Review: The Smashing Pumpkins

The Smashing Pumpkins
“Rotten Apples:  “Greatest Hits / Judas O”)
(Virgin Records)

For the Smashing Pumpkins fan, 12 previously unreleased songs.  A bit arrogant for a ‘Greatest Hits’ album that boasts a 34 track total.  (Billy Corrigan, Arrogant? Say it ain’t so…) About a third of these ‘hits’ were never released.  But I praise the pumpkins for adding to the obvious inclusion of tracks like “Cherub Rock”, “Today”, “1979” and “Zero”.  Most fans have those songs (which is where a lot of ‘Greatest Hits’ albums fail, they give the fans what they’ve already paid for in single album sales).  ‘Rhinoceros’ was a pleasant surprise from the bands earlier work around the Gish era.  This two-disk set is actually split between disk one ‘(Rotten Apples) The Smashing Pumpkins Greatest Hits’ (with only two unreleased songs) and disk two ‘Judas O’ (rarities and B sides)… and 10 unreleased songs.  That’s pretty rare.  So again, for the fan, LOTS they probably don’t have or never heard.  An unreleased version of ‘Rock On’ is giving a moody make over.  I wish they would have included their cover of Alice Cooper’s ‘Clones’.  That is brilliant.  But not included here.  The beginning of the Judas O disk is what Gish to Siamese Dream era fans will dig.  The songs are more raw, which contrasts beautifully with Corrigan’s smoother vocal lilt against his fuzzy guitars.  It might be hard to believe to some of the younger whelps, but Billy Corrigan used to play an electric guitar.  YES! He did.  Really loud sometimes.  And scream.  Well, that whiney scream he does.  But somewhere between shaving his head and (albeit brilliant) but overproduced, over dramatized and overplayed videos, the band seemed to take itself WAY to seriously, and the music got mushy and arty.  The Judas O disk tears back into the vintage Pumpkins sound showcasing that trademark Corrigan vocal pout that reminds me of a time that if you had even heard of this band, you were privy to a new movement that was to be stamped ‘Alternative’ music.