The Smashing Pumpkins
Shiny and Oh So Bright, Vol. 1


3.7
great

Review

by Rowan5215 STAFF
November 23rd, 2018 | 113 replies


Release Date: 2018 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Billy Corgan, smiling politely

Shiny and Oh So Bright, Vol. 1 / LP: No Past. No Future. No Sun. opens with my favourite joke of the musical year by far, and it's not even the album title. The first Smashing Pumpkins album in nearly two decades with anything close to the original line-up – featuring human powerhouse Jimmy Chamberlin and sweet balladeer James Iha – kicks off sounding like Black Holes & Revelations-era Muse. "Knights of Malta" is fucking hilarious, and it just gets funnier and funnier, with every Kid Cudi-ian "wee-ooh-weeee-oooh", gospel backing chorus and spacey lyric about rainbows. I'm not sure I could stretch to calling it a good song, but it's tough to imagine a better way to kick off an album where, for the first time in a long time, William Patrick Corgan relinquishes at least a little bit of his strangehold on the band and lets himself have some goddamn fun.

So we've established that it's a funny song, but Smashing Pumpkins have never been a particularly funny band. The return of Chamberlin on the skins could have heralded another attempt at more grungey big-guitar Pumpkins, but more than likely we would have had another Zeitgeist on our hands, still the clear and obvious contender for the worst album in this band's ouevre. Shiny and Oh So Bright, Vol. 1 is a nice reminder that, sometimes, this line-up of the band works best with the brakes on, considering how "Silvery Sometimes (Ghosts)" is about as good as a 2018 variation on "1979" and the acoustic tracks on Adore could possibly be. Either Iha's calming influence or Corgan's mellowing personality (I'd say the first is a safer bet) has led the band down a softer path, and it's all for the best, considering the one-note chugga-chug "Solara" is the easy album low point. This is an album for the rare breed of Pumpkins fans who hold Adore and Machina in high regard, with its simple pop aspirations and lack of genre-spanning ambition, though "Travels", "Alienation" and "With Sympathy" recall a return to early Teargarden by Kaleidyscope's childish innocence without the excessive sitar or lazy attempts at prog. Far from wasted, Chamberlin and Iha sit in the back of the tracks, giving ample space to some of Billy's best choruses in years on "Silvery Sometimes" and "With Sympathy". As ever with a Pumpkins release, it's down to the listener to pick and choose which flavour of Corgan's bullshit they're willing to put up with, whether the obscenely long runtimes on Mellon Collie and Adore or unbecoming prog aspirations burdening Oceania. In the case of Shiny and Oh So Bright, the album endears itself with a simpler style and digestible runtime provided the ridiculous 60s synths and wee-ooh vocals don't immediately turn you off. It clearly will not go down in anyone's book as a classic release, but for a change it's a Pumpkins album that's aware of that fact, cleverly baking that unassuming simplicity into every note and half-nonsense lyric.



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user ratings (118)
Chart.
2.6
average
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These aren’t the Pumpkins we want, but definitely the ones we need......


Comments:Add a Comment 
Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
November 23rd 2018


40850 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

great album yeah

Digging: Earl Sweatshirt - Some Rap Songs

DoofDoof
November 23rd 2018


1170 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5 | Sound Off

I'm amazed at the positivity towards this

Digging: The Bathers - Sweet Deceit

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
November 23rd 2018


40850 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

of course you are...

DoofDoof
November 23rd 2018


1170 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5 | Sound Off

It's really awful - it's nowhere near as good as the somewhat similar Zwan debut - and that album was the ultimate flop, a 2.5 being VERY kind.



I don't get how anyone could rate this higher than a 2.5 considering Billy had a load of great songs/riffs in the early '90s. How can someone compare and come up with a positive rating? A mystery.

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
November 23rd 2018


40850 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

k

BigPleb
November 23rd 2018


55853 Comments


Might check this.

I actually really liked Oceania but didn't jam the last record.

Superb review as always, robro.

Digging: Azusa - Heavy Yoke

neekafat
November 23rd 2018


13298 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Very good review, definitely agree on a lot but Solara is like 20x better than Travels

On minor nitpick "William James Corgan" should be "William Patrick Corgan" (:

PostMesmeric
November 23rd 2018


736 Comments


Great review, Rowan. Very enjoyable read.

That being said, I don't get the praise for this album. Was super bland to me.

WatchItExplode
November 23rd 2018


6106 Comments


Also came here to point out it should be William Patrick

Digging: The Glands - The Glands

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
November 23rd 2018


40850 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

very good point neek and watch, I didn't even try and research that one lol



@Pleb Monuments was not worth even the short amount of time it took to check it, this one is way better

oWhoadYo
November 23rd 2018


2070 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Might be a bit of a generous rating, and I'm definitely the biggest pumpkins fanboy on the site.



That said, this was an excellent review. However, Solara, certainly isn't the worst. That has to go to Alienation or Knights Of Malta. God, those songs are just simply horrendous.

DoofDoof
November 23rd 2018


1170 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5 | Sound Off

'lets himself have some goddamn fun'



Hey, utter desperation can sound fun!

oWhoadYo
November 23rd 2018


2070 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

lol Doof did the pumpkins hurt you or something? You have been adamant to spread your belief that this album is bad. It's your opinion but damn dude, people are allowed to like things. Accept the fact that people enjoy a new Pumpkins album and move on. It really doesn't, or should not, affect you.

DoofDoof
November 23rd 2018


1170 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5 | Sound Off

Spoken like someone who hasn't been listening to these f'ckers for 25 years - and hasn't had sh't thrust into his headphones by Billy C for 15 of those said years



Rating shoddy work highly is an insult to the classics so yeah, it offends my karma

oWhoadYo
November 23rd 2018


2070 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Dang, sorry to hear that. I can't imagine letting people's opinions of meaningless things bother me that much. That's rough. I'd recommend just not clicking on this thread man if it's offending you so much. No reason to needlessly stress yourself out.



But, I've been listening to them for about 12 years, does that count? I don't want to offend you anymore. Sorry it hasn't been quite as long as you have

oWhoadYo
November 23rd 2018


2070 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

You edited your comment, it was 18 years, but now you've listened to em for 25 years? Holy moly, where'd all that time come from?

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
November 23rd 2018


40850 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

"insult to the classics" lol



wait not buying into this shit again, better things to do, like @OWhoadYo to argue that, on the contrary, Alienation rules hard

DoofDoof
November 23rd 2018


1170 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5 | Sound Off

Expressing opinion = being stressed

Disagreeing = being offended



you do realise most people on the internet are practically comatose with a low heart rate typing stuff for shits and giggles, this dystopia you paint don't ring true

DoofDoof
November 23rd 2018


1170 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5 | Sound Off

'You edited your comment, it was 18 years, but now you've listened to em for 25 years? Holy moly, where'd all that time come from?'



More like where does all the time go, but '93 was my introduction with Siamese Dream and I would have been 14. They stayed one of my top 5 bands for the next five or six years.



'Siamese Dream' would still make my top 20 albums

uziclip
November 23rd 2018


117 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

Solara is a good song. Not enough.



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