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Topics I've Started
10 May 2013 - 08:34 AMThere are a multitude of reasons as to why fans of this band stick around. Be it nostalgia, the hope that Billy will one day come out with something 'good' again, or a single song/set of songs or album that gives you hope for the future. So, omitting anything pre-2001, what songs have kept you around? Be it live, studio or otherwise? Zwan, BC solo, or current SP incarnation?
I am of the opinion that Billy is unfairly judged solely on his SP work. Obviously, Zwan and his solo project(s) never saw much exposure, and not many knew he even did something outside of SP. If you take everything the man has done, with SP/Zwan/solo/SP2, it truly is daunting. Sure, some of his material may not be 'as good as' Mellon Collie or SD, but he very rarely repeats himself. The fact that he has such a diverse melodic range throughout his entire catalogue, coupled with a very technically flawed singing voice still astonishes me. No matter what body of work I dive into, from whatever band, I can find several things to enjoy. Billy Corgan as a musician & songwriter, not as a personality, is truly prolific. From Zwan material, to solo material, to songs he wrote for other bands (I'm referring to the original demos), to the few gems he has penned under the SP moniker since. Even some clunker songs that had even one remarkably redeeming quality...just one thing, to show he's still in there somewhere.
So much to take in, you know? With all the songs he's written and recorded in his 25+ year career, I'm stumped as to how he hasn't run out of lyrical or musical ideas. And the biggest shame, is that most of these songs have either NOT been recorded, or at least haven't been released.
So, without further ado, these are the reasons I'm still around:
Of A Broken Heart
Jesus I/Mary Star Of The Sea
A New Poetry
The Empty Sea
On The Meaning Of Loss
My Life & Times
Love Lies In Ruin
The Girl With The Cruel Face
Love Is A Battlefield (cover)
Mina Loi (MOH)
Now (And Then)
Lost In The Woods
United States (live)
The Residency Songs (damn near all of them, especially Question Mark, 99 Floors, Peace & Love, & The Leaving Lament)
The Rose March
As Rome Burns
The March Hare
Owata (2008 version)
A Song For A Son (2008 version)
The Sounds Of Silence cover
Emerald Green Is The Colour
The Fellowship (SITS version)
Tom Tom (BCS version)
Lonely Is The Name
My Love Is Winter
-The guitar solo in the studio cut of SFAS. The solo just BARELY saves the song from sweet death.
-The piano bridge in Widow Wake My Mind. I know, I'm just as shocked as you are. Too bad that is the ONLY good part. Still, its beautiful. :thumbsup:/>
So, I'm certain that my list is absurdly massive compared to some others, but yeah. Anyone else wanna share?
20 March 2013 - 07:24 AMThe studio version may have suffered a great deal, but it still is a standout from the 2009-2012 era for me. Even if I included 2007/2008, it would still come out pretty much on top for me.
That said, the live cut is far superior. This is what I would consider one of Billy's best compositions as a whole; if you were to take into account every version & their merits.
People complain about the childish lyrics, which astonishes me...I mean...the song IS about a child, is it not? Was it not the intention? The lyrics, to me, seem to be an 'In Memoriam' for a non-existent child. Billy has often stated how badly he wants a son, and he once referenced it to this song. He cited that it is kind of his 'coming to terms' with the fact that he will never have a son. Later, he also mentioned that it could also be indirectly connected to his relationship with his father. More recently, Billy seems to have stuck with the easier explanation of, "This is just a song about my Dad" rather than it being an ode to an unborn child.
Personally, I think the arrangement is brilliant. Many seem to knock it down for having a bad arrangement and/or songwriting. Not the case, for me. The haunting intro, the gutting lyrics and whispered vocals, the guitar solo and the bridge that sounds like a child playing the Jack-in-the-box theme on a classical piano in hell. Stunning.
Of course, I mean the live version. The studio version has all of that, but it isn't as vibrant, and the drums detract points for me.
Anyway, enough ranting. Here are some live versions that SHOULD change your opinion of the song.
The original, the epic.
Unplugged style, full band
(Go straight to 9:00. Pointless banter before it. He DOES, however, explain the meaning of the song a bit here)
16 March 2013 - 03:18 AM...change your opinion of it? I was really indifferent to it when I heard it live. I mean, sure, I thoroughly enjoyed the album itself. However, that show did not entirely blow me away at the time. Maybe it was because my brother was restless (he isn't a very big Billy fan, so it was far from the best experience for him), or that the crowd was entirely mundane as all hell (thx, CT). Either way, I just watched the full show that I went to on Youtube.
Surprisingly, listening to them now has reignited my interest in the album. They pulled the songs off very well live, and the visuals added to it, of course. My only complaints are how he enunciates some words when they play The Celestials live, and how muffled the lead to Glissandra sounded. Highlights are definitely The Celestials, Violet Rays, My Love Is Winter, 1D1H, Pinwheels and Wildflower for me. Live, at least.
What about the rest of you? Did hearing it live make you like it more? Less? Nothing changed either way?
EDIT: And for the sake of curiosity, when the FUCK are getting the Oceania live CD/DVD from NYC?
07 March 2013 - 09:00 AMExactly as the title states. Many fans (including myself) note a definite shift in feel since the reformation, and how it correlates to the 2000 & earlier material. Without actually BRINGING the old vs new argument in here (oh the new doesn't compare, the old is better, there was this magic blah blah blah), which songs from 2007-present actually make you feel the same vibe, or at least a similar one? Which ones either successfully capture the 'SP Magic' for you, or at least come quite close? Can be studio and/or live.
Stellar-this one sounds the most in-line with SP as they died with Machina. It would almost fit right in for me, and I get VERY familiar vibes. Love the synths, as they are actually utilized properly here. The atmospherics in this song are...stellar (LOL). There is no question in my mind...THIS...is a Pumpkins song.
Tarantula-one of the few instances where post-reformation Billy has not only shown the SP trademark loud-soft dynamics in a song, but displayed it perfectly. Vox are a bit off, but more energetic than most songs on Zeitgeist. The guitar work, the drums, the bridge...perfect.
The Rose March-Cut the lalala's, and we're golden. The lyrics have that 'Corgan whimsy' to them, the arrangement is very nice, and instrumentally, it bleeds Pumpkins. Love the part where Billy croons, "I'll lay roses at your feet, till you decide that there is something great...in you" as Jimmy's graceful precision in the bridge lifts Billy to new heights.
Sunkissed-a sweet Corgan acoustic, in traditional Pumpkins flare. Heartfelt lyrics. Nice melody, despite Billy's dry vox. Keeper.
Zeitgeist (title track)-see above. I still think opening the album with this leading into Doomsday Clock would have been both an obscure, and awesome move.
A Song For A Son-although it met its demise in the studio, this track still has some 'post-humus' value. The drums are horrendous, though the rest is excellent. The guitar work is great, with one of the best solos Billy has ever put to tape. The arrangement may be all over the place, but it works. It evokes this aura, this vibe that takes me somewhere else. Much like the Pumpkins used to. Unfortunately, this is the only song here that does that, but it was refreshing to hear. It was the perfect choice for the 1st song on Teargarden in the sense that it opened the doors to a potential concept and recurring sound/theme in the album. Though I despise Widow Wake My Mind & Asshole Planes, the first EP at least shared in some consistency throughout the songs. The lyrics here are largely misunderstood in my eyes, and dismissed as being stupid & childish. When you couple the fact that Billy wrote this song about the kid he always wanted but never had, then the words make sense in their context. It is meant to play upon the innocent naiveté of a child, with dreams of becoming something so farfetched as an astronaut. I will forever hold the 2008 version in higher regard, but this is one song I cannot completely hate. I always thought the keys in the middle section before Mike's 'epic drum part' (:lol:/>) sounded eerily like a jack-in-the-box being wound up.
Teargarden Theme-very typical Pumpkins instrumental. Like MCIS and the circus had a baby and the good traits outweighed the bad ones. It sounds very grandiose, and I would have preferred it if this had led straight into ASFAS as an album opener. Not a string of garbage singles.
Cottonwood Symphony-the elusive demo song where Billy sings normal in 2010. His vocals here are amazing, and further proof that he can still sing like that. That he can still hold that much heart in his voice. Love the lyrics, and from what I gather, it relates to Billy's desire to move on and leave behind his burdens. His mistakes, his bad choices, and most of all, the fans & critics weighing him down. I almost get a joking intention from it, where he eludes to the idea that when he is gone, he will be respected but he won't be here. From his p.o.v., people just don't 'get' it. So he is, in essence, saying that he will hold to what is dear to him about the band, while the opposition will soon let go and not enjoy the fruits of his work. I could be wrong, and I am far from completely pro-Billy, but that is a message I can absolutely respect. "When they come after me, I won't be found, no", "Unlock the box, the key is yours. The treasures you forgot, I will preserve."
The Celestials-this one is most obviously a rip-off of old SP, crossing Disarm with grunge thematics. I can't help but like it, though. And might I add, the copy cat mission was a success. Loud-soft dynamics, great bass work, and feels enough like SP. Good song either way.
Violet Rays-Billy's best vocal performance on an album in years. Just stunning. The synth intro, the exceedingly clean guitar tone and minimalistic playing that somehow works. Nothing complex about the song; it is just merely an extremely solid song. The lyrics are interesting, albeit odd. Not entirely deep, either. Still, the intention is to stir emotion, and he succeeded in doing so. Billy wears his heart on his sleeve in this track, and I note that it is almost universally considered the best track on the album. Even by those who despise the album. Rightfully so. An emotional powerhouse in the truest Pumpkin sense. Bleed that heart, Billy.
Pinwheels-this song has that lovely lullaby sound to it that BC used to delve into. Add nursery rhyme lyrics morphing into a denial that a love cannot be lost, laser guitar streaks trading atmospherics, and a brilliantly vibrant chorus. The final vocal line, "'Cause what gets lost, if I've got you" segues perfectly and ironically into...
Oceania-this song is brilliant. One of Billy's most direct Cure influences portrayed in a Pumpkins song. The mellotron intro leading into the solemn echoes of the opening guitar part...then the opening line, which is so absurdly simple, yet unbelievably powerful: "No one can love you, 'cause no one can free you. Lovers can't touch you, 'cause lovers might reach you, yeah." The 1st third of the song ALONE makes it worthwhile, but then the middle acoustic section is so beautifully executed. The final portion boasts prog-rock frenzy, in the vein of Porcupine Tree if it ever was. The drumming could be better, but Mike's (only) highlight on the album lies within this last part. Namely, the drum fade-in after the acoustic section. The trading guitar solos are music to my ears. The second official 'sad' song Billy has penned with the new band. Highlight of the record.
Pale Horse-haunted, tortured lyrics and visions of his late mother as she lost her battle with disease. The most haunting composition he's created since the reformation. It has that intricateness and impending doom to it as Billy dances and plays with darkness, culminating in him begging the fabled horse to return to him. Whether to come for him, or bring his mother back, nobody knows.
Wildflower-typical SP closing song. Blows Pomp out of the water for me. The lyrics are vague, inquisitive, and heartfelt. The vocals in this song are great. The backup vocals shine here, once again. Sweet melody, and a guitar solo worthy of the SP name.
Okay. That list took longer to type than I expected, and I came up with more songs than I expected. Still, 14 songs out of the 48 he's put out since the reformation isn't THAT good. At the same time, that doesn't mean the other songs are bad by any means. I love songs like United States, My Love Is Winter and Owata (dodges tomatoes), etc. Just...I do not get that feel from them. Same with other songs from Oceania. Although Inkless, The Chimera and Quasar may 'sound' Siamese Dream-ish, that doesn't make them have that magic. They sound forced (though I do enjoy Inkless quite a bit). Like he was intentionally throwing a bone to old fans, hoping they'd take the bait. Songs like Oceania, Pale Horse and Violet Rays tread on similar emotional ground as older material, but they are not derived from a specific source. They came from the heart; from that place, and Billy gave them their own personalities rather than rely on a tried-and-true formula.
Anyway, that is all I have to say for now. Sorry for the lengthy post. Anyone else? :)/>
03 January 2013 - 08:48 AMSo a lot of us here loved Oceania, or can at least agree it was a step-up from the past few years prior. Now that they are almost ready to shelve the Oceania touring cycle and focus on recording new music, what can we expect? Billy mentioned a possible double album. Watching the slight departures from the light-heartedness ofOceania in the sets, I think I can draw one possible conclusion.
Judging from Black Sunshine and the new version of Gossamer, it sounds dark, indeed. And he has stated so. Those songs may not end up on the album, nor be reflective of it. Still, they are a good indication of his mindset right now. Take the Space Oddity cover, as well. Dark, atmospheric and obscure.
Not clicking yet? I think he is once again trying to follow the musical path he sought to take in 2008 with the anniversary shows, albeit with perhaps a better mindset this time. If you need further proof, take the most recent renditions of A Song For A Son. Notice anything? That it is almost exactly like the 2008 version? Not the version that was ultimately conceived and released?
I'll be excited either way for new stuff, but if he is in fact giving that direction another chance, then he needs to hole-up ASAP and capture the magic. The new songs from that tour were a very exciting time for me, and being present on the various Pumpkins boards at the time (and this one soon after) I know one thing. Those songs rekindled hope and interest for hardcores in Billy's current music. Everyone was pumped, saying how Billy was finally back; the Pumpkins were back. Then Jimmy left, and hope dwindled. Those convinced by the newest live material were bloated with expectation for Teargarden; entirely unaware of Billy's abrupt shift in musical mindset at Jimmy's departure. I was one of them.
Another very slight indication is the resurgence of darker songs in the sets this past tour. He pulled a song like As Rome Burns out of the set and opted not to release it on Teargarden OR Oceania. The reason being, as he told one fan, was that it did not reflect his mindset at the time. As we can tell from Oceania, there is hardly aggression to be found. It is a sweet album, prettily arranged and at times seeping with a subtle sadness. As Rome Burns would not have fit, but then neither would the song they wrote DURING the Oceania sessions: Black Sunshine.
I believe there to be a decent (but not definite) possibility that Corgan will try that musical avenue once more. The songs were huge sounding and the arrangements grand. They held a much more theatrical quality than anything in years, sounding like a dark hybrid of Mellon Collie and Machina, with a dash of Zeitgeist.
If he were to attempt that sound, with his current drive and connection to the music and his band mates, and compile a double album...:jackyl:/>
And if he were to continue in this direction, one can't help but wonder if he'd reuse any songs, or if they'd be completely new. These songs could certainly fit the bill, should he so choose:
As Rome Burns
The March Hare
When The Cock Crows
Lonely Is The Name
I have faith in whichever direction he takes, however. Just so long as he puts his heart in it like he did with Oceania. :)/>