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The Smashing Pumpkins

Machina/The machines of God

By Rob Selina
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Compact Disc CD Stock Number: Virgin 7 2438 48936 2 0 Compact Disc

 

  Okay, let’s not beat around the bush here. The album is not what it should be, but it’s not a bad album either. The pumpkins have always been one of those bands that I thought would never run out of steam. From Gish to The Airplane Flies High their albums had always been incredible pieces of music full of emotion, variety and originality. They’d fire you up with these explosive rock songs lashing out at you, and then they’d soothe you with a soft lullaby only to send you back for more. Adore was the exception, focusing more on the sweet melodies and keeping things on the softer side.

My first impression of Machina was that it’s a comeback album. Adore, despite being a very good album in my eyes, was not a commercial success. It was too soft and mellow for most of their audience. Upon first impression, Machina came of as loud and noisy. You start off with their current single “The Everlasting Gaze” that I’m not all too fond of. It’s repetitive and meaningless after you’ve heard it a couple of times. Their older songs were never like that. The electronica, industrial tempo is taken down a notch for the next few songs and we get three very good songs. “Raindrops + Sunshowers”, “Stand Inside Your Love” and “I of the Morning” all have their strong points. The lyrics, despite being on the repetitive side, carry emotion and give the songs meaning. Musically, it’s good to see Jimmy Chamberlain back in action. He instantly fires up “Raindrops + Sunshowers” with a potent drum beat.

The album then progresses to have a couple of hits and misses and one thing becomes very clear. The album is very one sided. The musical style of the album doesn’t vary enough. If you look at their earlier albums, once you got a few songs deep in to the album, you’d come across some very experimental music for the time. The songs would be a little out of the ordinary and seem completely unrelated to what the singles suggested that the album would be. Along with these oddball rock pieces, you would be exposed to these wonderful lullabies. Billy Corgan playing his acoustic guitar, or maybe his piano. These songs were what defined the Smashing Pumpkins for me, not their singles.  “With Every Light” and “Wound” come very close, but the integration of complicated synth sounds and the lack of more acoustic instruments rob them of the title.

I miss the lullabies, but the album does have some really good rock songs. There really are some excellent songs on this album, just not as many flavors as I’m used to from the pumpkins.  Most of the album sticks to variations of a pop and industrial fusion. There is freedom to move inside that style however, and Corgan uses it to it to it’s extreme. You go from the sweet, soft melody of “This Time” to the dark rifts of “Glass and the Ghost Children” to the lighthearted pop sound of “The Imploding Voice.”

The pumpkins have released better in the past, but this album is still very good and far, far better than most of the other albums that are being exposed on the radio. If you’re a serious fan of these guys, there’s no question you need this album. For the rest of the world however, I suggest you look in to the pumpkins’ earlier work first.

 

Enjoyment: 75

Sound Quality: 70

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     
 

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