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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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