Ever since I went to see The Smashing Pumpkins a coiuple weeks ago, I’ve been reliving the show in my head. One of the moments of the show that really stood out to me was when they played their cover of The Talking Heads “Once In A Lifetime.” The original version is still astounding and this version, especially the arrangement the Pumpkins put together takes on a life of its own. I still can’t get over how damn good this was.
Very recently The Smashing Pumpkins song “Disarm” celebrated 28 years since its release as a single. To this day, that song still gives me goosebumps. It’s such a poignant song and one of those that will absolutely stand the test of time. This performance of “Disarm” is quite different than the one you find on the masterpiece that is Siamese Dream. Just watch and listen!!
The Smashing Pumpkins- Disarm (Live at the 1994 MTV VMA’s):
The Smashing Pumpkins have a plethora of deep cuts that could fill one hell of a playlist. The deep cuts alone from Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness could make an album of their own. I love going back to MCIS and delving into particular songs even more than before. This morning I remembered a certain riff to a Pumpkins song and it took me back to when I bought this album and all the feels I got when I reached this song on the record. The song I’m referring to is “X.Y.U.” from the Twilight To Starlight portion of MCIS. I’ve loved this song from the day I heard it. This is one of the heaviest songs on the album. The song was recorded in one take, live for the record with drum and vocal overdubs added later. The title means “Ex, Why You?”, but is also a play on the spelling of Russian obscene word “хуй” (pronounced “hu:i”) that is translated as “penis”. “X.Y.U.” is a song that was developed in a similar jam fashion to “Silverfuck” as it evolved as a song over the years. I’ve had the pleasure of hearing this song live a couple of times over the years and it’s always a highlight and never disappoints. So, take about 7 minutes out of your day and delve into this superb deep cut from The Smashing Pumpkins.
The Smashing Pumpkins have a very interesting and awesome history with cover songs. Through all my years of listening to them, I’ve noticed that when they do a cover, it’s usually done in a manner that is tasteful, creative and a little different. I’m quite fond of their cover of Depeche Mode’s “Never Let Me Down.” So much so that it’s in my top 10 favorite covers. One of the cover songs that SP has done over the years that always was a fun one to delve into was their take on the David Essex classic “Rock On.” The Smashing Pumpkins version is a bit more experimental and artsy but, still retains the impact of the original with a new spin. If you haven’t heard this before, I’m interested to get your take on it.
It’s truly amazing how many great songs The Smashing Pumpkins have that are B-Sides. During the Mellon Collie and The Infinite Sadness era, not only did they write 28 songs for the alvum but also a whole plethora more which wound up being the box set, The Aeroplane Flies High. One of my favorite songs in the set comes from the “1979” single. That song is “Ugly” and it’s one hell of a great song. One of those B-Sides that you hear and right off the bat think, why wasn’t this on the album?! One day, I’d love for Billy Corgan to put together a whole album of Mellon Collie songs and Aeroplan songs into a full album and see what that sounds like.
One thing I genuinely enjoy about cover songs is when bands really make an effort to make it their own. Whether it’s changing up the vibe or arrangements, the new interpretation often times can take the song to new heights. A great example of this is The Smashing Pumpkins version of Joy Division’s “Transmission.” The Pumpkins take on it is spacey, borderline psychedelic and even transcendent at times. It’s different enough yet still pays homage in a very distinct way.
The Smashing Pumpkins- Transmission (from Adore Deluxe Set):
The Smashing Pumpkins- Transmission Live 98:
The Smashing Pumpkins w/Davey Havok and Peter Hook- Transmission Live 2018:
The Smashing Pumpkins double album Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness celebrates it’s 25 birthday this year (actually October 24th is the official date). This album, was a huge game changer and has gone on to influence and inspire countless bands and artists throughout the years. I still remember buying the album when it came out, and the countless hours I’d sit in my room and listen to it. One of the memorable moments I have about this album is when I first saw the video for “Tonight, Tonight.” I was absolutely blown away by how visceral the video was along with how interesting it was. The video was directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris (who would go on to make other pretty awesome videos for Korn and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, to name a couple). The video won multiple MTV Video Music Awards as well as being a Grammy nominated clip. Another interesting tidbit about the video is that it stars Tom Kenny and Jill Talley who you might recognize from their work on Spongebob Squarepants and Mr. Show. This video is one of the all time greats and it deserves to get its acclaim and be celebrated along with the masterpiece of the album it belongs to.
For the past couple of weeks, The Smashing Pumpkins have been teasing something new in regards to their upcoming new album. Well, this morning they released two brand new songs, “CYR” and “The Colour Of Love.” They have an Adore feel to them along with an 80’s sensibility. It also kind of reminds me a little bit of where Billy was going on his solo album, The Future Embrace. Personally, I dig this a lot. It’s done well and the songs are well written. I look forward to this whole album which is supposed to be a double album with 20 songs. So I’ll reserve full judgement until it’s all out and I can hear it all in context. In the meantime, check out these two new songs!
There are certain bands that when they come out, hit a mark with such a sense of vigor and prowess that each era of the band, leaves a lasting impression. Some people tend to become very attached to “that era” and it becomes their be all end all. The Smashing Pumpkins have so many different eras and shades of themselves that have created some very dominant ones for many fans. I will say that yes, there are certain favorites of mine but, a band like this, and so many other of their peers, have this ability to forever take you on a journey as they and you grow. The Smashing Pumpkins are definitely a band that will do just that. On the bands super deluxe version of the Siamese Dream anniversary edition, there is a DVD in there from a legendary show in the band’s hometown of Chicago, at the Metro. This is one hell of a show.
One of the best things about going back through a band’s catalog is finding all the things you forgot about. Over the last couple years, I’ve rediscovered my love for The Smashing Pumpkins, and through my journey, I keep finding so many wonderful gems. For example, in the deluxe edition of Pisces Iscariot, there are so many great songs on the bonus disc. This cover of Neil Young’s “Cinnamon Girl” was one I forgot about. It’s really a very cool cover with a different vibe, a la 90’s. The Type O Negative cover of this song is still the best but, the pumpkins sure do a damn good job with it.