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Old 09-12-2010, 01:05 PM   #31 (permalink)
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Siamese Dream is one of my favorite albums, ever. General consensus seems to point towards Mellon Collie as the favorite but I disagree. Mellon Collie is great, a little drawn out though. I think a single disc would have made a better album. I've never been too big on double albums anyway. Dylan's Blonde on Blonde is the only perfect double album I've ever heard. I consider The White Album even flawed.

Anyway, there isn't a single thing I dislike about Siamese Dream. It's pure brilliance.
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Old 10-06-2010, 07:26 PM   #32 (permalink)
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I changed my mind about reviewing Pisces and Aeroplane at the end. Pisces Iscariot review is coming up next. (and very soon)
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Old 10-11-2010, 02:49 PM   #33 (permalink)
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PISCES ISCARIOT


1994


Overview

In 1994, one year after Siamese Dream and one year before Mellon Collie, The Smashing Pumpkins released a b-sides and outtakes compilation entitled Pisces Iscariot. To some surprise, this album contained some very, very good songs.

This album contains some essential Pumpkins tunes. It also displayed a bit more variety than their first two albums with tracks like "Obscured," "Spaced," and "Blew Away." Being a b-sides compilation, the great flow of the last two albums isn't entirely here, but it isn't terrible. Some songs like "Blew Away" and "La Dolly Vita" aren't exactly great songs, but they work well within the context of the album. Speaking of "Blew Away," it is the first song sung by James Iha, to be put on a Pumpkins album. Eventually though, Iha will be writing better tunes than "Blew Away."

There are some crap songs on this album, to go along with the good ones like "Spaced," and "Girl Named Sandoz." The former isn't much of a song while the latter hurts what flow the album has. The great songs include "Starla," "Hello Kitty Kat," and "Landslide." Despite being a cover, "Landslide" feels right at home here.

At about 57 minutes, this album is longer than Gish but shorter than Siamese Dream. Honestly, the album goes by too quickly with the amount of good to great songs here.

Although this album is good, let's face it, it IS a b-sides album. It isn't quite as good as Gish and its not close to Siamese Dream. In 1994 though, it certainly helped the wait for Mellon Collie and it introduced us to some great Pumpkins songs. If you liked Gish and Siamese Dream you'll definitely like this one, and it is a worthy buy for any Pumpkins fan.

Track By Track Review

So the album starts off with a very subdued accoustic track titled Soothe. It rides along with a quiet, sad guitar riff. In fact, that's all there is to this song. Just a nice little guitar riff and Billy's vocals. I believe he is saying "Hold me, hold me again," but he could be saying "Hungry, hungry again." I'm not entirely sure. This is a bit of a contrast to their last two albums which began with a full out rocker. While the song may be simple, it pulls off the job of the opening song quite well, and what it lacks in drums and bass it makes up for in a very nice guitar riff and vocal melody.

Now we get Frail And Bedazzled. Jimmy shines on this one. "Frail And Bedazzled" reminds me a lot of "Siva" from Gish. This song probably could have replaced "Quiet" as the second track on Siamese Dream, but "Quiet" contains a much better vocal melody than this song does. The song contains a nice short little solo or two, but the main riff can become tiring.

The third song is titled Plume. This song is carried by a very distorted sludgy riff. This song is pretty much an ode to the monotony of every day life and it also contains a few interesting solos.(Of course, not as good as "Soma's" solo, but still good) There is nothing interesting here in terms of bass lines. Sometimes its hard to hear the bass because of the obnoxious sludginess of the guitar. A few laughable lyrics here though. (My boredom has outshone the sun, I don't care or give a f*ck, etc) Overall though, this is pretty decent track but its obvious why it didn't make the cut for Siamese Dream.

"Plume" is follwed by Whir. This track has a real nice guitar riff and atmosphere. The drums take a bit of backseat in this song. This song deals with the problem of things going bad after you thought they had finally gotten good. Billy comes up with a pretty good vocal melody for this song, although when he says "Whir yourself around" it almost sounds like "Worry yourself around." This song could have been on Siamese in my opinion. Maybe it could have replaced "Sweet Sweet" or something.

After the great song that is "Whir" we get an Iha track with Blew Away. This song, like nearly every Iha song, is a bit quiet and subdued. Also like nearly every Iha song, it is a love song. "Blew, blew away!" I'm not gonna lie, this song isn't one of my favorites on Pisces. Iha's vocal melody here is a bit lacking. The drum work isn't anything fancy. At the very least, it has a nice build to the decent solo in it and it works within the context of the album rather nicely. I know some Pumpkins fans love this song, but Iím not one of them. Itís just average.

Probably one of the fastest, most all out rock songs the Pumpkins ever did is here. This song is Pissant. Jimmy lays down a very nice beat, and Billy comes up with a very nice, infectious riff. "Inside your head, trust me instead" is the chorus in this song, and it works rather nicely. Billy actually gets a few good screams in this song. I believe D'arcy tried to get Billy to put this song on the album(Siamese Dream), but he wouldn't because he thought it wasn't good enough. The highligh of this whole song isn't the guitar solo, but rather when all the instruments stop and Billy whispers, "Baby..." Anyway, this is definitely a great tune.

"Pissant" is followed up by another all-out rocker in Hello Kitty Kat. This song has one of the best vocal melodies on this album, oh and it has also got a nice short little guitar solo near the beginning. Jimmy is a beast on this song too. While this song is a tad slower than "Pissant" this song has a better chorus and vocal melody along with better drum beats. Later in the song there's a longer guitar solo that kicks 10x as much ass as the one in the beginning. I wanna say that this song has been around since the Gish days, but I'm not sure. I know it has been around since at least '92. Anyway, another great tune, definitely a highlight of the album.

Now we get a bit of a weirder Pumpkins song with Obscured. This has got bongos or something like that taking the place of JC and his traditional drum kit. It is another quiet one. It has nice lyrics and a decent vocal melody but for me, it isn't one of the highlights. The chord progression is also pretty nice. Don't get me wrong, I think it is a good song, it just isn't one of the bests on PI.

Landslide is the ninth track. Anyone who knows anything about anything knows that this is a cover song originally played by Fleetwood Mac, and written by Stevie Nicks. This is actually probably the best cover song the Pumpkins have ever put to record. Billy's voice sounds really good on this song, and this song fits in with a lot of other Pumpkins song with the whole theme of getting older, and your youth disappearing quickly. In fact, this is one of my favorite covers by any band. The Pumpkins have some good covers on The Aeroplane Flies High boxset too, but that is for a different review.

So the next track is the epic of the album, Starla. Like most quality Pumpkins epics, it starts off slow, and builds up to the distortion. Billy actually named this song after a girl he met who he thought was named Starla, but her name was really Darla. Billy thought that would be a great name for a song so he used it for this one. Billy met the girl sometime later and told her, "Did you hear the song we named after you, Starla?" and she replied "What? My name's Darla. But that's ok, Darla, Starla close enough." This is definitely a fan favorite and it must have been amazing to hear them play this back in '93 and '94. (Did they play this in '93? I'm not sure) Anyway, this Pumpkins epic doesn't build up to any real explosive moments unlike "Thru The Eyes Of Ruby" or "Porcelina Of The Vast Oceans." It does build up to the meat of the song which is the 5 minute guitar solo, which, in my opinon, is one of the best Pumpkins guitar solos ever. Yeah, this song is definitely a highlight, and could have easily replaced some of the best songs on Siamese Dream.

They follow up "Starla" with track 11, Blue. Finally we get a kickass bassline. Hoohrah! This song sounds kind of middle eastern with its guitar riff. For the most part, this is a mid-tempo rocker, and a decent one at that. Being mid tempo, Jimmy doesn't get to go as crazy as I'm sure he'd like to, but his performance is still top notch. Unfortunately, the vocal melody isn't as good as the bass line. It has a little breakdown around 2 minutes in, and it transitions into a slower song at about the pace of "Mayonaise." It's too bad that this song never really goes anywhere interesting though. The bass line is the highlight of this song.

Now we get another cover, Girl Named Sandoz. This song was originally by The Animals, and I believe it was a b-side. To be honest, I never liked The Animals version of this song, and I don't care much for The Pumpkins version of it either. It kind of ruins the flow being so unlike other Pumpkins songs. While "Landslide" could have been mistaken for a Pumpkins original if someone didn't know any better, this song definitely couldn't have.

The next song is La Dolly Vita. This is a slower more subdued track. This contains one of the funniest Pumpkins lyrics of all time in "Cool as ice cream!" "La Dolly Vita" is carried by its psychadelic guitar riff. The lyrics certainly aren't a standout on this one, even though they can be funny. I've always been sort of indifferent to this song, I never really hated it, but never took a fancy to it either. At around 3:30 the song gets better with some distortion and some classic Jimmy. Just an okay song though.

Final track on the album is Spaced. This really isn't much of a song, but a bunch of layers of Billy talking and a repetitive guitar riff. I will admit though, this track is relaxing. Like "Obscured" this song is one of a kind, and manages to at least be relaxing and unique (for the first few listens anyway) but it isn't anything to write home about.

Highlights

Starla

Landslide

Hello Kitty Kat


SCORE

7.0/10
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Old 10-11-2010, 03:04 PM   #34 (permalink)
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I am always amazed at the quality of Pumpkins b sides. Billy is incredibly creative. Soothe was made randomly in Billy's apartment one morning. He woke up, had the idea for the song, busted out a cheap recorder and his acoustic and then we get Soothe. Great stuff.
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Old 10-11-2010, 03:22 PM   #35 (permalink)
 
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Another nice review. I have to disagree with you on 'Blew Away' though, for me it's one of the highlights of the album and probably my favourite James Iha Pumpkins song. What's really fascinating about that song now is that it's as far removed from today's Smashing Pumpkins as you can get. The song consists of James on guitar and vocals, D'Arcy on bass, Kerry Brown filling in on drums while Jimmy was on holidays, and Billy decided to have a minimum influence on the song.

The other highlights of the album for me are 'Whir' (i just love that ending so much), 'Hello Kitty Kat' (this song should have been on Siamese Dream) and 'Starla' (11 minutes of awesomeness).
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Old 10-17-2010, 03:36 AM   #36 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by duga View Post
I'll be looking forward to this. I credit the Smashing Pumpkins with turning a decent enthusiasm for music into a full blown obsession. For that reason I will always count the Pumpkins as my favorite band even if I don't listen to them as much these days.
Plus one on that. Before around 2 years ago I just kinda liked grunge. After hearing all of Siamese Dream in 2008 I just started loving life..then when I explored all their albums including their bsides I just REEALLY loved life, music and the Smashing Pumpkins.
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Old 10-17-2010, 03:47 AM   #37 (permalink)
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Cant wait for your MCIS review..oh and side 2 IS an outstanding track list..despite what the bandwagon says..
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Old 10-17-2010, 04:41 PM   #38 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by duga View Post
I am always amazed at the quality of Pumpkins b sides. Billy is incredibly creative. Soothe was made randomly in Billy's apartment one morning. He woke up, had the idea for the song, busted out a cheap recorder and his acoustic and then we get Soothe. Great stuff.
I find alot of 90's bands have awsome bsides. Nirvana, RHCP, and Porcupine Tree for starters.
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Old 10-24-2010, 06:01 PM   #39 (permalink)
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Quote:
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Cant wait for your MCIS review..oh and side 2 IS an outstanding track list..despite what the bandwagon says..
Glad to hear it. I'd tell you if I agreed with your sentiment on disc 2 but that would ruin the review!

I can see why you'd love life after hearing Siamese Dream, life is always better with Smashing Pumpkins. Well, at least for Smashing Pumpkins fans. There are some people who can't stand Billy's voice, though those are the people who haven't really given the Pumpkins a chance.

@RezZ You forgot Oasis! They had some GREAT b-sides in the Definitely Maybe and Morning Glory days. Even on later albums, the b-sides were better than many songs on the actual albums like "Let's All Make Believe" and "Eyeball Tickler."
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Old 10-27-2010, 02:13 PM   #40 (permalink)
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I've always enjoyed Corgan's music and attitude and gained a greater appreciation for him after watching the Rush documentary in which he appeared and vouched his love for the band and their musicianship.
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