I was a Senior in High School in 1993 when this glorious record came out! Everything fell into its right place with this one. Gish was stunning! But Siamese Dream was a masterpiece!!!
Every artist has their “crowning achievement”
I think Smashing Pumpkins were one of the greatest rock bands of the 90’s, easily.
Billy Corgan has been one of my favorite guitarists. His work on the studio albums Gish, Siamese Dream and even Mellon Collie (1995) is brilliant, layering guitar upon guitar with brilliant riffs and awesome solos.
His lyrics are often depressed and angry, but they show hope and beauty too. Lyrics aren’t usually as important to me as music, but Billy Corgan writes good ones, in my opinion. For a rock star, he surprises me with the kind of songwriting talent.
“Cherub Rock” opens up with a distinguishing drum roll followed by simple clean guitar playing the main riff. Within less than a minute, a wall of guitars is hitting you, but it’s still extremely listenable. The melodies of this song are awesome, and I’d bet you’ve heard it on the radio.
“Quiet” is an assault of layered metal riffs. “Today” is another radio song. It’s one of the weaker songs on the whole, but I think it’s still pretty nice and ironically a lot of people’s favorite song.
“Hummer” is nearly 7 minutes long, with several different parts and great textures and melodies. “Disarm” is a beautiful acoustic guitar and vocal track, with strings added (that are good and not cheesy).
“Soma” starts with a peaceful clean guitar riff, but explodes into a wall of distorted guitars and wild leads. I still pull out my acoustic guitar once in a while and play the tabs to this one.
“Geel U.S.A.” is one of the best rockers, and one of the most layered. I don’t know how many guitars are in this song, but I’m pretty sure it’s more than 12 or so. Think My Bloody Valentine-esque The solo is wildly energetic, and the metal riffs are awesome.
“Mayonaise” is gorgeous and noisy at the same time. It’s my personal favorite.
There are no bad songs. Or else it wouldn’t be on my top 40 list. Duh!!!
When I first got into the Pumpkins back in 1991, I didn’t like Billy Corgan’s voice that much, but I grew to really appreciate it. The wall of sound created by Billy Corgan’s guitars combined with his original voice and songwriting is also backed up by the experienced drumming of Jimmy Chamberlain. He used to be in a jazz band apparently, and the guy definitely knows what he’s doing.
James Iha and D’Arcy are respectively great rhythm and bass guitarists as well but they are unfortunately known more for their live contributions because Billy tended to prefer taking over in the studio. This was always the one controversial fact about the pumpkins.
If you want my opinion (I guess you do, if you’ve read this far), this is one of the best rock albums of the 90’s, and you should buy it. Highly recommended. Here’s a video: