On Disc: Smashing Pumpkins

Album: Zeitgeist

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Zeitgeist by Smashing Pumpkins

Smashing Pumpkins
Zeitgeist
Warner Brothers

2.5 stars

Zeitgeist marks the first album from the Smashing Pumpkins since their 2000 break-up. Original Pumpkins bassist D’arcy Wretzky and guitarist James Iha are nowhere to be found on this disc, but drummer Jimmy Chamberlain makes a return with three new members.

Although frontman and songwriter Billy Corgan has worked on other projects since the band’s break-up, this album attempts to bring back the emblematic hardhitting guitar and drum sound of previous Pumpkins albums. The political nature of some of the songs shows Corgan and Co.’s efforts to stay relevant.

Zeitgeist means ‘spirit of the time,’ and in this spirit Corgan attempts to sprinkle his songs with commentary on the current political climate. But this comes at the expense of the introspective and deeply personal writing that proved so successful on Siamese Dream and Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness.

The personal in Corgan’s songs is lacking in favour of an that is overproduced and overdubbed sound. A few songs stand out, including “Doomsday Clock” and the first single, “Tarantula,” which knocks out some rocking riffs, with expert drumming from Chamberlain.

Unfortunately, the rest of the album is flat, even wimpy at times. Despite some standout tracks, the album never reaches the artistic majesty of Corgan’s earlier works.

Zeitgeist proves what everyone already knew: Corgan only needed himself to write another Pumpkins album, but the band may have lost something in the mean time.

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