Sound — 9
Gish was a great album, but it was not one of those great groundbreaking alt-rock albums, nor were the Smashing Pumpkins a groundbreaking alt-rock band...yet. A few years later, they released Siamese Dreams, which was a groundbreaking alt-rock album...but still didn't establish the Smashing Pumpkins as one of the great alt-rock bands of the 90's. It took another album (Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness) to establish the band as one of the greats. However, Siamese Dream did show that the band was on their way and one hundred percent capable of being one of the greats. Siamese Dream starts out with the alt-rock anthem "Cherub Rock", which is by far the best song on the album (and is also my favorite Smashing Pumpkins song...along with being one of my favorite songs). It has an alternative/grunge vibe from the fuzzy guitars while also giving us some psychadellic feel to it a la Pink Floyd. Call it lame if you will, but the first minute of this song actually does sound like you yourself are climbing up a sacred mountain trying to reach the sacred Cherub Rock. I know, that last sentence is basically the result of playing too much Legend Of Zelda, but "Cherub Rock" does truly sound like that. It's just too epic for words to describe. The one thing about an album is that it's normally the first track that sets the tone for the rest of the album. But not in Siamese Dream's case. Sure, every track does have that fuzzy guitar sound, but none of them have the psychadellic sound "Cherub Rock" does. The rest of the album has a sound of its own. For example, "Quiet" is more of a hard rock/alternative metal song while "Disarm" is Billy Corgan's answer to the Beatles' "Eleanor Rigby" with all sorts of string instruments. The sound may seem random and scattered at first, but the diversity is truly the best part of the album.
Lyrics — 7
Let's face it: Billy Corgan's singing skills in Gish weren't that great. It's not that they were terrible, but they weren't exactly ready for primetime yet. However, that's not the case in this album. Billy Corgan's vocals aren't exactly perfect in Siamese Dream, but they have definitely improved since Gish. While his voice is still a tad nasally like it was in Gish, it does have a more majestic tone. As for the lyrics, they are definitely poetic. While I can't exactly say they rank among the lyrics written by Bob Dylan or John Lennon, they definitely do work with the overall tone of the album.
Overall Impression — 9
While Siamese Dream is not the greatest alternative rock album, it definitely ranks among them. It is an ambient spectacle of what the Smashing Pumpkins were capable of in their hey-day. It's majestic, hard, fuzzy, soft, mysterious, happy, sad, and anything else you can think of.