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 times we are living in at the moment are pretty interesting. It’s a series of uncertainties and possibilities that could go one way or another. One thing that I’ve found to be very captivating is that so many things from the past have come back full circle or have been sort of prophesied. Which brings me to today’s song. Back in 2007, The Smashing Pumpkins reformed with Billy Corgan and Jimmy Chamberlin to make an album that really saw ahead into the future. The album is Zeitgeist and when you sit and listen and follow along to the words, you start to see so many things mentioned in those songs coming to life today. One song in particular, “United States” is so perfect for right now. It’s really interesting to listen to this album in the world today and see how it all came true.
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.
Way back in 2003, Billy Corgan and Jimmy Chamberlin’s new band Zwan made their national TV debut on the Late Show with David Letterman while promoting the debut album, (and very underrated) Mary Star of the Sea. On this evening, they performed the song “Honestly.” It’s really too bad Zwan only lasted one album. The debut is quite stunning and what could have been with this band, we will never truly know.
I’ve always had a love hate relationship with The Smashing Pumpkins. On one hand they have put out 2 of the best albums of the 90’s and the other I can’t stand Billy Corgan’s voice. Though after coming across the band Sidewave, I went back and gave them a listen again. Now I’m back liking them.
From Siamese Dream: Quiet
From Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness: An Ode To No One