple and it was  interesting, actually.  Very minimalist music, vocal-carried melodies.  I dare say it worked pretty well.  There's nobody out there like her and I wonder if she's itching to reclaim the waify-indie-showtuney/but-somehow-mainstream title from Bjork (Bjork still holds the surprise attack on a media member at the airport title so she probably won't mind relinquishing the waify one).

At some point in listening to a shitty album not by Limp Bizkit, the thought occurs to you that, since every song to this point has sucked, there's no hope for one shockingly cool tune on here.  And you bail.

I need sonic scraping to get the placque residue of Corgan's voice off my eardrums.  I'll be Rhapsodying over to the Deftones Head Up, or as I like to call it when I need a break from my 3-year-old, a song to raise your kids by.

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