This post is in the theme “Constructing an identity through media”. Read the first.
August 26, New York: I put my headphones on and went for a walk with this album. It starts so soft with the orchestral arrangement and then the string-dominated “Tonight, Tonight”. I all but forgot I was listening to a rock album until “Jellbelly” kicked off. When this album wants to rock, it rocks. “Bullet with Butterfly Wings” caught me by surprise when all of a sudden, in my headphones, Billy Corgan stated declaratively: “The world is a vampire.” Rock ensued.
This album is pretty fucking great. I wasn’t sure how time would treat it, but it’s a good one. Wide variation and great songs. There does not seem to be much distance between hits and filler, it’s just one solid album. I remember when this album was released, the pride I felt as a fan of a band that took a big risk. That booked an orchestra to weave into their crazy-long double album. And it worked. So many hit singles from such a great total album. For a song like “Tonight, Tonight” to be in regular rotation on MTV, that’s something.
I saw Smashing Pumpkins on the tour for this record. They were fantastic. They played a giant stadium venue and they must have played for nearly two hours. The set dragged at the end, they lost themselves in a fifteen minute rock jam and people began to file out. I was there with a girlfriend and the poor friend of mine who had driven us (who found himself the very definition of a third wheel) and while the friend was desperate to leave, my girlfriend and I were determined to see the end. Wrapping up their jam and my friend checked his watch, Billy Corgan looked up to the half-empty stadium and gave us a little speech about being the real fans, and fuck ‘the MTV fans’, and then he played “Bullet with Butterfly Wings”. It’s great to see a band you love in triumph.