Review Summary: Really not what humanity needs right now.
This may well shock some of you but the new Billy Corgan album is tepid and insipid nonsense. Even Rick Rubin’s productive hands fail to wring any magic from its neck.
is a bad day at the office for any of the dwindling number of people who care to defend Corgan’s worst excesses; the presumption that the Smashing Pumpkins’ dictator-for-life is a little up his own arse. There’s more than a little precedent for that prevailing thought and his second solo record – 2005’s TheFutureEmbrace
effectively consigned to music’s Memory Hole – is chock full of exhibits.
Right out of the gate and we are slapped with this gem from opener 'Zowie':
I’ve foraged ‘neath the darkest eaves, but why"
I’ve coughed into the sparking breach, oh!
But underline, Hosannas ought
Not be so lost as I.
It seems as if our man Billy has been spending his middle age falling asleep in front of the fire with William Blake’s Greatest Hits draped across his chest.
Corgan is still very much on his biblical-quasi-mysticism bent when it comes to naming tracks and albums. If Ogilala
wasn’t enough for you, then bear witness to titles such as 'Shiloh' (a biblical city) and 'Mandaryanne' (not even a thing). It's all just penny whistles and moon pie to this guy, isn't it" 'Amaranthine', in which Corgan alleges “gingham clementines fly”, is presumably about life as a plant. The perks of being a wallflower, if you will.
Musically, there is very little to grab the attention or convince a listener to come back to this faux-magical land of sound. Strings, piano and acoustic guitar cover every nook and cranny, and as such every song maintains the same atmosphere, tempo and sound. A scarf knitted by a blind man as opposed to a finely woven tapestry.
Look, okay, Corgan can’t all be rage and rats in a cage anymore. That’s fine. To keep that up into your late-40s would be insane. But Corgan isn’t growing old gracefully so much as standing at the side of the road and waiting for the lights to change.
Really though, it’s this kind of whimsical crap that not only makes Corgan look lame but it’s also just not what the world needs right now. We are in a bad enough spot as it is.
On the fifth track of Ogilala
, Corgan asks us to ponder the 'Half Life Of An Autodidact'. Now there’s a thought.