The Smashing Pumpkins
Siamese Dream


5.0
classic

Review

by Porter W. Richards USER (18 Reviews)
November 28th, 2007 | 25 replies | 7,064 views


Release Date: 1993 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Still the unbelievably crazed and addicting record it always was, with some added nostalgia for your listening pleasure.

4 of 4 thought this review was well written

When Billy Corgan’s pet project Smashing Pumpkins formed up back in the late 80s and recorded a multitude of demos, EPs, and a particularly amazing college-rock album (Gish), they could not possibly imagine the heights this band would reach in their career. Siamese Dream, Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. Which one is better? The answer is unclear. Why did Corgan stop making the music that would keep his band popular? No one knows. Why did James Iha dress in, well, a dress for the Today video? The answer is still a mystery. But what is known about this quirky four-piece band is that they have the ability to rock and experiment at the same time. With all the obsessive Nirvana and Pearl Jam-hype of the early 1990s, the Pumpkins dared to be different. They dared to be the most flat-out, balls-out hard rocking band out there, complete with up to 50-something layered guitar tracks on one song. They dared to upstage the grunge anthem, Smells Like Teen Spirit, with a hit as sporadic yet uplifting as any track ever produced, in Today. This is what made Smashing Pumpkins so special.

But, time takes a toll on people, as well as music. Looking back at Siamese Dream, fifteen years ago released, the album seems to still be the defining record of the era (Maybe behind Nevermind). The ridiculously layered guitar tracks, Billy Corgan’s up and down nasal-or-high pitched scream, the infamous guitar tone, or Chamberlin’s revolutionary drumming could all be reasons behind Siamese Dream’s massive success. But it’s not. The album’s ability to capture the essence of the time made it the album it was. Fuse Nirvana, Green Day, and My Bloody Valentine into one ass-kicking album filled with a masterpiece of sonic trickery, anthems to sing-along to, and a collection of epic songs. That’s the real formula behind Siamese Dream.

Yes, the ‘Dream sounds dated. Very dated. The songs seem out of place in today’s high sonic levels, tight guitar tracks and aggressive vocals. But, things like the layered guitar tracks reek of My Bloody Valentine’s Loveless, offering up a heavy dose of nostalgia. Corgan’s small dose of lulling vocals totally screams 90s alt-rock. But somehow, I like it. It gives it a heavy dose of the ‘good ol’ days’ of Bill Clinton, and an era where you could listen to the radio without suffering from the mediocrity of Fall Out Boy or My Chemical Romance. So, yes Siamese Dream hasn’t stood the test of time as well as Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, but it’s a trip down nostalgia road, filled with aggressive bumps in the road, and dynamic masterpieces.

From the hard-rock staple of the 90s Cherub Rock to the atmospheric, dulled lullaby Luna, it manages to be an album of miscellaneous songs, all held together by Corgan’s raspy vocals and the theme ‘live for today’. It’s not a dark, depressing album, either. Corgan wails “Today is the greatest!” above guitar tracks that relax you to sleep, creating the perfect atmosphere in your head. The stand-out on the album, Hummer, is one perfect song. That’s right, impeccable. Beginning with some lo-fi guitar tracking, fused by some loud and aggressive riffs, the song quickly transforms into a low key atmospheric track with verses to kill all songs. It’s amazingly random, yet seemingly structured all in the same way. But once you think you’ve figured out Corgan’s gameplan for Siamese Dream, he throws a bit of acoustic melody at you in the smash-hit single Disarm or the cult-classic Spaceboy.

Remind you, Siamese Dream is definitely a HARD ROCK album. This is pure heavy alternative rock. Billy Corgan screams “QUIET!” above some of the most ferociously distorted guitar tracks ever recorded, or somehow makes a song titled Geek USA a filthy riff-fest. This isn’t some hard-to-digest release like Radiohead’s Kid A or Nine Inch Nails’ The Fragile. One listen, it fits altogether and kicks ass. No filler, just straight-out tracks, each giving you plenty of rock for your tastes.

Nostalgia is a wonderful thing. It’s probably my favorite thing to think about when I’m complaining about today’s world. Things seem so quaint and perfect back then, no War in Iraq and no Soulja Boy. Just good old fashioned Alternative Rock. Not only is Siamese Dream an attack on your memories, it’s an aggressive yet subdued work of art that has everything a rock fan could want-and more. So, basically what I’m saying is that if you don’t own Siamese Dream, buy it. Look past the criticism of Corgan’s voice. Just listen, and prepare for one of the most amazing trips of your life.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
BallsToTheWall
November 28th 2007



44164 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Good review. Solid album that never ages.

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
November 28th 2007



15693 Comments


Underwhelming album, but good review.

Digging: Nmesh - Dream Sequins [AMDISCS]

elbrando
November 28th 2007



18 Comments


Awesome album. The riffs are legendary and the songs are a breath of un-formulaic air compared with most of today's alt-rock. Enjoyed the review, don't agree about its dated-ness, but do agree about Hummer. Rocket, Soma and Mayonnaise are right up there too IMHO.

MoonlightBleeding
November 28th 2007



452 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Thank god I finally put a good review out...*ugh*

McP3000
November 28th 2007



3941 Comments


This album is so overrated its not even funny

MoonlightBleeding
November 28th 2007



452 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Wow whatever dude

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
November 28th 2007



15693 Comments


No, but he's right.

Yazz_Flute
November 28th 2007



18735 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I would have to say this is my favorite album that's not metal. I think i like it even more than BSSM now.

Good review, but i dont know how you got through it without mentioning "Mayonaise" at all. Words cannot describe how beautiful that song is.

Digging: Anekdoten - Vemod

botb
November 28th 2007



9284 Comments


I really don't like these guys. Billy Corgan's voice is one of the most annoying things I've heard in music imo. But they make impressive music, I'll give you that. Good review, as you usually do write.

Digging: Cult Leader - Nothing For Us Here

Yazz_Flute
November 28th 2007



18735 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Billy's voice has many imperfections, but the pure emotion put into his singing is what makes him seem brilliant, at least thats what i think.

McP3000
November 28th 2007



3941 Comments


Yeah, its almost like he's whining the whole time

oh wait

Mikesn
Emeritus
November 29th 2007



3709 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

too bad billy corgan rules

sgrevs
November 29th 2007



698 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I could never rate anything with Billy Corgan a 5. Pretty good review though.

Sound
November 29th 2007



3838 Comments


[quote=]This album is so overrated its not even funny[/quote]

[quote=]Billy Corgan's voice is one of the most annoying things I've heard in music imo. But they make impressive music, I'll give you that.[/quote]

This.


joshuatree
Emeritus
November 29th 2007



3743 Comments


the ‘Dream


lol

MoonlightBleeding
November 29th 2007



452 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Don't know where all the hate for Corgan comes from. His vocals 'back in the day were darn near perfect. Low vibrating roars to high pitched screams. It's almost as if two people are singing in the album.

Not to mention the band's amazing music (excluding vocals)This Message Edited On 11.29.07

himslashher
December 1st 2007



64 Comments


Considering Billy wrote this entire album and played every instrument aside from the drums..

Yeah.. but Billy Corgan isn't talented.

MoonlightBleeding
December 6th 2007



452 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Billy Corgan is talented. But I must say, after seeing them live, Corgan can still hit the notes of Siamese Dream and MCIS...just not on record...wtf?

MartianKyo
May 14th 2008



23 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Hits like Cherub rock, today and disarm aside.
What really makes this album worth listening are Mayonnaise, Soma and Hummer.


rasputin
May 14th 2008



14504 Comments


Soma is legendary.



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