Billy Corgan
Ogilala


3.5
great

Review

by neekafat USER (28 Reviews)
October 16th, 2017 | 112 replies


Release Date: 2017 | Tracklist

Review Summary: An unassuming achievement from the King of Complacency.

Perhaps what’s so immediately striking about Ogilala is its lack of pretension. Coming from William “Billy” Corgan, who was the king of one of the greatest alt-rock bands of all-time (and made sure everyone knew it), it’s wholly unexpected for him to have put forth such a modest recording. Maybe it’s that under the Pumpkins name he feels like he has something to prove, but under his own he allows himself to just make music.

The album’s simple nature rests at the core of its musicality. Acoustic guitars, echoing pianos, and sweeping strings are unburdened by the electric or electronic, which only serve as accents on one or two small moments throughout the work. The simplicity of the record doesn’t mask its depth, however. There’s a blanketing fullness to the record that I’m sure producer Rick Rubin is at least partially responsible for. Every song, no matter how slight or timid, has the strength and sonic vibrance of any one of Corgan’s endeavors with the Pumpkins.

This creates something so completely warm and familiar in Ogilala. Despite this not being an album to blow you away or even immediately captivate your attention, it’s something that you can simply feel good listening to. It’s easily the prettiest thing he’s ever put together as a whole, and there’s an amiable quality to it that relaxes rather than astounds. Much of it can feel repetitive at times, but it works in a calming way. It’s as if Corgan’s saying, “This is what we’re doing now and we’re just gonna do it. You don’t have to stretch your mind, just open your ears for us.” It’s just nice to have music like that every once in a while, especially when it’s done in such a lovely way.

The been-there-done-that feel does ultimately harm the album in the long run. There are a couple of songs (namely “Antietam” and “Shiloh”) that feature little more than a gentle strum pattern and good-natured vibes, and while they both serve as pleasant listens, they both represent sounds and ideas already well-represented in the album. Despite a very short run-time compared to his previous endeavors, cutting these tracks from the album would be no great loss. There’s also a likelihood that on repeated listens I’m not going to be able to tell the songs apart due to the similar trajectories of so many of the tracks. But when it comes down to it, it’s hard to dislike any of them due to how agreeable and good-natured they are.

That isn’t to say that there aren’t any standouts either. Piano driven tracks such as opener “Zowie” and the string-laden “Mandarynne” serve as memorable and richly melodic songs in their own right, that work well in and out of the context of the album. “Archer” manages to encapsulate the entire mood of the album perfectly. Corgan’s elegant vocal melodies and the affecting instrumentation stand out here like no other, and one can’t help but be reminded of the previously confounding album cover. The song, just like the artwork, is nothing but a warm memory. A child is lifted by his mother as he reaches up to the sun. I am reminded of the happiness of that situation. The innocence. The wonder. The melancholy of the nostalgia and knowing you’ll never feel it again. But you know you could never forget it.

With Ogilala, it’s entirely likely that Corgan was just trying to make a straightforward good album. He isn’t trying to surprise or astonish, just to please us and make us feel good and warm. And if that’s the case, I’d say he’s done something right.



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user ratings (37)
Chart.
3.4
great
other reviews of this album
chemicalbilly (1)
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Comments:Add a Comment 
neekafat
October 15th 2017


6262 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I can’t wait to jam this some cold winter day in the near future



It’d warm me right up

neekafat
October 15th 2017


6262 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Also massive shoutout for my man blush for the proofreading! My reviews would be giant messes without him haha

neekafat
October 15th 2017


6262 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

WWE

Coincidence...?

neekafat
October 16th 2017


6262 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

But seriously yeah I could see this growing one me

BlushfulHippocrene
October 16th 2017


2019 Comments


Great work, Neeka! Keep up the fantastic job, you're really coming into your own with these reviews. To be honest, I was never even much of Pumpkins fan, so I don't think the novelty's enough to get me into this.

Digging: Julien Baker - Turn Out The Lights

DoofusWainwright
Contributing Reviewer
October 16th 2017


16543 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Love the review Neeks, thinking this is a classic 'I'll download two or three tunes and leave it there' album

Digging: Cathal Coughlan - The Sky's Awful Blue

AsleepInTheBack
October 16th 2017


5132 Comments


Nice job neeka, lovely job at capturing the soft and simple nature of the record.
Tiny pick in the second para first sentence: "it's" should be "its".

ScreamingMatchProd
October 16th 2017


1 Comments


It's "William Patrick Corgan" now. He's a big boy now.

Reminds me of the office when Andy comes back from anger management.

Andy: Good morning, Pam.
Pam: Oh, welcome back, Andy.
Andy: Drew. I'm Drew now.
Pam: Oh. Drew. Sorry.
Andy: Apology not... accepted. Because it wasn't even necessary in the first place.

Great review!

neekafat
October 16th 2017


6262 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks everyone!

@blush yeah I can see why this wouldn't do much for you then, but I think you might did those choice cuts I mentioned (:

@doof, what were your favorites??

@asleep, nice catch thanks!

@Screaming, hahaha exactly

TwigTW
October 16th 2017


2801 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

So I guess this means the Pumpkins reunion Billy--I mean William--was hinting at earlier in the year is off the table... This is nice though. Lighter, for sure, but the guy is 50 years old.

neekafat
October 16th 2017


6262 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Actually James Iha played guitar on Processional, which is the first time since Machina that they were on an album together sooooooooo

Anything's possible at this point

DoofusWainwright
Contributing Reviewer
October 16th 2017


16543 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Too one toned for me this, plus those legendary vocals do become a little bit of an issue in places

TwigTW
October 16th 2017


2801 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Supposedly D'arcy gave the Ok, so fingers crossed.

neekafat
October 16th 2017


6262 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

@Doof, I can see that being a problem def, for the most part I liked the vocals greatly on this, his voice has aged well imo

@Twig, hypeeee

DoofusWainwright
Contributing Reviewer
October 16th 2017


16543 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Most the time his singing is nice here, just occasionally it gets ever so slightly painful

neekafat
October 16th 2017


6262 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I think at this point it's a given that sometimes he'll grate haha

Were you a fan of the closer on here?

Astral Abortis
Contributing Reviewer
October 16th 2017


3390 Comments


Never heard any Smashing Pumpkins in my life, let alone any of this guy's other work. Decided to give this a listen. Listening to the track 'Aeronaut' right now and this guy sings like a deaf man. Absolutely awful in every sense of the world. His singing is barely even matching the music.

EDIT: listening to 'The Spaniards' now, he's doing the same thing. Like he doesn't know how to sing in time or tone with the music.

DOUBLE EDIT: listening to Smashing Pumpkins 'Tonight Tonight' now and I can determine this is perhaps just his thing. I don't think I get it.

neekafat
October 16th 2017


6262 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Lolol how can you go through life without ever hearing the Smashing Pumpkins?

He's an acquired taste to say the least

Astral Abortis
Contributing Reviewer
October 16th 2017


3390 Comments


I grew up listening to hardcore punk, hip-hop and heavy metal. I skipped the entirety of "definitive" 90s music, so when I've gone back to listen to most of the bands of that era, they've almost all decidedly sounded like complete trash to me. Now that I've scratched The Smashing Pumpkins off that list, I feel like it isn't gonna change for me. 90s alt-rock and grunge will always be bad.

Relinquished
October 16th 2017


36617 Comments


dude same except I was deep into the 90s



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