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  • Gish
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Gish
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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on August 23, 1998
In all fairness though, this is still an excellent accomplishment from Billy Corgan and company. Yes, it is more guitar heavy than Siamese Dream, Mellon Collie, or Adore (Pisces Iscariot I didn't include because that covers all of the b-sides from Gish and Siamese Dream, therefore it isn't a good album to be used as a measure), but consider that all of their live shows are just like Gish in their raw guitar power, and when Gish was recorded the Smashing Pumpkins were still a relatively new band who only had experience on stage, not in the recording studio. I Am One, Siva, Bury Me, and Tristessa will get your speakers booming with their grinding rythms, while Suffer and Daydream seem to around the room on a wave of soft melodies. One cannot count out Rhinoceros though, for this one song captures the best of both types of SP songs. So, to pumpkins fans new and old who don't have this album, buy it for it's sheer artistry at a time when Nirvana and the "grunge" sound ruled the airwaves, but more so, buy it because it still stands out as a great accomplishment from the Smashing Pumpkins
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on November 29, 2011
This review is for the boxed set...

I am a Huge Pumpkins fan so when this came out, I immediately preordered. Love that it was cheaper than the pumpkins website on amazon, plus $.99 in free mp3s, and free shipping, love me some prime.

Ok, so the boxes are sturdy cardboard boxes. Inside are some cool pics of the pumpkins from that time. There is a great color booklet in which Billy talks about each song and song lyrics. So happy to have this included in the set. There are 3 disc which you can see. Great remastering of Gish, and love getting demos and previously unreleased stuff. Disc 3 of the show is so cool, quality of the show is good.

Ok, so for those who say ... what $24 bucks Billy is just making himself rich, do the Math. 2 Discs of songs, including remastered original gish songs, and a show DVD. This is a great deal.

Great collection for a pumpkins fan. So much better than the music that is out today. These discs take me back to my high school days!
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33 of 41 people found the following review helpful
on May 7, 2004
Here is The Smashing Pumpkins' full-length debut album from 1991. The Pumpkins' sound here displays what we would come to expect from the gang: heavy, searing, multi-tracked guitars (which often gets compared to Brian May - of Queen fame), melancholic, dreamy soundscapes and lyrics, contrasts from heavy sounds to soft sounds. However, these are the beginning stages of what would fully blossom on later efforts like 1993's _Siamese Dream_, and 1995's _Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness_. While the heavy tracks feature the ethereal wall-of-sound that the Pumpkins are known for, this heaviness is not as full, lush, and oceanic as it would become on aforementioned following discs, but you can hear where the band was headed.

However, when taken as it is -- an album showing the band in it's earliest stages -- _Gish_ is an excellent, highly enjoyable album. It is hardly a disappointing album -- far, far from it. The Pumpkins' amalgamation of heavy (but melodic and dreamy) rockers and dreamy, atmospheric, psychedelic-tinged mellow tracks appear here, giving ample proof that the Pumpkins didn't necessarily change their sound over the years, but rather refined it. "I Am One" and "Siva" open up the album on hard-driving notes. The former could be heard on alternative rock radio stations, even to this day. Do you think that because The Smashing Pumpkins made hard-rockers, they used nothing more than simple power chords? Well, both these tracks feature arpeggiated chords that are beyond simple.

The hard-driving rockers are interrupted for what are possibly the most ethereal, wispy, mood-inducing six minutes on the album: "Rhinoceros" is such a heavenly beauty, and is without a doubt, my favorite track on this album. Billy Corgan's acquired vocal stylings blend perfectly with the dreamy atmospheres brought on by the guitar arpeggios, textured arrangements, and the treatment of them all. Many complain about Billy's voice, but what other vocalist could complement the Pumpkins' music as perfectly as his? Nobody I can think of (except maybe one of the other Pumpkins.. ), but regardless, his voice was an ethereal instrument unto itself.

Elsewhere, "Crush" seems to foreshadow "Thirty-Three," as it's a dream-folk track (it's very hard to categorize in exact terms.) Billy's vocals are lovely here. "Snail" is a moody piece that seems to share a kinship with most adult contemporary music -- except this rocks harder, and the lyrics are probably a bit more inscrutable. The rocker "Tristessa" sounds like it could have been a dry run for "Cherub Rock." Listen to some of those whacked-out fills from drummer extraordinaire Jimmy Chamberlain. "Window Paine" is almost as mood-inducing as "Rhinoceros," and takes it's time by resting on one or two chords, which build up to an explosive, cathartic climax, and the ethereal, acoustic closer "Daydream" features bassist D'Arcy on lead vocals, followed by a brief coda from Billy.

An excellent album from an excellent band, of whom I miss dearly. Definitely worth owning, but if you're new to the Pumpkins, start with _Siamese Dream_ first.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on September 22, 2005
And I don't view that as any kind of a hyperbole. No matter how you put it, the Pumpkins stand out on their own. Once I was listening to some of the songs on the first Pumpkins show, and it seems like by the time that they released this that they were just releasing amazing stuff. As for the thing about them being the best Chicago band since Ministry, I almost completely agree. And while I love that band, I happen to think that these guys put Al Jourgensen to shame. That says a lot, doesn't it? Well, for one thing, that's just my opinion.

A good thing about noting with this album is that most people seem to think that the band had two great recordings, "Siamese Dream" and "MCIS". Those are exceptional records that are actually a little bit better, but to me, not by much. If you like the hard-rock side of the Pumpkins than these three are a very good first buy ("Adore" if you like the more full-blown goth). This album has the psychedelia, metal, goth, and lots of other elements. After releasing singles from Limited Potential and Sub Pop, where do they go next? Instead of going for major label immediately, they went on Caroline. Also, if you found the lyrics on later works to be too self-obsessed (I really didn't), this is better for you because there aren't too many major themes on "Gish". It's a lot more of a humble record than it seems.

It is also clear that you hear the sound of an actual band on this album that you don't hear quite as much on future SP albums. "I Am One" even has a bass solo from D'arcy! That song shows where the band was at this point and it was really a good sign of how they could jam out. If anyone wants to prove someone that all of the band members were really talented musically, this would be the track to do that with. The punch continues with "Siva", which has amazing guitar work of Billy and James. I like it when the song gets more clean and "dreamy" as well. It's like a taste of more greatness that was to come.

Bass still shines in some of these songs that come later, too. A great example of this is "Rhinoceros", a good mix of new wave and hard rock that was kind of what the Pumpkins were. Once again, the guitar solo is amazing. Billy and James are such overlooked guitarists; nothing they do ever sucks. The vocals have some of my favorite melodies on Pumpkins tracks, as well. I like the way it fades out in the last thirty or so seconds, also.

Other highlights appear. The ones that don't stand out as much are actually great but in the company that they are in get overshadowed, unfortunately. "Crush" is notable for its interesting playing and one interesting thing of note is that the percussive sound in the guitar solo is actually Billy's jewelry. I am glad that "Suffer" got re-tooled for the trip-hop world, and this is one of two moments where the gothic side of the Pumpkins really shines. You should also check out the great music ability that is shown on "Window Paine".

In competition with the excellence of the first three tracks is probably "Daydream", where D'arcy shines on vocals, and there is some string in it. It's kind of like Cocteau Twins with less shoegaze, but don't worry because that sound is prevalent in most early Pumpkins work. It is backed by an alright hidden track, a performance of "I'm Going Crazy". A softer track and the only one on here where Billy spits out the f-bomb, it is nice to hear although it is not as great as the ten that are heard on here.

And while it could be argued that this could be classified as grunge, the Pumpkins have always had more of a variety in their music than their contemporaries. It is not as boundary-pushing as "MCIS", as layered as "Siamese" or lush like "Adore" but it still sounds out. And "Machina" unfortunately doesn't have the competition that the other four records do (it's not bad, but it's spotty). While not my favorite debut record of all time (that nod goes to "Visual Audio Sensory Theater" by Vast), I still think this is something of exceptional quality. Very few records today even come close to matching this album.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on October 1, 1998
The smashing pumpkins were truly Billy Corgan on every instrument except drums when this album was released. Corgan's total control over the playing of this album is evident to anyone who ever saw him perform live before their Siamese Dream tour, or at least in the beginning of it. I think that the album is wonderful and is better than anything most bands have accomplished. Here is my song by song breakdown: I Am One- The song that addicts you to this album, it rocks and you know that the band does too. Siva-I love the rythmn guitar in this one...it kinda wants to rock even more than it does the whole time and pulls the listener along with it.("I just wanna get there faster.") The exit from the soft lyrics back into the guitar driven song is fantastic. Rhinoceros-I kinda skipped over this one the first time I heard the album so many years ago. Then this cool girl I know mentioned it to me and I listened and it quickly went to the top of my list. Don't know if it is the song or the girl. Bury Me-Great song that gets by being scratchy cause of some creative adjustment on the guitar by Billy. His solo before he wails out "She waits...to bury me" is really good. Is worth the whole song right there. Crush-I'm not sure what the band thought of this one, I love it. If this song ever gets associated with an event in your life it will forever define that event. It has a lot of emotion. I feel his lyrics here are some of the most sincere of the album. Suffer-Chill song that neither impresses nor repels. I am ambivalent on this one. The end of the song seems promising but never materializes. Snail-Another one that I skipped over on first play...fortunately for me I quickly corrected that mistake and began enjoying a wonderful song that almost sounds like Collective Soul wrote it(sorry but it does) though since Billy and co perform it does really well. Only the excessive distortion hiss reminds you that this could never be top40. Tristessa-I was never a big fan of this song. But most fans seem to like it and I don't want to turn anyone off from a song they may like. I do like the guitar and vocal mix. Window Paine-This song is my personal favorite on the album. I like it cause it has a number of different parts that all grow on you. Jimmy really comes through with his drumwork on this song and it gives you the pre-game jitters. Daydream-There has to be a bomb on every album I guess. So, this album is in fact great. I love the personal feeling it has, pumpkins pre-arena sound. I'm sure that people have left the CD running and heard Billy's last little bit...you gotta love it. If you don't get this album you will go crazy.
WCH
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24 of 30 people found the following review helpful
HALL OF FAMEon September 21, 2000
Woe for the days when the Smashing Pumpkins were the hottest item on the Chicago club circuit and WXRT was the only radio station in the country playing "Gish." That was way back in 1991. I was mesmorized by this album then, and the feeling has never changed. As the Pumpkins have exploded into mass popularity, their music has grown more pompous and less interesting. Not so here. Listen to the great cuts "Rhinocerous," "Suffer," "Tristessa" and "Window Paine" and you'll be hooked. An excellent low key debut from a band that eventually got too big for their own good.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on January 26, 2005
(4.5 Stars)

The Pumpkins' 1991 debut album "Gish" has the unfortunate duty of living in the shadow of "Siamese Dream" and "Mellon Collie..". In fact, I've heard many people wrongfully refer to "Siamese Dream" as their first album.

But "Gish" is really good. It's not as layered and experimental as "Siamese Dream" or as diverse and bombastic as "Mellon Collie" or as gorgeous as "Adore", but it's really good! Don't overlook it!

There's powerful, guitar-driven rockers like "I Am One", "Tristesta", and "Bury Me" that the Pumpkins do so well. They seem like a bit noisy and tuneless at first, but there's a lot of melodies to be uncovered.

"Rhinocerous" is a cool song that starts off all hushed and dreamy, then explodes at the end with a killer jam session. Billy Corgan may have a giant ego, but he can toss off some incredible guitar solos..and Jimmy Chamberlain has always been an awe-inspiring drummer.

"Suffer" is a hushed, moody song that never 'explodes'. Quiet through and through, and it becomes glorious after a few listens. "Snail" is even better; this wasn't even a single, but it's the most upbeat, anthematic, catchy piece of rock on here. It's one of my all time favorites from them.

Other highlights include the Eastern-tinged hard rock of "Siva", the gorgeous ballad "Crush", and the brooding, volatile "Window Paine" (which culminates in another groovy jam session).

A little hard rock, a little psychedelia, a little pop, a little artsy; that's "Gish". A terrific album. With each listen, you'll discover more and more to like about it.

Best Songs: Suffer, Snail, Siva, Crush, Rhinocerous, I Am One.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
They're better known for the sprawling double-disc "Mellon Collie And the Infinite Sadness," but the Smashing Pumpkins first leaped onto the scene with "Gish." It's not as epic as some of their later material, but still a vibrant, musically-polished album, and one that has the flavor of experience on the first time around.
Kicking off with the undulating riffs of the excellent "I Am One," the Pumpkins slip effortlessly between multilayered hard rock (the mind-blowing "Siva," the magnificent bass-sputtering "Tristessa," the panoramic "Snail") and haunting ballads ("Rhinoceros," the vaguely psychedelic "Crush," the sweeping "Suffer") before wrapping up with the eerie "Daydream."
It's a rare band whose music can still be so relevant so long after it first came out -- let alone still being a voice for the disillusioned. Originally released in 1991, "Gish" definitely established the Smashing Pumpkins as a musical force of genuine artistry, talented songwriting and musical integrity. It's hard enough to find one of those, let alone three.
The grinding, kinetic guitars and bass in the harder songs form a wall of solid sound, except in "Siva" -- there, the sound keeps dying away to complete silence, before reviving with a swirling roar when you least expect it. At the same time, Corgan tones down the guitars to a gentle acoustic strum in the more balladic songs. Jimmy Chamberlin's lightning-fast drumming is an excellent accompaniment, as is D'Arcy's bass.
As a songwriter, few rockers can parallel Billy Corgan; his songwriting has the quality of poetry set to rock, which aren't things you generally see together. Corgan's high, reedy voice is interwoven well into the music, giving his poetic lyrics a certain heartfelt quality. And bassist D'Arcy gets to shine with her low, sweet voice in "Daydream."
"Gish" is recognizably the Pumpkins, at the roughest stage of their musical development -- but with edge, the musical force and the beauty that just needed refinement.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon May 28, 2000
Led by Billy Corgan, the Smashing Pumpkins helped begin the refreshing cycle of new and hungry guitar-driven bands at the start of the 1990s. Compared to later records, "Gish" contains a fairly low-tech ambiance, though the songs still stand tall on their own merit. The guitars on "Gish" are crisp, sharp and professional-sounding, thanks to Corgan and his intuitive sense of leadership and musical ambition. Also, in the early days of the band, Corgan's voice sounded a little deeper and more controlled, flowing nicely on such songs as "I Am One" and "Siva." There is less soothing, babylike singing and virtually no mad screaming, though both these vocal styles worked great for the Pumpkins as well.

The dreamy-sounding Pumpkins foursome made their start in Chicago, eager to prove themselves and not make mistakes. The result is a mature, straightforward rock album that any new band would be proud of. "I just want to get there faster," sings Corgan on "Siva," the album's high-powered single. Indeed, "getting there" meant Corgan had to make a name for his aspiring band by writing great tunes and squeezing the most talent out of his bandmates, who allegedly weren't the best of musicians at the start. Although melody is spared at times on "Gish" in favor of a faster, razor-sharp immediacy, songs such as "Rhinoceros" confirm the Pumpkins' ability and blatant desire to attain radio airplay. Conversely, "Crush" and "Suffer" are more off-the-beaten-path-type tracks, dreamily standing in place and revealing the longful lyrics of a lost teenager. "Snail," "Bury Me" and the energetic "Fristessa" are also great tracks, more driving and unabashedly guitar driven, with Jimmy Chamberlain letting loose on his skins in a big way. One of the best moments of the CD occurs on "Window Paine," when Corgan lyrically unleashes a theme he would reinterate for years to come: "Do what you're gonna do/Say what you're gonna say/Do what you're gonna do/Yeah, start today/Start today." It may sound simplistic, but his bold message hits a nerve.

"Gish" was a great start for the Smashing Pumpkins. Though many of the Pumpkins B-sides in the band's early years were more adventurous, rocked harder and in some cases were superior songs to what was on "Gish" (see Pisces Iscariot), this was still a great beginning for four Chicago kids who had no idea what would happen.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on June 27, 2010
As of 2010, I am 48. I had the privilege of listening to Dark Side of the Moon when it first came out, vinyl disk spinning, headphones on my head.

Two other albums have approached Dark Side, in my mind. Nothing's Shocking by Jane's Addiction and Gish by Smashing Pumpkins.

Good stuff. Great for work-out or running, too.
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