The Smashing Pumpkins – Siamese Dream: Deluxe Edition
Record Label: Virgin Records
Release Date: November 29th, 2011
If Gish was the infant prodigy, then Siamese Dream is the college success story. Smashing Pumpkins roared back to life with their sophomore album in 1993 delivering an album that would single-handedly change the direction of successful mainstream alternative music. This 13 track album emerged from the studio after a recording process that nearly brought about the Smashing Pumpkins demise and essentially initiated the beginning of a process towards the bands first official break up. Despite a recording session which was fraught with near unbearable band tensions, Siamese Dream debuted at number ten on the U.S. Billboard chart, going on to sell over four million copies in the U.S. and over six million worldwide, which essentially cemented the Smashing Pumpkins as one of the major forces in alternative rock. Four hit singles were released in support of Siamese Dream: "Cherub Rock", "Today", “Disarm", and "Rocket" all of which receive the re-master and re-release treatment with this 2011 version.
Opener “Cherub Rock” rumbles in with its distinctive guitar trembles, and Billy Corgan’s now maturing voice instantly sets the tone for the largely chilled out guitar led album to come. The guitar solos on this album sound particularly sweetened with the re-mastered edition being a headphone essential. The Pumpkins largest hit to date came with single “Today”, which still sounds as fresh today as it ever did. The lyrics are simple but effective, “Today is the greatest day I’ve ever known, can’t live for tomorrow, tomorrows much too long”. Other notable standout tracks include the dreamy “Mayonaise”, the kick in the teeth that is “Geek U.S.A.” and the grunge championed “Quiet”. The album itself combines instances of psychedelic rock, grunge, shoegaze and progressive rock. The drumming and guitar alone makes Siamese Dream an album which every true music lover should listen to at least once in their life.
The b-side collection from the Siamese Dream era is of such quality that deciding on a final track listing for the final cut must have been a torturous process for the pedantic Billy Corgan. The albums namesake song “Siamese Dream” gets its first release here; it is a fast paced track which gets through a lot in its six minutes, even if Corgans voice is terribly whiney. “Frail and Bedazzled” is a rough plough-truck of a tune with “Never Let Me Down Again” taking a page out of the dream-pop songbook to become the most intimate track on the album. An early version of album track “Silverfuck” appears in the form of “Ache”, a very rough around the edges but re-mastered mix. There are a lot less alternative versions of album songs on Siamese Dream than on the previous re-issue that was Gish, but the ones that did make it are essentially all of the hit singles with “Disarm (Acoustic)” deserving a mention due to its terrific inclusion of even more bells and strings. Upon reflection, for an album which was plighted with such internal band strife at the time the fact that it went on to become an alternative classic demonstrates the work ethic that each of the band members had at the time; the music is certainly more important than the people. The artist certainly strives, but on this 2011 version it is the fan that is the champion.