Wednesday, July 23, 2008


I am curious to see how Smashing Pumpkins fans take to the new album, Zeitgeist. It has taken me a while to get to it, but I have finally been able to sit down and listen to it extensively. What a different record.

If you just listened to the first 20 seconds of "Doomsday Clock" without the artist in mind, I don't know if I would come to the conclusion that the band is Smashing Pumpkins. I would think more of a pop-ish rock group, like Finger Eleven. Their sound is a harsher guitar, very mainstream. But, when I checked out Wikipedia, the introduction explained that Billy Corgan's intentions for the album was to make a mainstream rock album, comment on the US's political climate, and strengthen his relationship with Chamberlain. Well, that makes sense.

Chamberlain states what he thinks the band's intention was for the album: "The mindset of the record was to put our best foot forward and not get too artsy. We wanted to try to create a body of work that was concentrated enough to bring back a fan base and invigorate a new fan base. We kept it pretty close to the chest, and we didn't branch out too deep into art zone while we were writing the record."

I guess I can understand it's heavier sound if that's also the message they are trying to convey. I have a slight problem with it just because this is a mixed up band; it's not 100% of the original Smashing Pumpkins members--it's only half. The direction this new band takes interests me, especially since, I think, it went in a different direction.

I also have mixed feelings about Billy Corgan. I mean, I like Smashing Pumpkins, but I have a problem with loving him as a lead singer. I don't have this problem with other bands. I don't think he's an amazing lyricist or even has a strong voice, but he is unique. He does have talent to help compose some of these beautiful songs. Is it possible to be too weird? I don't know what it is about him, but it's hard for me to devote a strong positive feeling towards him. What is it that blocks me from it?

What I also want to look at is their political commentary, especially with the title Zeitgeist for their album. The strong image of the Statue of Liberty drowning is also powerful in itself. The song titles, even looking at them alone, have different messages about the state of the country (i.e. "Doomsday Clock," "7 Shades of Black," "Bleeding the Orchid," "Never Lost," "Bring the Light," "(Come On) Let's Go!," For God and Country," and "Pomp and Circumstances.")

But, to me, it seems their aim or what they would deem their "masterpiece" on the album, so to speak, is their over nine minute song that they called "United States." It seems that, when listening to the song, they really attempt to make that song strong and memorable. When I went back to check the lyrics, I wasn't extremely impressed, but look at what they are:

Tired eyes closed for days
there's no regret, 'cause there's no place
I don't know what I believe
but if I feel safe, what do I need

Revolution! Revolution! Revolution blues
What will they do?
Revolution! Revolution! Revolution blues
What will they do to me?

Dulcet tongues whisper fast
The future yearns, right now's the past
Rouse me soon, the end draws nigh
Whose side are you on?
Your blood you cannot buy

Revolution! Revolution! Revolution blues
What will they do?
Revolution! Revolution! Revolution blues
What will they do to you?

We're alive, I feel alright, so tonight
I got to ask you why?
Why tonight?
It's no surprise
I’ve got to survive!

Freedom shines a light ahead,
I'll lead the last charge from bed
They said my last rites
I don't have to run scared no more

Fight! I wanna fight! I wanna fight!
A revolution tonight!
I wanna fight! I wanna fight!
A revolution tonight!

Acolyte, acolyte
do you wanna watch me die!???

Let me do something good
Let me prove something real like I should
Let me embrace every single living thing
Let me be every single moment I ever misunderstood

The song does a good job of sounding like war, to try to convey that similar feeling. What do you think of these lyrics?

For all the criticism I'm giving, I don't think that it's such a bad album. I enjoy it. I've listened to it a few times. But, I like to question and I like to see what others say. I do have some slight queries with it, but it's not a terrible piece of art. Let's see what you think.

So what do you think of this album? What do you think of Smashing Pumpkins coming back, and then putting out their album? Messages? Music?

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