Through the years, Billy has continued to challenge me as a fan. Adore came out and was an awesome record even if it didn't have Jimmy Chamberlin in the fold. The songwriting came through on that record. Then Machina-era records were released with interesting songs and a challenging, half-finished concept attached to them for which honestly I couldn't really wrap my brain around. I just accepted I was too dumb to appreciate Billy's brilliance in this and hopefully he would publish just the the fawk that concept really was (to this date, I still don't know what he was trying to do. Perhaps the Machine reissue will solve that riddle for me). The songs were much bigger and lyrically tougher to decipher than previous efforts. Radio and MTV had turned against the band starting with Adore and stopped playing the new stuff in heavy rotation (yes, new stuff was being played but not nearly at the level Today, Disarm, or even Tonight, Tonight was). Fans started turning against the band as well as they wanted more of 1992-94 than 1998-2000. By 2001, being a fan of the band meant either you liked "old Pumpkins" or being a fool for liking "anything beyond Mellon Collie".
Then SPv1 broke up. It was a good ending to an era of me dumping so much time and effort into proving to everybody I was the biggest fan (for which I wasn't). I then watched the rise and fall of Zwan, which honestly should've been the next Pumpkins record. Then lackluster solo releases from Billy, James (who released a solo record during the Mellon Collie era) and Jimmy were released and I even supported them by seeing them on tour. The whole time I was yearning for a new Pumpkins record.
- Billy, Jimmy, and I have aged. We're no longer the people we were back in 2000. Life experience and growth had occurred so we were all trying to reconcile our historical experiences of what The Smashing Pumpkins meant to us then with what was being produced now.
- I REALLY wanted SPv1 back together to satisfy my youthful cravings. Believe it or not, I was ok with everyone moving on with a new line-up. I figured that if Billy and Jimmy were happy, their music would reflect it for the better.
Tears In The Ocean
The Teargarden project sounded too good to be true. Billy had spoken a lot about grandiose projects in the past so I knew when he said it'd be 44 songs released one at a time for free that the project would not be completed. The songs weren't strong enough to stand alone or even together (except maybe Freak), but they weren't weak enough for me to totally abandon them either. When Oceania came out, it was a very strong effort. It was promising to listen to. Having locked in guitarist Jeff Shroeder along with Mike Byrne on drums for quite some time and treating them with respect as full band members and allowing them to record their own parts really elevated the SP game. The "soul" in the band had been found. No, it wasn't SPv1 but at least there was a vehicle here for Billy to pursue his quest on rocking people with new music. But this ride wouldn't last forever.
The Smashing Darkness
We then get news that Billy's working with Motley Crue drummer Tommy Lee on two future SP records Monuments to an Elegy and Day for Night. AGAIN WITH A DRUMMER CHANGE BILLY?! Ok. Again, I'm cool with it. I was never a big Mike Byrne fan anyway. I felt like he butchered a lot of what Jimmy would do. Don't get me wrong. He's an awesome drummer and can play circles around me but I just never felt the "groove" with him. Also, we start hearing that Jeff is the only guy left in the band other than Billy. OK. Fawk it. It is what it is. I was never a huge James fan anyway. Billy did a fantastic job documenting the album progress on the SP website and that gives me hope that not all is lost with the Smashing Pumpkins.
- To Sheila (Adore)
- Pox (American Gothic E.P.)
- Of A Broken Heart (Mary Star of The Sea)
- Muzzle (Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness)
- Bye June (Lull E.P.)
- Pale Horse (Oceania)
- Widow Wake My Mind (Teargarden By Kaleidyscope)
- Today (Siamese Dream)
- Ugly (Aeroplane Flies High)
- Smiley (John Peel Sessions/Gish era)
- Let Me Give The World To You (Machina II)
- Glynis (No Alternative/Siamese Dream era)
- Try, Try, Try (Machina)
- That's the Way My Love Is (Zeitgeist)
- Rhinoceros (Gish)
- Mayonaise (Siamese Dream)
- 1979 (Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness)
- Starla (Pisces Iscariot)
- Drown (Singles soundtrack/Siamese Dream era)
- Tonight, Tonight (Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness)
I'll list out why I picked these songs in my next blog.