Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The Billy Corgan Experience

Zeitgeist - purpleZeitgeist is here and it's a monster. Not because of the music on it, but because of all the different releases. Someone should be flogged for this comic book cover type nastiness, but alas, there are probably enough fanboys out there to make this a worthwhile stunt.

Here in the USA we have five different options (regular, Best Buy exclusive track, Best Buy 70+ page booklet, Target exclusive track, iTunes exclusive track). I opted for the Target version, which has a purple cover, and includes the title track, "Zeitgeist", as an extra song at the end of the disc. It's a mere 2:50 in length, mellow (acoustic guitar and vox only) and pretty. I could've done worse.

I could go on at length about the quality of the disc, but to be honest, y'all can go to any of a million websites to get this information. Suffice it to say that it's good, but nothing that anyone needs (unless you happen to be something of a record collector completest like myself). The question to ponder is, "Why isn't this album better?"

I contend that it's because the band has officially become "The Billy Corgan Experience". In essence they always have been The Experience, with Billy calling all the shots, but the fact that it's abundantly clear now makes all the difference.

So why is it more obvious now? His second guitarist and bassist are merely there for the tour; they are not listed in the album credits, nor are there pictures of them. I suppose we should be happy that Jimmy Chamberlain got his face in the booklet and some music credit. Somewhere along the line, after the disaster known as Adore, Billy figured out he was worthwhile, and kept him around for Zwan and this record.

I firmly believe that no matter how much Corgan may have suppressed D'Arcy and Iha, that it's nigh-impossible that they didn't have some influence in coloring the music, especially their early efforts. I have absolutely no proof of this, but I simply can't believe they sat around for ten years being little more than studio musicians.

So what Smashing Pumpkins has now is a rotating crop of musicians. And much like Megadeth, unless Billy can settle on a lineup so the members have time to gel as a unit, the sounds he creates will never come close to when he had an actual band.


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