Oceania Review

artist: smashing pumpkins date: 06/19/2012 category: compact discs
smashing pumpkins: Oceania
Released: June 19, 2012
Genre: Alternative Rock, Progressive Rock
Label: EMI, Martha's Music
Number Of Tracks: 13
It isn't "Siamese Dream", but you can still recognize the Smashing Pumpkins, who have continued to grow artistically for better or worse.
 Sound: 8.5
 Lyrics: 8.5
 Overall Impression: 8.5
 Overall rating:
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reviews (2) 33 comments vote for this album:
overall: 8.3
Oceania Featured review by: UG Team, on june 19, 2012
4 of 4 people found this review helpful

Sound: In 2000 The Smashing Pumpkins broke up/went on hiatus whatever you want to call it, until around 2006, and since that time they haven't quite been The Smashing Pumpkins. With the release of "Oceania", while there are definitely some elements that don't feel like a Pumpkins album to me, it does come closer to what I want to hear from them. There is a little bit of synthesizer, which honestly I was initially very turned off by, but after more listens I've come to terms with it. It seems from snippets of interviews with Billy Corgan that he has been using more synthesizers in his music in order to create an atmosphere to lay his music over. Really, while it isn't necessarily what an old school Pumpkins fan wants to hear, it does work.

Billy Corgan has been the creative force behind the Pumpkins since their formation in 1988, to the point where you can follow Billy's own emotional landscape through the years from listening to his albums. While there have been some rocky lineup changes, especially since the split in 2000, the same vibe/sound is present even now, which further shows that Billy Corgan is ultimately Smashing Pumpkins. I'm not trying to take away from the contributions of the other members over time, as I absolutely respect what they've done, but from a creative standpoint this has always been Billy's creative vehicle. With "Oceania" there is an element present that hasn't been consistently present before, but it is hard to put your finger on. The choice of progressions, the melodies used, and the lyrical content seem to be very raw emotionally, and in that way the album is most similar to "Siamese Dream". The more I listen to the album the more I'm enjoying it as a whole, though at first listen only about half the songs had any pull on me whatsoever. This is definitely an album that is going to take a few listens to fully appreciate. // 8

Lyrics: Billy Corgan's voice has really remained unchanged for the past 20 years, and continues to be very raw and emotive. The lyrics to "Oceania" are as always some type of autobiographical testimony about something going on with Billy. Here is a sample of lyrics from the song "Pale Horse": "If I was to listen/ I would turn back/ give up all my reasons/ forgive up the past/ did you think I'd swallow that/ bearing the weight of the ceilings/ just to stop and ask/ thorazine (repeated several times)/ they give you this/ they take away that/ thorazine/ they'll be no other/ they'll be no long lost friends/ empty on the insides/ empty of the last pretends/ to stand by the feeling of the end". I'm pretty sure I may have gotten some of those lyrics a little off, but pretty close. For those who don't know, thorazine is a strong anti-psychotic medication that also is used as a strong sedative sometimes. Basically, if you've ever watched a movie with an asylum and they give the patient some type of syrup or shot that causes them to immediately zone out and become zombie-like, that is thorazine. "Pale Horse" is the creepiest song on the album.

As another example of the lyrics, here are some lyrics from "Panopticon" that I actually took from a website, "Oh don't make me wonder/ Life's never clear where choice is a gift/ to use and abuse/ to build on proof/ oh don't make me suffer/ Birds find the wind and wing/ rest in the shells I've designed/ run through the fields I've denied/ and stroll upon the years I'm alive/ there's a sun that shines in/ there's a world that stares out at me/ and all I refuse to please/ Breathe! Love is here/ Oh don't make me suffer/ To dash debonair where chaste is the wish." I wanted to post these lyrics as well to show that the album is not excessively "emo" as the lyrics from "Pale Horse" might insinuate. // 9

Overall Impression: My favorite songs on the album would absolutely have to be "Quasar", "Panopticon", and "The Chimera". I don't really dislike any songs on the album, but the song "Pale Horse" gives me a feeling of bad anxiety and is a downer to me at this point. Every time an artist releases a new album there is a two-sided danger either their fans will complain they didn't grow from album to album or they changed too much. I've been thinking about this a lot lately, and about my own contribution to this type of discussion. This is different than earlier Pumpkins albums. Not absolutely different, but part of gradual change they've been going through since the early 1990's. Yes, there is maybe more synthesizer than I would want to hear on a Pumpkins album, but maybe that is because I've romanticized "Siamese Dream" because of where I was at in my life when it came out so I don't want the sound to change too far from that. Really, when I put my nostalgic emotions behind me, this isn't a bad album and for the current musical environment it is outstanding. // 8

- Brandon East (c) 2012

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overall: 8.7
Oceania Reviewed by: siamesedreamful, on june 21, 2012
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Sound: The impression I get of this particular album is very spacey, and ethereal! The overall genre of this album zones in towards Progressive rock, with splashes of dreamy Psychedelia. In the style of "Gish", "Siamese Dream", and "Pisces Iscariot" but with a more modernized twist; staying true to their Psychedelic layered "shoegazery" dense guitars with crystal, flawless production! A must have! MUSIC STYLE Each song is very unique and still follows the past Pumpkin formula with that modern 21st century twist. Which is truly progressive. As a listener, and a fan of the band; I've noticed this album is probably the "Gish"/"Siamese Dream" of the 21st century, but in no way does it rip off their classic work. But what this album does is incorporate vast genres into this album that pulls the listener into a trance of epic proportion. The music styles used in this record are based upon what I noticed in each song. They may not be that accurate to you, but like I said it's what I noticed. 01. "Quasar" - has a very psychedelic, hard rock and shoegazing inspired sound. Almost like heavy shoegazing music, like Siamese Dream. A kicka-s song! 02. "Panopticon" - has that psychedelic, hard rock sound with that splash of dream pop in the song like from "Gish". A great song! 03. "The Celestials" - to me has kind of an "Adore" vibe, with that gloomy "goth" inspired persona of the band. Also it kinda sounds like symphonic rock. A good song, not my favorite song; but's worth a listen. 04. "Violet Rays" - has a majestic mix of psychedelia, dream pop, synth pop style mixed into this song; with the thick shoegazery style production like most Smashing Pumpkins releases. One of my favorite songs because it has that "spacey early feel to the band. 05. "My Love Is Winter" - has a more modern pop inspired alternative sound to it. Very uplifting! A real listener! 06. "One Diamond, One Heart" - has that Adore electronica, techno rock feel to it, with a tiny splash of psychedelia to it. Not one of my faves but it's cool though. 07. "Pinwheels" - has a synth pop sound to it with the intro with a splash of symphonic rock to it. Probably my least favorite song from this album. But it's not a terrible song. 08. "Oceania" - ahh this song is the holy grail of the whole album! The defining piece! You know how "Starla" was the epic song from "Pisces Iscariot"? And "Echoes" was the defining song from "Meddle"? Well "Oceania" is definitely the king of all songs on this album, it's so epic. To me, I feel as though this song is a mix of Psychedelia, folk, pop, alternative, shoegaze and a slight pinch of acoustic work by Billy Corgan to create a true progressive rock masterpiece! The best song from this album. 09. "Pale Horse" - another great song from "Oceania". This song has a sad gloomy psychedelic and dream pop sound. Another solid track. A very haunting but killer song. 10. "The Chimera" - has a kinda buzzsaw Queen tone guitar to me, a straight up basic hard rock song. Give it a listen it's great. 11. "Glissandra" - has a trancey, and dreamy shoegaze layered guitars that sounds heavy yet hypnotic, like that song "I Only Said" by My Bloody Valentine. Definitely a shoegaze style song with psychedelic melodies. One of my favorite rock songs from the album! 12. "Inkless" - another rocker with a modern rock twist to that classic Pumpkin formula(spacey rock). 13. "Wildflower" - a kinda mellow type rock song. It's pretty eerie but great! For anybody a fan of this band or a fan of Psychedelic, shoegaze, dream pop, progressive rock, synth pop and Alternative rock style music please buy this record! Hell it's even worth stealing the record haha, just run like hell when the alarm goes off. // 9

Lyrics: Overall impression of the lyrics. As a listener I try to feel the music the ambience and heaviness of the record. But the lyrics are sung artfully by Billy Corgan and the other members as backups for the band. But the lyrics still have that Pumpkins feel to them. Aggressive, sad, gloomy, happy, uplifting. Billy Corgan despite getting of age, he's still the man and has a great voice that has that "Gish" but modern feel to it. // 8

Overall Impression: This is probably the best rock album of 2012! A record everyone should hear before they die. My favorite songs from this album are in no particular order. 1. Oceania 2. Quasar 3. Panopticon 4. Violet Rays 5. Glissandra 6. Pale Horse 7. The Celestials are my top 7 favorite songs from this cool record. What I love most about this record is that it has that spacey rock and shoegazey sound from "Siamese Dream", the Psychedelia from "Gish" and the synthesizer inspired sound from "Adore" but it doesn't sound nostalgic at all! It sounds completely new! What I don't like about the album is just the song "Pinwheels". Sorry for all the fans of that song. But other than that I gave this album a good rating so screw off! If this album were lost/stolen I'd be pissed as hell because it's such a cool record, so I'll probably buy 2 copies of the record. // 9

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