Smashing Pumpkins - Siamese Dream (Cover Artwork)

Smashing Pumpkins

Smashing Pumpkins: Siamese DreamSiamese Dream (1993)

Reviewer Rating: 5
User Rating:

Contributed by: eatdogseatdogs
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Say what you will about the era, the timing, and the absolute explosiveness of the Smashing Pumpkins during their heyday, but man o' man, they had some great tunes back in the day. Once again I'm remembering to the '90s and how this band was not easily missed. With the release of their double album,.
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Say what you will about the era, the timing, and the absolute explosiveness of the Smashing Pumpkins during their heyday, but man o' man, they had some great tunes back in the day. Once again I'm remembering to the '90s and how this band was not easily missed. With the release of their double album, 1995's Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, the high chart-topping and music video success and the world tours, the sky seemed the limit for this band. But before all that came, there was one album that paved the way, and that album is called Siamese Dream.

Despite the now-known controlling attitude of SP main man, Billy Corgan, the Siamese Dream sessions were mainly his work and the exact amount of time the other members contributed is still questionable. The end product was an alternative album of wealth and warmth, a lo-fi shoegazer rock album with ties to Seattle grunge and UK Britpop. There are many layers to be found here (literally...) and with that, this album stands up as one of the best of the '90s.

A big shoutout goes to Butch Vig who produced the record and Alan Moulder who mixed and helped Corgan get his wanted sound, which was inspired by acts like My Bloody Valentine, Ride and Slowdive. So once you get down the influences, you should know what this record entails. It's a departure from their debut album, Gish, in which the chunky psychedelic riffs of before are now replaced with many layers of guitar and fuzzed-out feedback. On record, it's said that the song "Soma" contains over 40 overdubbed guitars. Wowzers.

But anyway, it's not the technical aspects that make this record amazing. No, it's the memorable experiences and quality of music that makes it stay with you. Of course we also should remember the radio and TV singles: "Today", "Cherub Rock", "Rocket" and "Disarm", but what about the rest of the album??? To tell you the truth, the rest is better–if not more perfect–than those mentioned songs.

In my personal tastes, I'm always finding myself constantly jamming the song "Geek U.S.A.", which still holds up to this day. It starts off with a nice drum pattern supplied by Jimmy Chamberlain, then suddenly erupts with the guitars of Corgan and second guitarist, James Iha. The rhythm flows by quickly with many tempos and changes and D'arcy Wretzky's thumping basslines, then climbs up until the middle segment where a high-pitched guitar squeal simmers down into an elegant strum. A trace of their old psychedelic flourishes shines briefly, then quickly disappears as one of my favorite guitar solos of all time kicks in and takes the song into a whole other level. Throughout all this, Corgan sings along with a voice that some might find grating, but I can't picture it with any other music. It's made for him and he glides along with the highs and lows. It's a great song and probably the album highlight until it segues into the track "Mayonaise". Co-written by Iha and Corgan, "Mayonaise" is an elegant tune with a very personal touch. "Fool enough to almost be it / And cool enough to not quite see it / And old enough to always feel it / Always old, I'll always feel this." There's no wonder I often heard screamo/emo bands during the middle 2000s cover this band. (By the way, Poison the Well's cover of the song "Soma" is awesome.)

Other album highlights include the tracks "Hummer", "Spaceboy", "Silverf*ck" and, for those purists out there, look for the album outtakes such as "Frail and Bedazzled", "Whir", and the cover of the Fleetwood Mac song, "Landslide", which are included on their B-sides and rarities album, Pieces Iscariot.

And so it comes down to the test of time, and where does this album stand??? I assume the line may be drawn somewhere in the middle, but I certainly hope not. The Smashing Pumpkins became rock legends after this, but before all that happened, there was just this four-piece from Chicago that made a splash in 1993. The waves eventually became bigger and I think many of us rode them as far as we could, but nothing can top their first big splash. Siamese Dream is a reminder of so much, but always a good listen in the meantime...


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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
chevyvan10 (March 29, 2011)

@ palpitations101

drums on most of today's records - especially punk records, are triggered. What you're hearing is not really what the drummer is playing... it's a computer's interpretation of what the drummer is playing, and drum samples are played accordingly. That is how dynamics on drums sound so ridiculously consistent nowadays.

Drum triggering was used extensively in the 80's, and I feel that larger-than-life boomy drum sound is exactly what dated those recordings so quickly. The trend reversed heavily in the 90's under the influence of engineers like Steve Albini and Brian Paulson.

In my opinion it's a half-assed approach on both the engineer and drummer's front. As a listener I'd much rather hear an accurate reflection of what the band really is and sounds like. I feel like recordings have been further devalued by modern production techniques, and those choose to use them will find their records sounding almost embarrassing in ten years. I don't think there will ever truly be a substitution for a good drummer behind a well-tuned kit, with a good engineer behind the glass.

keithus (March 27, 2011)

During my high school grunge days this was my favorite album and favorite band. Pumpkins were awesome for about a 5 year stretch.

hooverstreet (March 27, 2011)

James Iha and D'arcy didn't play on this album. It's a well known fact that Billy Corgan plays everything except the drums on his albums.

Skibz777 (March 26, 2011)

I grew out of Smashing Pumpkins when I discovered the infinitely better bands whose styles they were aping, and I've practically forgotten everything about their music since. However, I believe this and 'Adore' were the only two albums which didn't give me a headache.

leecorsoisapenis (March 26, 2011)

No one should ever throw their Dinosaur Jr. records away. Ever. With that said, the guitars on this album are pretty mind blowing. I always wished more bands made sounds like this. Hum is the only other band that comes to mind.

palpitations101 (March 26, 2011)

Perfect. I just wish the drums were better mixed. 90's alt rock drums sounds SUCK - and it dates the album. But the guitars are mindblowing.

You can throw your Dinosuar Jr. records away if you got Siamese Dream. It's all here.


posikid93 (March 26, 2011)

There is something so magical about Siamese Dream, i just can't explain it. I mean Soma, fuck, how can one band fit so many sounds into one song?!!!!

BarleyPat (March 25, 2011)

In Utero was great, but this album smoked it, imo.

BarleyPat (March 25, 2011)

An amazing album that still holds up no matter how big of a douchebag Billy is.

harekrishna (March 25, 2011)

Pumpkins at their peak. Saw them at Roseland NYC for this tour. The place went wild for them. I miss 90's mosh pits. Swervedriver opened for them too, bonus.

Hey_Asshole (March 25, 2011)

Homer Simpson, smiling politely

loki13 (March 25, 2011)

Billy Corgan, Smashing Pumpkins

ilovelamp (March 25, 2011)

I think the fact that she was already 12 or 13 around the time the cover was shot will suffice.

DrGunn (March 25, 2011)

this band has never, ever been good.

eatdogs (March 25, 2011)

the only way to tell if that girl was actually on the cover is to see if she has a scar from her surgery when she was cut off her sister. oh, and the girl who apparently said all this used to be in veruca salt...

ilovelamp (March 25, 2011)

Yeah, the whole bassist on the cover thing is bullshit. It's a shame Corgan is resorting to spreading false rumors to promote his shitty new music instead of making good music again. Oh well. The dude was always a fuckhead anyway.

Shogun (March 25, 2011)

Good review. I listen to this on a semi-regular basis and it def has stood the test of time.

Sliced-T (March 25, 2011)

I remember thinking this album was highly irritating.

leecorsoisapenis (March 25, 2011)

I thought that thing about the bassist was debunked. Whatever. If you don't like this album, I don't think I could be friends with you. I will say that In Utero was the best album of 1993 though. I mean, that album is perfection.

grxnge (March 25, 2011)

On my top ten of all time for sure. "Hummer" is probably the best song they've ever written.

eatdogs (March 25, 2011)

thanks again punknews for posting my review. yes, this album has always had a permanent spot in my cd playing. dig it...

thepopeofchili-town (March 25, 2011)

Awesome record, definitely their best. Don't know that would have given it the full five stars, but I like it a lot, and have since I was a little kid.

Also, this:
http://exclaim.ca/News/new_smashing_pumpkins_bassist_revea ls_she_was_kid_from_siamese_dream_album_cover

killtaker (March 25, 2011)

Greatest Pumpkins record for sure...Gish had moments...the 2 cd album had some great songs but too much filler and everything else was pretty bad. This album rules...my friends used to argue what the best major label album from 1993 was: In Utero or Siamese Dream? I used to say In Utero but I think with hindsight it might have been Siamese Dream.

facetofacereunion08 (March 25, 2011)

...Also, "Whir" should have been included on this album

facetofacereunion08 (March 25, 2011)

My fav album of all time and "Mayonaise" may be my fav song of all time. Been listening to this since 5th grade and never stopped.

ilovelamp (March 25, 2011)

A flawless album. In my top 10 for sure.

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