This was the last Smashing Pumpkins album to be released. I am saying "album" and not "CD" because this album was never made into a CD to be sold at Strawberries or Best Buy. Billy Corgan and the gang had just released "Machina: The Machines of God" in early 2000. They had so many extra ideas that they decided they wanted to make a second Machina. Virgin Records at the time had just finished releasing their first Machina album and were barely going to give any support to the second one. As kind of an FU the band continued with the CD and made 25 actual disks that they handed out to fans. They made sure the fans put the album up on the Internet for everyone to download for free. I know this review is about the CD and I will shortly get to that but the story of the CD is too good not to tell.
The album "Machina II/The Friends and Enemies of Modern Music" is downloadable at many different websites on the web incase anyone wants it. It isn't stealing since Billy and the gang gave it to all fans for free. The CD itself has 4 sections to it. 3 of the sections are demo tapes or B-sides to their final release. In the entire project there are 25 songs (and even though the record company didn't back them the quality is just as good as any other CD). Here's a link to one website where you can download all 25 tracks:
(Again it's free, a gift for all Smashing Pumpkins fans).
Now after all this delay let me finally introduce the band during the recording of this album:
Billy Corgan - Vocals
James Iha - Guitar
D'arcy Wretzky - Bass
Jimmy Chamberlin - Drums
The Real Deal
This section is going to be reviewing all of the songs that are on the actual album. By actual album I mean the final product of all 25 songs. The final product has 14 tracks.
The album kicks off with the short song called Glass. This song is a great way to start the album. It has the catchy line "shattering fast I'm glass I'm glass" that will stay in your head for hours (mine anyways). It also shows that The Smashing Pumpkins hadn't changed much from their last album (although a little less then a year wouldn't have given them much time to stop writing the same way). Catchy riff, catchy words, my only complaint is it is too short at 1.56. Good song 4/5.
Cash Car Star
One of my favorites on the whole project. The beginning of this song will catch any listeners attention right away/ James is squealing out his opening riff when Billy comes in saying "you gotta understand". Then after some singing and drums everyone kicks back in. Everyone in this song shows so much energy and it is written so well that I think this is one of their best songs. Defiantly 5/5
All I can say about this song is "Oh Baby". Another one of my favorites on the "Machina II" project. The opening riff says it all about this song. The lyrics in this song are excellent as well. James holding extremely high notes up on the guitar while the main riff is being played adds so much to the song. Catchy chorus, not too much distortion, great riff, I think we have ourselves a winner.5/5
I was surprised to see this song on their greatest hits album since it was the only one on it from this whole project. This song is another typical SP song consisting of their overly distorted sound. Many of these songs including this one I believe could be found on "Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness" because they sound so much alike. Even though this song is on The Greatest Hits CD I don't enjoy this song so much. It has great keyboards in the background during the entirety of the song. I'm just not fond of there being so much distortion in a slower song. 3/5
This song is great even though the singing sounds more like Goo Goo Dolls then Smashing Pumpkins. No complaints however, Billy is just showing off his many vocal styles which he tends to do. This song is cleaner then most of the other songs on the album and like I said, Billy's voice is different then on other tracks. His voice is very clear and smooth. Anyone listening could guess that the songs name is "Go" because half the song consists of Billy extending the "o" in "go". Great song, but not the best. 4/5
Let Me Give The World To You
Great song. It would be perfect for a sad montage in a movie. I could see a guy who might be losing his girlfriend think about what he did wrong while this song plays in the background. The flow of this song sounds a little like that horrible Greenday song "When September Ends" (my opinion). The only similarities are they are both in the same key and the beginning of the Chorus's have the same feel. Despite me disliking Greenday, this song is excellent. It has just as much emotion as in "Disarm" or "Eye". I will give it 5/5 even though love is a very reoccurring theme. The song is too good to not give full credit. Yet again: 5/5
A song written for the innocent. This song has a very relaxing tone to it. Good to listen to while taking a bath or such. The piano in this song adds so much more to just the guitar and tambourine (I think). My only complaint is the word innocence is said one too many times. I could have given it a 4 but I am being a little generous with some of the other songs and this song is not as good as some of the 4's I gave. Ok I will compromise. 3.5/5
Starts off with a nice acoustic part being played behind some keyboards. This is yet another song where "love" is repeated many times. If Billy was into love so much I am just glad he didn't write about STDs or anything. He tends to keep it G rated. This song makes me want to fly into the air and circle around great mountains until it ends. I know, random. Close your eyes and see what it makes you want to do. The fact that it makes me want to do anything is saying that it has emotion put into it which is always a plus. Good song overall. 4/5
Blue Skies Bring Tears (version electrique)
Put on your glasses cause this song makes you want to be cool. The bass is heard really well in this song. Drums continue to be fierce and jungle like. There are plenty of accents in this song that stand out. Good song, very creative 4/5
This song has a beat that sounds like a song from "The Prodigy". This is saying the song is very techno like. Smashing Pumpkins is known for making songs like this. It's a great song with catchy words and a catchy beat but to me it's just too distorted. I am a man who loves metal so distortion isn't a big deal or anything. Even this grunge distortion isn't a big deal. The song "Zero" is perfect. This song however I find has way too much distortion and bass. My speakers might just be horrible but they sound like they are about to burst when this song is on. Overall, everything in this song is good but the distortion. I will give it a 3/5.
In My Body
When listening to this song I feel like laying down in a river and floating. This song is stoner music at it's best. It reminds me of Alice In Chains or some bands that drags on the vocals to catchy riffs. When I say drag on I am not saying it in a negative way. I think this 6.52 song is the epic of the CD. This song builds itself up with instruments getting added on as the it progresses. Some may say this song is repetitive which it is but I personally love it. 5/5
If There Is A God
Very nice song. One of the few slow songs with distortion that actually work for me. The lyrics are excellent. A piano version is also available as a B-side. I wish that they added in some piano from the strictly piano version and had a solo. This song could be longer by repeating "If there is a God" a few more times rather then fading out right away. Really Good though 4/5.
Le Deux Machina
Instrumental time. It has a cool riff but it drags on way too long. The whole song is keyboards. 2/5
Great song to end the album with. The pace of the song is medium. The whole song is enjoyable to listen to. Nice drums, piano, singing, etc. Nothing can be said that hasn’t been for the other songs I rated as 5’s. 5/5
I toughed it out and wrote about the whole full CD. Since the rest of the songs are mostly B-sides and demos I will only mention a few of the songs.
Smashing Pumpkins could have made another CD called "Machina III: Even More songs" which would include this song. However that’s kind of what these 11 tracks are. This song is full of distortion, which I usually don't like as you already know but it's too good for that to matter. This song reminds me of a ship leaning too and fro through the oceans.
Speed Kills (but beauty lives forever)
This song should have made the cut for the final product. When I listen to this song i put my head down and shake it side to side slowly. This song has everything a SP fan could ask for. Catchy singing, distortion (not too much), a clean guitars riff behind everything, steady bottom from drums and bass, and of course, IT'S FREE! 5/5
The extra songs also consist of alternate versions of songs such as: "Glass", "Cash Car Star" and "Heavy Metal Machine" (from Machina I). The piano version of "If There Is A God" is good as well.
-This album stays consistent with other albums (especially "Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness")
-A lot of these songs are really well written and are catchy.
NOT SO GOOD
-Some songs have way too much distortion put of them which interfere with the singing (I know it's how they like it produced, I just don't enjoy it that much).
-The damn "love" theme is used time after time (at least its not the negative side of love)
-Although I really like this album, you, the reader might find some of the songs to be boring and lacking potential.
I gave 3 for good and 3 for bad, fair deal. I hope you enjoyed this review as much as I enjoyed writing it. This is my first one for sputnik so please give me constructive criticism on how to make my future reviews better. Thanks a lot.