There’s a lot of things I could say to introduce this new Smashing Pumpkins album, each of which is probably equally sad. One would be that I actually WOKE UP on this cloudy Midwestern day in late fall with Liz Phair’s “Polyester Bride” in my head and in the mood for some Chicago rock, only to find that despite that this band is all male and composed of original bandmates Iha and Chamberlain, it does not showcase any of their talents or bents toward sound detonation. Another would be that instead of digging talons into our hearts with lines like “Love / It’s who you know” and “God is empty just like me”, Corgan is riding on this ridiculously corny and sappy brand of optimism, half-heartedly spewing inanities like “We’re gonna make this happen / We’re gonna fly forever”. Don’t be deluded: it’s not even good enough manure to ably be compared to like a sort of ’70s soul zeitgeist wherein such a lyric would actually be appropriate (and no those black girls on background vocals don’t automatically make your music soulful… sorry Corgan).
Well, the long and short of it is that Corgan has basically mailed it in here, goofing out something completely devoid of inspiration, like if life were one big meal at a fast food place and he had the administrative task of selling it to you with little jingles arranged in no particular order. This is especially disappointing seeing as, again, this is the first Pumpkins album since 2000’s Machina/The Machines of God (which I was actually in the mood for a couple days ago) to feature original guitarist James Iha. Well, he is the vaunted musician who once inspired the Corgan interview statement “I took a bunch of people who didn’t know how to play their instruments,” isn’t he? God, just look at his credit down there on the personnel: guitar, bass guitar. Talk about musical evolution! I bet this guy thinks a sitar is when a Chicago street worker lays down a sick tar pattern in a new construction project. Anyway, it’s official: this new Pumpkins album is lamer than saying “Whassupwitdat.”