Zwan
Mary Star Of The Sea


4.0
excellent

Review

by Andrew H. EMERITUS
January 14th, 2005 | 54 replies | 10,082 views


Release Date: 2003 | Tracklist


After the Smashing Pumpkins broke up in 2001, Billy Corgan set about making a new project. He recruited Paz Lenchantin (Bass) from A Perfect Circle and took Jimmy Chamberlin (Drums) from his old band. The trio later added Matt Sweeney and David Pajo (Guitars). When they released their first album, titled "Mary Star Of The Sea", it was met with mixed reviews. Many called it a great album, full of catchy numbers, and Corgan's best work since Siamese Dream, while others called it a poor substitute of the Smashing Pumpkins. As most people will know, Zwan broke up last year because Billy's "heart was still in the Smashing Pumpkins".

The best way to look at Zwan is to look at them as an entirely different band to the Pumpkins. The two bands have their similarities, but you need to remember that they aren't the Smashing Pumpkins, despite the two Pumpkin members. The main differences are the mood of the music and the fact that with Zwan, Billy isn't entirely running the show, he allows the talents of his other members to come out. The music itself is bright and uplifting and Corgan's voice suits it well. For me personally, this is one of, if not THE best album of 2003. I found it to be amazing, there will be mixed feelings on this album, but I think most people could enjoy it.

Lyric- The amazing album opener. The opening riff is great, and the rest of the song continues to be just as good. Billy's voice is great, and in the chorus, Paz does some backing vocals which sound awesome. The rest of the song never fails to make you feel good, especially with the build ups to the chorus, and then the amazing chorus itself. This song is good times for all.
5/5

Settle Down- This song has another amazing opening riff. The rest of the song isn't as good, but still great. Billy actually sounds like he's having fun with this track. Towards the end, there is a great guitar solo. Still a great song, and I think it may have been released as a single.
4/5

Declarations Of Faith- This song has yet another awesome riff. The verse is pretty decent, but then the chorus comes in and it's an amazing chorus. The main riff of the song is actually somewhat reminiscent of "Disarm" off Siamese Dream by the Pumpkins. There are some good lyrics in this song too, really catchy bits.
4.5/5

Honestly- From the flanged guitar intro to the end of the song, it never gets crap. The song is very uplifting and has some great lead parts. Billy's voice is exceptional in this song, as is the drumming. It's one of the catchiest tracks on the cd, and it's a lot of fun. There is a guitar solo towards the end, which really fits into the song and sounds great. There are some nice drops in here too.
5/5

El Sol- This song is slightly less hard then the previous tracks, but it's just as good. The drums are one of the highlights. There is a really catchy line that Billy sings "Sunshine is all I wanted". The guitars are good in this, as in every track, because the band has three guitarists who know what they are doing.
4.5/5

Of A Broken Heart- A more acoustic track, with a few lead parts on a clean electric, it's a more emotional song than the last few songs, but it doesn't sound like Billy is depressed, like some Smashing Pumpkins songs. There is also a cello in the song and the strings add a lot of texture to the song and makes it sound awesome.
5/5

Ride A Black Swan- The distorted electric guitars come out again for this song, and it rocks just like the tracks earlier on the album. Billy sings a few catchy lines in this song and there are also some nice solo bits at the end. Towards the middle of the song, there is a nice vocal harmony between Billy and Matt.
4/5

Heartsong- Another more acoustic track, a bit reminiscent of a Smashing Pumpkins song like "Disarm" mixed with the sounds of "Adore". The lyrics in this song are good and they make the song, because there aren't a lot of instruments, besides an acoustic guitar and synthesisers in the background. The song is really "nice", there isn't much more you can do to describe it.
4.5/5

Endless Summer- The song starts out with a nice little lead riff and then the full band comes back in. A cool thing in the chorus is when Billy sings the melody, an electric guitar plays the melody over it. Jimmy Chamberlin's mosterous drumming comes out in here as well as a guitar solo. This song is a bit of a "feelgood" track, hence the name "Endless Summer". Good times.
4/5

Baby Let's Rock!- Right from the start, the cool guitar effects come out with a cool little riff and then there are some good riffs under Billy's singing. The chorus is fairly heavy and it works well. There are some really sweet breaks/stalls/pauses whatever you want to call them in here. Along with the heavy guitars and solo, it makes for a great song, the drumming isn't bad either. The lyrics are catchy and you will probably find yourself singing them.
4.5/5

Yeah!- Probably one of the best songs on the cd, and interestingly, the only one where Billy swears. Even though I think swearing is a gross habit, this one gives me chills. The chorus of this song is cool, Billy just sings "yeah" and a guitar plays a really cool melody over the top of it. This is good stuff.
5/5

Desire- A softer song, with some excellent lead guitar parts. Billy's voice is really cool with this song. The chorus is the best part with Billy's voice over some brilliant melodies. There are synthesisers and atmospherics an here which add to it very much, and one guitarist does some awesome runs before the chorus, which sounds amazing.
4.5/5

Jesus, I/Mary Star Of The Sea- I think this may be the weakest track on the album. The riff isn't that great and the lyrics seem to be just ranting. At the start anyway. The song picks up towards the end, but it still isn't the best song. Then the solo happens, which isn't that good a solo imo. The song then turns into an instrumental which is relaxing to have in the background, but you get over it and will probably skip it after a few listens.

Starting Song: 2.9/5
Instrumental: 3.5/5
Overall: a high 3/5


Come With Me- The closing track of the album starts with a folkish sound including a harmonica. Billy has some good vocals in this and the harmonica melodies are really cool. The song basically ends the album on a happy, see you next time kind of note. Unfortunatly, we most likely won't see Zwan again.
4/5

Well, there you have it, the only way to decide for yourself is to listen to the album. I would be interested to see a review of someone who didn't especially like the album. I think it's a great album to get your spirits high and it's a lot of fun, despite suffering from cheesy lyrics.

Final Rating: a low 4/5



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user ratings (125)
Chart.
3.1
good
other reviews of this album
montague (4)
...


Comments:Add a Comment 
ZEROthirtythree
May 8th 2004



234 Comments


I also really enjoyed this album, much more than Machina or Gish. "Declarations Of Faith" and "Jesus, I/Mary Star Of The Sea" are my favorites. It is definetly a summer album, so i will start listening to it more in the upcoming months.

Radiobass81
May 8th 2004



23 Comments


Ive been thinking of buying it for a long while, but Ive only heard Honestly.

Nice review :thumb:

Iai
Emeritus
July 26th 2004



3553 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

I'm sorry to say, but this is the worst album I've ever bought in my life. It's a shame, because Honestly is a fantastic song, and I can't help but feel that what with that song and Corgan's reputation, loads of people were duped into buying this.

It's the only album I've ever heard that I truly hate. The lyrics actually sound like they were written by a 5 year old (a piece of sunshine/To butter my toast). That's not an exaggerated insult - they genuinely do. The interplay between the guitars is great at points, but it never gets better than Honestly, and does not redeem the album at all. Paz Lenchantin seems completely despondant; most probably because Corgan made it well known he wanted Peter Hook (New Order) instead, and wanted Paz to sound like him. If you liked the bass (and violins) on Mer De Noms, be warned that you won't find more here. Billy's voice hasn't changed much, and does not suit this music at all. All that's changed is that the charisma is gone. The drummer (Billy Chamberlain?) does his job well - he's an engine room - but drums can't save an album, and the work here is inferior to his Pumpkins work anyway.

I'd give this 0/5. Possibly lower. And it's the only album in the world I can say that about.

Just thought I should post this so that people get a different view of the album.

Good review though. I just completely disagreed with everything you said. :p

SubtleDagger
July 26th 2004



737 Comments


"Dream Pop"? Are you fucking serious?

Who comes up with this stuff?

Iai
Emeritus
July 26th 2004



3553 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

[QUOTE=SubtleDagger]"Dream Pop"? Are you fucking serious?

Who comes up with this stuff?[/QUOTE]

Hahah! I never even noticed that.

ZEROthirtythree
July 26th 2004



234 Comments


[QUOTE=SubtleDagger]"Dream Pop"? Are you fucking serious?

Who comes up with this stuff?[/QUOTE]

Dream pop is a type of alternative rock that originated in the early 1980s when bands like the Cocteau Twins began twisting New Wave melodies into sonic, echoing textures and mumbled vocals. In the late 1980s, several varieties of dream pop emerged, primarily in Britain. These included shoegazing, space rock, Britpop and twee pop.

I like the name, it's better then adding "core" to everything

Wanker
July 26th 2004



139 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

i didnt enjoy this album that much the last time i listened to it, which was a long time ago (probably right after it came out). but i downloaded some live songs before the album came out and some of the songs i downloaded arent on the album. its disappointing because those live songs were so great that when i saw that they weren't on the album, it was even more of a letdown. anyways, i'd give this album a 3/5, but i'm going to give it another listen.
also, i noticed that you gave jesus i/mary start of the sea the lowest rating; thats my favorite track on the album.

The JoZ
July 26th 2004



345 Comments


You mean you don't like the idea of calling them "Pop-core"? :p

ZEROthirtythree
July 26th 2004



234 Comments


[QUOTE=The JoZ]You mean you don't like the idea of calling them "Pop-core"? :p[/QUOTE]

Dream Pop sounds so much better than pop-core or dream-core.

Iai
Emeritus
July 26th 2004



3553 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

How is Britpop anything like what you described? Shoegazing, yes, I can see, and Zwan could be described as shoegazers (which I always thought of as a derogatory term).

br3ad_man
Emeritus
July 27th 2004



2125 Comments


[QUOTE=Iai]How is Britpop anything like what you described? Showgazing, yes, I can see, and Zwan could be described as shoegazers (which I always thought of as a derogatory term).[/QUOTE]

:thumb:

[QUOTE=SubtleDagger]"Dream Pop"? Are you ****ing serious?[/QUOTE]

I was about to say something, but then ZERO gave a better answer than I could have. I really like the name "Dream Pop", it's a good description

[QUOTE=Wanker]i didnt enjoy this album that much the last time i listened to it, which was a long time ago (probably right after it came out). but i downloaded some live songs before the album came out and some of the songs i downloaded arent on the album. its disappointing because those live songs were so great that when i saw that they weren't on the album, it was even more of a letdown. anyways, i'd give this album a 3/5, but i'm going to give it another listen.[/QUOTE]

Yeah, I didn't enjoy that song much because it seemed to long and drawn out. I don't know what they were trying to do with that song, but imo it didn't really work.

Shadowed Reflection
September 15th 2004



274 Comments


Hmmm..... i knew billy was in Zwan but Jimmy, thats awesome. I will probably get this album. Some people say that Zwan were a poor substitute for the pumpkins, but you gotta remember that Zwan didnt have the guitar talent of Iha and the catchy bass of D'arcy. The smashing pumpkins were a very good band and their style was unique, making it very hard to copy. Zwan did a great job IMO of living up to their legacy and I think Billy is a very talented musician and can bring out the best in any band.

br3ad_man
Emeritus
September 15th 2004



2125 Comments


I think they had plenty of guitar talent...and they had Paz on bass. They just didn't have much time to get to know each other was musicians. I think that if they had time to know each other musically then they could have been just as good as the pumpkins by their 3rd or 4th album, maybe even their 2nd.

Happymeal
September 15th 2004



330 Comments


I thought this album was a bit rushed, the first time I listened to it. There wasn't enough to keep me hooked.. I think that Desire's the best song though, I listened to it for a week straight.

borisdablade
September 15th 2004



4 Comments


Look both the Pumpkins and Zwan ARE Billy...the members around him are merely hired hands, he is the maestro.

Before recording the album he for some reason became very interested in christianity, and subsequently everything sugar and spice. The result of this unfortunatly is a hollow, boring and unbearably happy pop album. The Pumpkins records were original, honest and poetic, this album is cliche light pop custom-built for pandering to soft-rock radio stations and the christian rock crowd.

You know i never believed that depression aids the creative process, but this album puts that in question - il take bleak billy over pretentious religious billy any day.

Kingadamx
September 15th 2004



120 Comments


Corgan really went in a different direction with his music once he left the pumpkins. I'm sorry but I strongly dislike this album.

Shadowed Reflection
September 17th 2004



274 Comments


IMO Zwan are good. we shoodof gave them a chance, Gish wasnt great, but it was alright. I downloaded lyric and its brilliant, it remindes me so much of the smashing pumpkins and i dont see how anyone could say that it doesnt. The tribe (me) has spoken :thumb:

Wanker
September 17th 2004



139 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I can't believe this got a better rating than Machina :eek: :eek: :eek:

br3ad_man
Emeritus
September 20th 2004



2125 Comments


I like this album better than Machina. Lyric is amazing.

Tangy zizzle
September 20th 2004



253 Comments


I don't really like Zwan.



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