Amazon Vehicles Up to 80 Percent Off Textbooks Amazon Fashion Learn more Discover it Songs of Summer Fire TV Stick Happy Belly Coffee Totes Amazon Cash Back Offer ElvisandNixon ElvisandNixon ElvisandNixon  Amazon Echo  Echo Dot  Amazon Tap  Echo Dot  Amazon Tap  Amazon Echo Introducing new colors All-New Kindle Oasis Florida Georgia Line Water Sports
Customer Discussions > Music forum

Review: The Smashing Pumpkins, Oceania

Sort: Oldest first | Newest first
Showing 1-14 of 14 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jun 19, 2012 8:41:30 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 19, 2012 8:44:06 PM PDT
This album, the first Smashing Pumpkins release since 2007, has gotten more advance buzz than any album Corgan has made since "Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness" 17 years ago. Even Corgan himself has described it as his best since that time. The initial reviews have been ecstatic; almost every critic has given it four or five stars and some have dared to call it the best rock album of the past ten years. I had initially heard four of its songs on live youtube clips from their Oct tour of the US, and been pleasantly surprised--Corgan really *did* seem to have got his mojo back, and the new lineup actually gelled as an honest-to-goodness *band*. I eagerly awaited today's release date for the album, to see if the rest of it was really going to match up to the high expectations.

For the most part, the answer is a definitive YES. This is truly one of the best rock albums I've heard in a long time and the finest thing Corgan has made since "Adore" (my favorite Smashing Pumpkins album). "Oceania" is a mix of old-school Siamese-era Pumpkins with some modern production touches and a happier overall tone (Corgan, so famous for his angst in the 90s, seems to have really mellowed in his lyrics). Here's the track-by-track rundown:

Quasar--the opening is deliberately reminiscent of "Cherub Rock", but this barnstormer definitely stands on its own. It's big, bold, complex, cinematic and rocking, all the things which made The Pumpkins so great in their heyday. It practically screams that the group are back in a *big* way. The best rocker since the "Mellon Collie" era.

Panopticon--as if to prove "Quasar" wasn't a fluke, this song rocks right out the gate and doesn't let go. The riff and melody is ridiculously addictive.

The Celestials--a joyful acoustic number that switches to soaring rock anthem midway through. Three for three...this is looking very promising!

Violet Rays--many people's favorite on the album. This diverges from the traditional Pumpkins sound with some interesting synth work, which evolves into a very touching and atmospheric piece. It is a highlight--we're now four for four.

My Love Is Winter--not the greatest lyrics he's ever written but displaying the same melodicism, and performed with the same spirit, as the first four tracks.

One Diamond, One Heart--this is the first real dud, IMO. The lyrics are atrocious, and the music reminds me of the retro-80s disaster that was Corgan's 2005 solo album "The Future Embrace". Just when things are looking down, however...

Pinwheels--a fascinating electronic opening that moves through several enticing sections before ending up as a delicious folk-harmony piece with excellent vocal layering between Corgan and bassist Nicole Fiorentino (if anything, he could have used her vocals more on the record).

Oceania--the epic, proggy title track moves through three distinct sections, all mind-blowing. Although this studio version misses some of the extended instrumental interplay on the youtube live clips, there's no denying this is a total highlight of the album.

Pale Horse--not my favorite, the melody kind of drags and seems more reminiscent of Corgan's more recent material. Not awful, but I don't know how much play it's going to get from me.

The Chimera--outstanding rocker, nearly as good as "Quasar", with a series of ever-morphing guitar riffs that really impresses. One of my favorites.

Glissandra--another monster cut that rocks, but with all the beauty and care that was found on the classic Pumpkins albums of yore. Oustanding old-school Pumpkins guitar work here.

Inkless--a lesser track; it doesn't quite rise to the heights of the two before it, although it's cut from the same cloth. Still, even this slightly weaker track is better than anything Corgan has done in ten years.

Wildflower--an epic ballad with an absolutely gorgeous chord progression and a sumptuous production ethic. Just as the album opened with a drum march reminiscent of "Cherub Rock", so it closes with the lilting late 60s art-rock grace of "Luna". This is anything but a clone, however--it takes from the feel of the early Pumpkins sound but stands completely on its own.

Overall, there's only two songs I really didn't care for--"One Diamond One Heart" and "Pale Horse", and most of the rest was stunning. I'm really impressed by the new lineup--Chamberlin is an extremely hard act to follow but Mike Byrne fills his shoes quite convincingly, while second guitarist Jeff Schroeder has clearly done his homework. Bassist Fiorentino is also an asset, with just as much of a unique personality as D'arcy, coupled with better musicianship. The whole band jams and gels really well together, giving the album an organic feel; I am a hardcore fan of the original lineup and am almost predisposed to dislike any new members on sight, but these guys have won me over. Most importantly, "Oceania" feels like a real *moment*, a focused statement of purpose that is the return of something badly missed. When a genius like Billy Corgan returns from over a decade lost in the wilderness, it is true cause for celebration.

Oceania: A-

Posted on Jun 20, 2012 12:08:24 PM PDT
ED S. says:
Great review Michael!!!!!
See you at the editors desk at The Los Angeles Times.

Posted on Jun 20, 2012 12:18:46 PM PDT
Wow that was one hell of a review.That is a worthy review on the new Smashing Pumpkins due out soon.Sometimes if you cant get everyone on board it is best to seek musicians who fit what your doing.I am a diehard for original members to but Billy Corgan knows what and who will make a great album.

Posted on Jun 20, 2012 1:55:18 PM PDT
Great Review Topper!

Posted on Jun 20, 2012 2:09:50 PM PDT
@Flagvoyanter Splattered Yookamoo: the album was released yesterday!! That's how I was able to review all of it. And yes, I'm ecstatic that Corgan was finally able to find a backing group who complements him. Both Zwan and the "Zeitgeist" lineup sorely missed the mark, in spite of the presence of Chamberlin.

Awesome screen name, btw! :)

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 21, 2012 2:17:48 AM PDT
BigBadAzz says:
Excellent overview, Michael! I'm looking forward to wrapping my ears around that album. :)

Posted on Jun 21, 2012 6:24:24 AM PDT
Thanks Michael appreciate the compliment.BIG OOPS on my post up there had no idea it was released on Tuesday.Fell out of touch with them until I heard some hipe here in Chicago where I live.Not sure how I feel about the new release yet might take me a couple of listens at first.Friend brought it over last night gave it a spin was a little lost.
Probably due to its fresh and Corgan really made a different Pumpkins album from the previous stuff.Any word on a tour yet?

Posted on Jun 21, 2012 11:13:30 AM PDT
@Flagvoyanter Splattered Yookamoo: I don't know why but I crack the fook up every time I type your screen name! ROTFL

Anyways, as you know from my review I thought a number of songs on the new album harked back to the old sound, but there are changes, too (notably the electronics and synth work, plus the lyrics). I say give it a few more listens if you can--but if the opening track "Quasar" doesn't hit you like a ton of bricks, there's a chance it just won't stick. The tour is supposed to be coming later this year, but I haven't heard anything yet.

Posted on Jun 21, 2012 3:50:15 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 21, 2012 3:50:37 PM PDT
A quick update on my original review: "Pale Horse" is growing on me. What seemed annoying about the chorus at first, I'm slowly starting to "get". I've now heard the whole album three times now, and it only gets better with each listen. Favorite songs so far are "Quasar", "Panopticon", "Oceania", "Glissandra" and "Wildflower".

Posted on Jun 22, 2012 11:56:16 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 22, 2012 2:39:41 PM PDT
alysha25 says:
Hey! I went and bought the digital download MP3 of this album. Just gave it a listen through the whole album and I have to say I really enjoyed it.

I haven't listened to these guys since - well it's been a long time!

The tracks that stood out for me, and I liked the best just on the first listen are "The Celestials", "Violet Rays","My love is Winter", I like the Melancholy sound of these 3. I also really liked "Glissandra".

"Pinwheels" has a "pretty" sound. And yeah, Oceania, at over 9 minutes, is not bad. About "Pale Horse" , I can only say that I kept hearing the word "Thorazine" over and over ! At least that's what it sounded like to me, LOL . He also has a druggy vibe going on , on "Wildflower".

Makes me want to buy some of their other CD's to have a more complete catalogue. But then there are Always more CD's to have! I've got "Siamese Dream" ripped to my computer. I have "Pisces Iscariot" on CD but have not even ripped it to computer/ ipod. I've had the CD for years , and it's not Bad, but it just never grabbed me, and frankly I found it - boring. But perhaps I'll rip it out and give it a new , fresh listen. I also plan to get "Adore", "Mellon Collie" (had once but sold it). I don't think I've ever heard "Gish".

Posted on Jun 22, 2012 12:38:59 PM PDT
I crack up at this name also Mr Topper.I did give it a few more listens its not striking me at all.Its so different sounding the new elements I think are throwing me off.The electronics and synths are throwing me off some but your right Michael Topper the lyrics are a different side of Corgan to me.I will give it 2 more listens tonight and see if it grows on me like a plague.

Posted on Jun 22, 2012 12:45:31 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 22, 2012 12:47:00 PM PDT
After 4 listens, I have to say it's a very good CD, but not exceptional. I would give it 3 1/2 stars..I want to give it 4 but I just can't do it. Although containing many good ones, there is no real standout track and I think one or two would have sealed it for me. But, as is, it's very good, enjoyable and I'd recommend it to old fans but if you're a newbie, it's not the place to start.

Posted on Jun 22, 2012 1:13:31 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 22, 2012 1:20:36 PM PDT
Hey everyone thanks for your input!!! I value everyone's opinions and mine isn't any more important than anyone else's. Some more thoughts:

@alysha25: I don't know if you noticed my last post where I admitted "Pale Horse" was kind of growing on me. If you're wondering where to go next in exploring their back catalog, I say go in order from the beginning: get "Gish" first (it's a really tight debut), then give "Pisces Iscariot" another listen but pay particular attention to "Soothe", "Plume", "Obscured" and "Starla" (the highlights IMO), then "Mellon Collie", then "Adore", then "Machina/The Machines Of God". "Adore" is the most radically different in terms of sound and style from the others but it's also my favorite, so I'm really curious as to what you think of that one. But I still say start with "Gish". People who enjoyed "Siamese" and "Mellon Collie" also really like "Gish", it pretty much defined the initial classic Pumpkins sound.

@Flagvoyanter Splattered Yookamoo: it's alright if you don't like it! At least you're giving it a fair try. You always have the classic stuff to go back to. :)

@5:15 AM: I see your point of view, even if I do think the album has standout tracks ("Quasar", title track, "Glissandra", etc.). Is your rating 3 1/2 stars out of a maximum four star rating, or five stars? Either way that's still not bad. The album has reignited my Pumpkins fandom and as a result I've been putting on older albums like "Siamese" and "Adore" and you're right, they are still better than "Oceania". But I still give the new album a high grade; perhaps my enthusiasm was kicked up because while it still doesn't quite reach the heights of the 90s material, it's still SO much better than anything he's put out in over a decade.

Posted on Jun 22, 2012 1:49:25 PM PDT
"while it still doesn't quite reach the heights of the 90s material, it's still SO much better than anything he's put out in over a decade. "

Exactly! My 3 1/2 rating is out of 5 and, no, that's not bad. It's very good but I feel it falls just short of being excellent...and I mean JUST short. As for standout tracks I suppose I meant something on the level of a "1979" or "Disarm" or some sort of bona fide radio hit. That may be asking for a bit much at this stage of the game but the CD as a whole is well worth a listen.
‹ Previous 1 Next ›
[Add comment]
Add your own message to the discussion
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Prompts for sign-in

Recent discussions in the Music forum


This discussion

Discussion in:  Music forum
Participants:  7
Total posts:  14
Initial post:  Jun 19, 2012
Latest post:  Jun 22, 2012

New! Receive e-mail when new posts are made.

Search Customer Discussions