The Smashing Pumpkins Oceana EMI/Martha’s Music, 2012
Once upon a time, many, many years ago, there was a magical time for music. A time when almost anything labeled alternative was played on the radio and MTV still aired the occasional video. These artists sold mountains of CD’s, and The Smashing Pumpkins were among the biggest of these bands.
The Smashing Pumpkins are/were fronted by Billy Corgan, and initially I liked them well enough. And then I read an interview with Mr. Corgan. And then another. And another. And with each and every new article on the singer and his band, it got so I couldn’t listen to the band because instead of hearing “Tonight, Tonight,” or “The killer in you/is the killer in me,” during “the doorbell song,” all I heard was Billy C’s constant complaining about his band mates, the recording process, his peers, radio, the media, abused from the press, his audience, his deli tray, his audiences inability to understand the new sub-par material, the Louisiana Purchase and everything else.
Billy rightly earned a reputation for complaining about all of it to anyone who would listen. He ultimately blamed the bands demise on an audience that “didn’t get it,” rather than realize and accept an artist can only stay at the top for so long.
So now Corgan and the Smashing Pumpkins are back. Or rather Billy is the only Pumpkin back. Everyone else is new, but he did opt for an obligatory female 1990’s bass player in Nicole Fiorintino. Oceana sounds like the best “A” list material the band ever released. These songs sound like they could have been recorded during Siamese Dream or Melon Collie and the Blah, Blah, Blah; complete with hooks angst, loss, and bleak desperation, just like the good old days when things were truly grim indeed.
Now if Billy can talk about how great it is to be performing to more than a group of several, and sound genuinely pleased with something more than himself, maybe things will be different this time around.