My excitement level is pretty high right now. After last week seeing Nine Inch Nails for my 19th time and now this week, the news is finally released about The Smashing Pumpkins long awaited new album! “Atum: A Rock Opera In Three Acts”. The 33-track collection, whose title is pronounced “autumn,” is being billed as a sequel to 1995’s “Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness” and 2000’s “Machina/The Machine of God”. The LP will be released as three 11-track “acts”, eventually culminating in a three-act rock opera. Act 1 of “Atum” will arrive on November 15 2022, Act 2 on January 31 2023, and Act 3 will be made available, along with a special-edition box set featuring all 33 album tracks plus 10 additional unreleased songs, on April 21, 2023. “Atum: A Rock Opera In Three Acts” was written and recorded over a four-year period by Corgan and the rest of the current SMASHING PUMPKINS lineup: guitarists James Iha and Jeff Schroeder, plus drummer Jimmy Chamberlin.
The first single “Beguiled” is out now and features a video that was made and performed live on TikTok of all places. And to make things even more interesting, Billy Corgan will premiere a new track every week for the next 33 weeks on his new podcast, “Thirty-Three With William Patrick Corgan”. The first two episodes, featuring the songs “Atum” and “Butterfly Suite”, are out now.
Not only is this exciting but The Smashing Pumpkins and Jane’s Addiction tour starts next week and runs through November. What a show that will be. I know I’ll be attending it. See you there!
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.
The deep cut is something that I feel has become a lost element of music today. Everything is so focused on singles and the “hit” that so much of the time, there are songs that get left out and bypassed. As you’ve noticed the past couple years that my level of postings about The Smashing Pumpkins has gone up over that time and that’s because I’ve really delved deep in their catalog. One of the albums that I’ve truly come to love is 2007’s, Zeitgeist. Not only does this album foreshadow a lot of what our society has become but, it’s also one hell of a great album start to finish. There is a particular song on Zeitgeist that I keep going back to and that is track 3, “Bleeding The Orchid.” This song is quite interesting and profound. The song is indirectly inspired by the death of Alice In Chains singer Layne Staley and it also features a bit of an homage to the band with the harmonies you hear in the song. Also the guitar solo on this track by Billy Corgan further proves my point that he is truly an underrated guitarist. This song is one that I really wish would make it’s way into upcoming set lists as it’s an absolutely great and touching song.
The Smashing Pumpkins- Bleeding The Orchid (Live at The Viper Room, 2010):
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 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!