So this has been streaming on iTunes today, so of course I had to listen to it. Initial thoughts are that this is better than Zeitgeist and maybe slightly better than the stuff he has released for the Teargarden project. That's not saying too much, though. Definitely not his best since Mellon Collie as he has claimed.
Ok...I'm gonna go ahead and say it. No more beating around the bush. The above paragraph is more of my defensive fanboy side coming out. WHAT. THE. ****. HAPPENED? Did Billy Corgan just forget how to write great songs or something? I'm not even all the way through the album and I have to go ahead and write this. For every release since he reformed the band, I've given him a chance. Every time I've bought into his nonsense about how he's giving the fans what they want and THIS time it's awesome. Every time I sit here and try to convince myself that what I'm listening to isn't a shadow of the band that changed my life.
First, I'll address how Billy has described the album. More mellow, has all the emotional textures people are used to from the Pumpkins. More introspective like it used to be. Nope. Throwing in some 60's psych-inspired keyboards and a couple extra guitar effects doesn't make it more emotive. It just means you are trying too hard. It was a band effort. Well, either that is bull**** or everyone else in the band just sucks. I'll give Mike Byrne some credit, though...it's tough to fill Jimmy's shoes, but his drumming actually holds it together for the little interest I have in these songs. It's got that "Pumpkin-ness" while not retreading old material. Well, it doesn't retread old material. Because it's boring. Still no Pumpkin-ness, though. Adore and Siamese Dream are COMPLETELY different, but you can still tell it's the Pumpkins. I seriously don't know what happened, but Billy's lost it.
While slightly more interesting than the Teargarden stuff, it's still Zeitgeist with some keyboards and some "slower" moments. Maybe it's true...Billy really does have to be sad to make good music. Or something. I don't even know if that is it...because I really liked the one Zwan album and he sounded pretty happy on that one. This isn't even one of those things like with Machina where it didn't sell well, but the songwriting was still there. It wasn't his most popular album, but there is some seriously beautiful songwriting there. Even the throwaways on Machina II were amazing. To me, Billy could do no wrong. But now he is convincing me with every release that he should just pack it in.
Now, maybe I can be criticized for just giving the album one listen before writing this. Well, you go listen to it and you will see there was about as much care and forethought put into this review as there was put into those songs. Either that, or it is worse than I thought.
Billy, why don't you cut the crap and just explain why you can't write inspired songs anymore. I'm tired of getting my hopes smashed. See what I did there?