I now begin my awaited Zeitgeist review. Why ‘awaited’? Because I regard myself as the greatest Pumpkins fan. That being said, I am not impossibly pro-Billy and blind to criticism. If you don’t believe that, read my just plain mean and terrible review of The Future Embrace. Two years later and I haven’t touched that CD. I don’t even know where it is… but it didn’t make the cut on my 20 gig iPod… so that should be telling.
So the Pumpkins are reunited. What does that mean, when only half the band came back? It means the only two who mattered are back. It has been long rumored and assumed that Billy Corgan did all the recording on the Pumpkins discs, meaning bass and guitar. Iha and Darcy were just a touring band. So, if we have Jimmy Chamberlin and Billy Corgan then we have 99% of the Pumpkins’ songwriting and recording team. I should note the albums credits are slyly succinct. They read, verbatim: “Jimmy Chamberlin: drums
Billy Corgan: everything else.” It was always suspected Billy did all the string work, now it’s official.
The new record is very good, but I can’t say great yet. If you are looking to hear Siamese Dream 2, this would not be the release for you. Of course, nothing would as Siamese Dream is the greatest modern rock record every made, only on par with Appetite for Destruction. Strong words, I know. The new record is so much a new feel of Billy Corgan, it actually sounds a lot closer to Zwan. In fact, you can really call this a Zwan re-union as well. Billy Corgan and Jimmy Chamberlin were both in Zwan and obviously the driving forces musically in that band.
The album does not fail to rock. In fact, this will sound stupid, but it rocks too hard. My favorite work of the Pumpkins is great introspective stuff like “Mayonnaise,” “Snail,” “Rhinoceros,” “Soma.” I won’t go through track by track, because I would need 40 or 50 listens to do that well. However, currently I am most fond of “Tarantula.” Problem is, I am not sure if that is because it is the best song or because they released it first so its jammed in my head (think Vertigo). Regardless, that song kicks major ass. If you are looking for Jimmy Chamberlain to ‘bore holes in your skull’, start with “United States.”
I have had the disc couple of weeks now (since release day). It has done quite well. It debuted at #2 on Billboard, and most of their shows have sold out. If you are a fan of the band, I definitely encourage you to pick it up. It isn’t that simple, though. Annoyingly, there are five versions out there. There is the standard CD (12 songs), the standard CD with a great and strange booklet, and three versions with extra songs. Best Buy has one with an extra song, Target has another with a bonus song, as does iTunes. Problem is, each release is ‘exclusive’ and not on the other bonus tracks. This means to get each of the three extra tunes on the market, you need to buy $100 worth of the same CD. To me, that is evil bullshit marketing, but clever. It’s not new, though. Zeppelin did it with the paper bag covered In Through the Out Door and Garth Brooks did it with his record breaking Wal Mart only live thingy. In addition, they also did a deal just for iTunes customers, pre-sale on concert tickets. I can’t quite figure out if that is ‘fan friendly’ or just good marketing.
Now that I do the math, maybe that is how the Pumpkins got to #2, it was just 12 or 14 super fans who bought every version. It’s ok, the Pumpkins have brought me more joy than I can put a dollar to, and knowing that I will see them Red Rocks this fall freaks me out! As for the extra three bonus songs out there, I’ll probably just nab them off Limewire. Dude already got my $23 for buying the ‘limited edition book’, and I ain’t buying four more CDs. Thank you for the music, Billy, and thank you for reading. You may now summarily tear into me below.
Talk amongst yourselves. First topic: the pic of Darcy’s bass in a casket. Seems a bit overboard, don’t you think? Also, why no similar mention of Iha in the photography?