Siamese Dream review by The Smashing Pumpkins

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  • Released: Jul 26, 1993
  • Sound: 7
  • Lyrics: 8
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 7.7 Good
  • Users' score: 9.6 (80 votes)
The Smashing Pumpkins: Siamese Dream
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Sound — 7
Late 90s and early 00s there were a lot Nirvana-, Alice In Chains- and Pearl Jam-sounding bands (Bush, Staind, Godsmack, Puddle Of Mudd, Nickelback and so on and so on); Soundgarden transformed into Audioslave and then faded. However, none of the major label "hardy-riding" rock bands of that time ever been compared to the Smashing Pumpkins. Were they that original? - "Siamese Dream" might be an answer. Recorded in early 1993 over a period of three months in Atlanta, with Butch Vig again at the helm (as it was for 1991's debut LP "Gish"), production costs over 200, 000$, tensions within band at the time (frontman's Billy Corgan suffering from depression and writer's block, Jimmy Chamberlin's drug addiction, James' and D'Arcy's nasty breakup) - all that resulted in 13 tracks on the cut and, probably, the best Pumpkins' work. Passive/aggressive approach keen to "Gish" is all here, the album rides high ("Quiet", "Geek USA", "Silverf--k") and low ("Disarm", "Soma", "Luna"), while "Today", "Hummer" and "Mayonaise" definitely stand out. The best word to describe the record's mood is "dreamy" - resembling a hot-summer-day-laying-in-the-sun-with-that-fresh-breeze-through-the-open-window-blowing-slowly-in-your-face feel. Multi-track guitar layering was again used for "Siamese Dream" by Billy and Butch, helping to keep that dreamy feel going.

Lyrics — 8
Lyrical content has greatly improved since their debut LP, with Corgan's lyrics becoming more introspective and thoughtful, as opposed to the surreal "Siva" and "Window Paine" from "Gish". "Disarm" is about "shaky relationship I had with my parents while growing up" (B. Corgan), "Today" (despite having such an upbeat positive melody) is about suicidal thoughts actually, "Cherub Rock" touches the themes of an indie band becoming a major label success and being "somebody's fool this year". "Spaceboy" is a tribute to Billy's seriously ill brother, Jesse.

Overall Impression — 8
Rolling Stone wrote, that "Siamese Dream" was "closer to progressive rock than to punk or grunge". Really, it's a weird mix of My Bloody Valentine, Black Sabbath and psychedelic pop melodies, that somehow works. "Today", "Disarm", "Hummer", "Mayonaise" and "Geek USA" are the best cuts, with music video for "Today" being one of the most unconventional, yet still spectacular rock videos of the '90s. While discussing the Smashing Pumpkins, Billy was quoted on saying, that "we're a difficult band to love. Or we're worth it?" They're sure worth it. And yeah, if my copy of Siamese Dream was stolen/lost, I'd get another one from the store. Definitely maybe.

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