Reply To: Zeitgeist a let down?

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On BleedingTheOrchid wrote:

Read this manilla, maybe it changes your mind a bit? i think it’s a nice interview anyway, with some deeper thoughts of the guys. (part 1)

Zeitgeist–the sixth Smashing Pumpkins album and first since 2000–doesn’t just capture the spirit of our times, as the title might suggest. Even more impressively, Zeitgeist is a heartfelt, ambitious and deeply felt piece of work that vividly recaptures the spirit of this great and influential rock band. The release of Zeitgeist represents a powerful rebirth and reaffirmation of the Smashing Pumpkins by two of its key members, main singer-songwriter and guitarist Billy Corgan and drummer Jimmy Chamberlin.
This second coming of the Pumpkins is also one of those rare examples of actual truth in 21st Century Advertising. Two years ago– on the release date of his first solo album–Corgan made headlines around the alternative rock universe by taking out ads in his hometown papers the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times, an open letter publicly declaring his desire and intention to try “renewing and reviving” the Smashing Pumpkins. “I want my band back,” he wrote, “and my songs, and my dreams.”

More than two years later–much of it spent working closely together first in Scottsdale, Arizona and later in Los Angeles–Corgan and Chamberlin have managed to make good and then some on every line of Corgan’s declaration of non-independence. Right from the thrilling yet apocalyptic opening notes of “Doomsday Clock” to the final resounding chords of “Pomp And Circumstances,” Zeitgeist is quite clearly the sound of a rock group that has been emphatically renewed and revived and is now ready to embrace and further its musical legacy.

This return of the Smashing Pumpkins has been a meaningful if sometimes challenging easy trip from newspaper ad to musical reality. “Actually it’s been a different journey than I had anticipated,” Corgan admits. “You can intellectually figure what it’s going to be like, but until you actually have the experience you don’t know. For me, this has been an overwhelming experience.”

“I had advance knowledge of Billy’s ad, so I wasn’t shocked,” says Chamberlin. “But it was a real turning point in my life. It was an opportunity for Billy and I to re-solidify our relationship that never really went away. We were really always friends and partners through both our individual solo projects. So it really made musical sense and spiritual sense. It was a way to make a statement that we’re not going to make excuses; we’re just going to do what we do. If you like it, you like it. If not, we’re still going to do it. It was a very freeing thing to read.”

For Corgan, the decision to revive the Smashing Pumpkins one way or another was a way of reclaiming his musical birthright. “When I said ‘I want my band back,’ I realized that I’d taken the best, proudest thing that I’d ever done and chucked it out a window and tried to build a new castle to live in. And in doing so, I took away every advantage of the one that I had built. Fundamentally, I asked myself, ‘Why build a new persona when Pumpkins was meant to include all the personas?’ No matter what, I had to explain myself versus the Titanic symbol of what the band represented even if it wasn’t realistic. So I just thought I want my Superman costume outfit back, my Zero outfit or whatever, and just going back to being that person that I’m at peace with.”

As the record shows, the Smashing Pumpkins have created one of the most acclaimed bodies of work in music history. Formed in Chicago in 1988, they released Gish, their influential (and platinum) debut in 1991, which was followed by more platinum and multi-platinum albums including the nine-times platinum Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness and the four-times platinum Siamese Dream. The pivotal group’s many hits include “Disarm,” “Today,” “Cherub Rock,” “1979,” “Tonight, Tonight” and “Bullet With Butterfly Wings”–songs that defined the alternative music era and continue to resonate on modern rock radio, influencing a whole new generation.

Emptiness is loneliness, and loneliness is cleanlinessAnd cleanliness is godliness, and god is empty just like meIntoxicated with the madness, I'm in love with my sadness