The Smashing Pumpkins
Siamese Dream


5.0
classic

Review

by Thomas Bambaataa Ghidrah Towers USER (67 Reviews)
December 5th, 2005 | 1554 replies | 88,387 views


Release Date: 1993 | Tracklist


46 of 47 thought this review was well written

Quick now- think of 1993's best album. If you didn't think of Siamese Dream, that's okay, I'll forgive you this time. If you thought of Radiohead's Pablo Honey... well I don't know what kind of freak you are. This sophomore album was the breakthrough for Smashing Pumpkins, though it was uncertain whether they'd be able to continue. Billy Corgan was set full on Control Freak Mode as recently broken up guitarist James Iha and bassist D'Arcy Wretzky were pushed aside, Billy shared one goal with producer Bitch Vig: perfection. And though Billy later admitted he was unhappy with how Siamese Dream had turned out, he came pretty close. Like the Cure's Pornography, Siamese Dream proved that the best music can still be made while going insane. And so, through various tensions, contemplations of suicide, and alcoholism, Smashing Pumpkins proved to be the little band that could. Well, for one more album at least.

An album notorious for at least 27 tracks of guitar per song, Siamese Dream begins as a relentless onslaught of supersonic Queen-sized guitars sailing through fuzzy seas with Cherub Rock. Though the sea seems to make restless waves of noise, the song sails smoothly as Billy Corgan sings with his nasal and snarling voice half-optimistic half-cynical responses to the hipster Indie kids who thought Corgan was too pretentious. They need to grow a pair. The waves only get even more fidgety as the S.S. Siamese Dream voyages into the second track Quiet, a caustic song introduced by muddled guitar slides resembling mundane dragsters racing, probably driven by Billy Corgan's angst. All this grunginess in the first two tracks may throw one off, but there's oh so much more. This was in fact quite anti-grunge. Billy Corgan basically hated Nirvana, the band's apparel of choice was paisley shirts instead of flannel found in the dumpster, and most importantly (the others weren't even important) Billy wasn't afraid to solo his ass off and dismiss typical song structures.

Siamese Dream is like Billy Corgan's diary of all his relationships in the past two years. And it's not your usual diary where a casual entry would be: Dear Diary, the people at school are meanies and I hate them. The chicken was good. Corgan's poetic and enigmatic lyrics throw one off at first, but the emotions are bare and universal. The epically bittersweet Soma is about Billy's girlfriend leaving him, the bitter and not sweet at all Disarm is an open message to all about his [deprived] childhood and how he grew up to become an asshole. The darkest one of all may just be the brightest song on the album, Today was written by an overweight and tired Billy Corgan deciding whether to commit suicide or not. Despite it being a life or death matter, Corgan cheekily decides that today is the greatest day of his life because there's no way things could get worse. Well you could catch a cold or stub your toe, don't be so sure Mr. Corgan.

With the help of perfectionist producer Butch Vig, the swirls of vintage and outdated fuzz sound polished with a My Bloody Valentineesque feel. The sprawling border-edge progressive rock Hummer is strung together by stylized dissonance before going into an ambient outro lead by quiet, clean guitars. The other noticeable epic is Silverfuck, a schizophrenic soliloquy who's hard hitting riffs and angst is vaporized into a quiet maddening interlude. Despite its uniqueness, it damages Siamese Dream's consistency, probably the only song that tires quickly. To balance out the 8 minute madness of Silverfuck, Siamese Dream ends with the surprisingly sugary and short Sweet Sweet and the dreamy ballad Luna. For both the fuzz is done away with for lighter and warmer guitars for a minimally symphonic ending.

Siamese Dream seems to follow some sort of mood trip; it begins sarcastic, dark and angst-ridden, it flows into remorseful and depressing, then into surreal and poetic with no real theme, and ends on a wistful and romantic tone. The zenith of the depressiveness peaks at the acoustic, cello driven, theatrical Disarm, drummer Jimmy Chamberlain's jazz-infused drumming is dismissed for dramatic bell chimes. Siamese Dream is a collage of moods and feelings as well as music, one moment lashing out at someone in fuzz-ridden rage, the other embracing that same person romantically in dreamy atmospheres. From the head banging and complex Geek U.S.A. to the simple and contemplative Mellotron driven Spaceboy, the album varies a lot, but doesn't go totally out of whack in variety like Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. Smashing Pumpkins, like Sonic Youth and My Bloody Valentine created waves of lush guitar sounds to craft a symphonic album, even in the simpler songs like Today. Where's your damn Pablo Honey now?



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Comments:Add a Comment 
innerdark
December 5th 2005



749 Comments


Nice review, i didn't knoow that today was about billy contemplating suicide...oh well, learn something new everyday

i don't think i need to do my one, you covered all the bases :thumb:

*votes positively*

Storm In A Teacup
December 5th 2005



12687 Comments


Great review, as for the band, I just can't get into them. Oh I know about how they are all styles of music and everything. I just don't like'm.

innerdark
December 5th 2005



749 Comments


thats what i was like at first, but when my uncle got me rotten apples last year at xmas, i was converted, you can be to

JUST BELIEVE IN THE PUMPKINS!! lol

Iai
Emeritus
December 5th 2005



3553 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

1993?

X-Japan - Art of Life
The Afghan Whigs - Gentlemen
Counting Crows - August and Everything After
Cynic - Focus
Scrawl - Velvet Hammer

But I guess this is 6th.

pulseczar
December 5th 2005



2385 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

it was a rhetorical question :upset: :p

Shadows
Moderator
December 5th 2005



2530 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Sweet review. This album isn't as good as MCatIS, but I still like this. Disarm has to be one of their best songs ever.

innerdark
December 5th 2005



749 Comments


that, and today

DesolationRow
December 5th 2005



833 Comments


Great review. I really don't care for Smashing Pumpkins, but i can see why people would like them. Very detailed paragraphs, as well.

Zebra
Moderator
December 5th 2005



2647 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Great review.

This is an excellent album, but the Pumpkins 2nd best next to their debut.

Disarm, and Geek U.S.A. are my favorites off here.



Cravinov13
December 5th 2005



3854 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Only Smasihng Pumpkins could get away with a song like Silverf*ck on a CD with two innocent little girls on the cover.

Good review.

Jawaharal
December 5th 2005



1832 Comments


I still have yet to hear a SP song besides bullet with butterfly wings :upset:

Oh, great review too.This Message Edited On 12.05.05

Cravinov13
December 5th 2005



3854 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Today and Disarm :thumb: Good stuff.

Cravinov13
December 5th 2005



3854 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

That CD pwns as well

innerdark
December 5th 2005



749 Comments


as does my review for it (hint hint)

pulseczar
December 5th 2005



2385 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

go whore somewhere else Hoppus


*Pimp smacks cheeto for not listening to this album*

innerdark
December 5th 2005



749 Comments


sorry :upset: i won't do it again, please don't kill me

Pechorin
December 5th 2005



160 Comments


This was an excellent review for a good album. I do, however, like Pablo Honey a lot.

Zebra
Moderator
December 8th 2005



2647 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Smashing Pumpkins > Any other grunge band

gimo80
December 22nd 2005



223 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Ummmm, no.

Yup, I must admit, they have their moments of pure grunge, but all of their CD's have so much diversity - look at Mellon Collie. That has SO many genres rolled into one, it's incredible - and as for Adore, my God, piano playing and drum machines? I think not as far as grunge is concerned.

Siamese Dreams is the finest album ever created in my opinion. Great review by the way.

Wanker
December 23rd 2005



139 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Great review for an even better album. It's #1 on my list.



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