“Worst Remaster Ever: Let’s Go with Smashing Pumpkins – Siamese Dream.”

Some things in life just shouldn’t be messed with. Coca-Cola should not start coming in an orange can. Christmas should not be moved to summer and (and I just learned tonight that this happened at all) the master of Siamese Dream should not be TOUCHED, the product of Billy Corgan’s and Butch Vig’s laboring over certain 45-second segments of music for up to two days to get the sound right [1], of Corgan commandeering and playing all of the instruments himself except drums (a tactic once employed by Stevie Wonder as well, for “Superstition”).
So the motive isn’t there for Siamese Dream remastering. Well, how ‘bout the execution… maybe the product is at least good. I’ll give it this, it does ADVANCE the project temporally, insofar as it transforms it into sounding like one of those despicable early-‘00s boy-bands-with-guitars like The Used.
One thing that bothers me about this whole operation, and this should come as hardly a shock to my readers, is that I can’t find anywhere, any discourse on the legitimacy of purported advantages of vinyl, for receiving this project, as opposed to disc. Usually, the people I talk to in life, like real people, listen to CDs, and beings with an alleged existence with whom I cursorily interact online profess a love for vinyl. That’s the basic dichotomy there. As far as I’ve observed they’ve done the same remaster for vinyl as they have for disc, as I saw the two each discussed on the same Amazon page… and yet this recording is also available on Spotify, which tells me that the remaster’s alterations are at least convertible to digital format.
None too surprisingly, even wikipedia seems unwilling to give me a straight answer in this business (they must have hired a hipster-in-residence to defend the enterprise of vinyl). At one point they seem to imply that it’s ambiguous whether a remaster will be digital or not, but then later on we get the admission that after locating of the analog version “The next step involves digitising (sic) the track or tracks so it can be edited using a computer,” which of course makes us think that remasters ARE always digital.
And god da** does this thing just sound digital — it’s like one unified goop of that fake butter in the movie theater popcorn or something. We don’t get that signature twangy, tinny guitar sound which stood apart (literally and figuratively) with spunky swagger from its bandmates in the original analog edition. This new version reminds me roughly of like something that’s genetically modified — it’s of bulbous, unwieldy proportion and it also lacks in the signature imperfections (which weren’t even really negatives in the first place) which had demarcated the original.
Typically the point of a remaster is to make an album sound louder. Well, Dream was already da** near invincible, as any fan knows, “Soma” itself containing 40 different guitar parts dubbed over each other.
In reality, my one knock on Siamese Dream is that it can be TOO intense — for instance that song “Sweet Sweet,” thrown in around the end, contains what I see as an inordinate amount of feeling and poignance for a track positioned thusly within an alternative rock album. From this it stands to reason that the sound, too, was already of a stature to mind-bend the masses. To be honest I didn’t notice I just wanted to be “Free / Free as the voices inside me” and with the old school recording of this album, I used to have the winning formula for doing this.
[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siamese_Dream.

20 thoughts on ““Worst Remaster Ever: Let’s Go with Smashing Pumpkins – Siamese Dream.”

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