Smashing Pumpkins reveal “Solara”
Love him or hate him, there’s no arguing that Billy Corgan is nothing if not a prolific songwriter.
Hell, Pisces Iscariot was a collection of b-sides and it was better than half the alt-rock albums released in the 1990s. Ever since Smashing Pumpkins’ original lineup broke up, everything that Corgan did with his semi reassembled band has failed to live up to the original first five albums. Reunited with original drummer Jimmy Chamberlin and guitarist James Iha along with longterm guitarist Jeff Schroeder, and on tour again, Corgan is reinvigorated and Smashing Pumpkins are recording again. Working with producer Rick Rubin, who brings his stripped down minimalist sound with him everywhere he goes, Corgan and Co. just dropped their first new music written and played together in 18 years.
So, what’s the verdict? I’m a lifelong Pumpkins fan whose favorite album of theirs (and one of my favorite albums of all time) is and always will be Siamese Dream, so the production spin Rubin puts on the trademark Corgan overdubs is a little jarring at first, but when absorbed aurally remains just as potent and is more viscerally organic. The hum and strum is still there, but it sounds more raw. It’s less heavenly, but more grungy and earthen. In other words, it’s awesome.
I cannot wait to hear “Solara” live later this summer when I see Smashing Pumpkins live. I can only hope this is the first of more to come from Smashing Pumpkins, including a full length LP. That day will truly be the greatest if it sounds anything like this.