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Adore was a brave shift in a new direction for Smashing Pumkins, one that was met with a lot of criticism from some fans who were sad to see the heavier songs disappear for this album.
I must admit, this took me by surprise a bit at the time and am glad that this isn't a theme that The Smashing Pumpkins decided to stick with for their subsequent albums. But having said that, this album serves its own purpose and for the most part, is beautiful.
The typical tear-jerker type songs that The Smashing Pumpkins have been famous for are much more at the forefront on this album. There is also much more of an emphasize on keyboards and other forms of synthesised music and I think that they have really created something truly unique with this album.
Don't go expecting to bop your head along to this album like you might do Simaese Dream, but do expect to be taken on a fantastical musical journey, exploring many different themes, whatever your view is on this album, it is pretty undeniable that the workmanship that has gone into the music here is second to none.
Released a couple of years after the massive Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness Ava Adore represented a shift in direction for The Smashing Pumpkins. Gone were the previous grungy guitars and in came a split of electronica and piano driven songs. The band also underwent an image change at this point moving from slightly hippy to a gothed up, all in black look. And this is the point at which Billy Corgan also unveiled his shaved head!
Jimmy Chamberlain, the drummer, had been sat in the naughty corner during the recording and touring of this record due to various drug misdemeanours. This combined with the more electronic sound meant that the majority of the record uses drum machines in addition to synths and more pianos than previously. This departure from their roots was possibly the reason for the comparative lack of success when compared to their previous two albums although the album is not as electonic as sometimes it's made out to be. We're not talking about Radiohead's 'Kid A'!
However, I'm a big fan of this record. I own just about everything the band has done although I wouldn't necessarily call myself a massive fan. This album stands up to any of the others and this is probably largely due to the different sound. The record was written around the death of singer and songwriter Billy Corgan's mother as well as the break up of various relationships and these events obviously contribute to the lyrics. Many of the songs have a common theme of disappearing or of not wanting to be let go.
The most famous song on the album is Ava Adore and this is also my favourite. A fantastic melody with some disturbing lyrics with acoustic and electric guitars over an incessant drum beat and an extremely heavy bass make it one of my favourite ever songs.
Overall, this is one of the most underrated albums around and deserves to be held in much higher regard.
*This review is my own work although I may post it elsewhere on the internet.
My favourite Smashing Pumpkins album to date, Adore was an unexpected detour from the much beaten path of alternative rock into the sombre, melancholy and timeless arena of...well, trying to slot Adore into a genre or selection of genres is a difficulty which speaks to the uniqueness and mould-breaking nature of the album.
Light-weight techno drum machines, guitars which bare little aural resemblance to the sound we expect from the instrument, lyrics which tread the line between downright depressing and forward-marching optimism and musicianship which plants Billy Corgan firmly into the top ten list of the finest song writers of our generation all serve as milestones of innovation and growth for which Adore is the amalgam.
The opening track, "To Sheila", features a solo finger-picked acoustic guitar with minimal interference from overdubbed effects and other studio tinkering which would be a temptation for most artists working within these media (if you have a set of tools on offer, chances are you'll wanna use 'em). The vocals are central and bass-heavy, and the almost surreal lyrical content leads the excavation into what makes obsession such a tantalising and irresistible folly; "you make me real" - a single line which provides instant gratification for the inquisitive mind of the incurable romantic.
The first single to be released from the album is the second track, "Ava Adore". A thumping bass line, shattering drums and piercingly sharp guitar tones compliment a classic alternative rock song structure, the closest we get to such convention for the duration of the album. The song is catchy and the lyrics raise an eyebrow or two ("It's you that I adore, you will always be my whore"); the first track often cited when you mention the album to a fan. Sometimes chart positions are accurate representations of a song's worth, and the success of Ava Adore is one such exception.
The third track is also the second single, "Perfect". The song is an upbeat and somewhat cheerful affair, and the lyrics - although discussing lost, irredeemable love - examine the aftermath of a failed relationship from which a solid, everlasting friendship arises from the ashes, with the omnipresent glimmer of hope that something more may come to pass in the future. Probably the most radio-friendly song of the album, it should be your first port of call if you are unfamiliar with the band or the album, especially so if you are more inclined towards accessible pop tunes.
Track four, "Daphne Descends", takes us back into the less accessible bowels of the album. Carried along by a strong, pulsing drum track and guitars which would make any hard rocker take notice this song is a mainstay of live gigs and understandably so. It combines a droning, shoe-gazer Ebow and lyrical front with heavy rock foundations and the more I listen to it the more I find to like about it.
The fifth track, "Once Upon a Time", is a nostalgic, hindsight-heavy pondering of the paths we take in life and where they lead us, and the inevitable weathering effect the journey has on us. The musical content contains jingle bells, acoustic guitars and brushed drums with simple chords and an overall simple structure. The lyrics, as mentioned, both lament and attempt to understand the past, a fairly easy target for any songwriter.
"Tear", the sixth track, is the most far out experiment on the album. Again, the guitars sound little like guitars, the drums resemble tribal trance percussion and the lyrics are as surreal as anything Salvador Dali has ever melted onto his canvases. While the song had a permanent slot in the live gigs in support of the album, subsequent tours featured the track less and less. This song is one of the primary reasons for me advising the listener to allow the album enough time and patience for it to sink in and reveal itself; it has something to offer to everyone but the casual fan.
"Crestfallen" is one of my favourite songs from the album, at least in terms of its lyrics. Lost love, the process of losing said love and the lengths we all go to to save it, if not in reality then in our own heads. The music consists of a synth piano, drum machine, synth strings and synth bass. There are saturating overdubbed sounds which are hard to identify as having come from any particular instrument, which is pretty much the modus operandi of the album in general. The song is structured in the typical pop/rock format, with verses, choruses and everything in between. The song is very moving and while some of the lyrics are leaning a little too heavily on the literal, and while they touch upon subjects which are too universal to be considered groundbreaking, I can't help but feel drawn to it and affected by it.
Now we've reached the most severe example of a departure from alternative rock the band is responsible for (to me, at least); track eight, "Appels + Oranjes" [sic]. Almost entirely techno, with a tempo to match, and with heavily processed, buzzy vocals, I found myself taken aback by it the first time I heard it. The lyrics consist almost entirely of rhetorical questions ("what if the sun refused to shine? What if the seas refused to wave?") and are sang with little variation in terms of their melody. It's a curious track, and one which inevitably grows on you. I personally dislike techno, but Billy Corgan has reinvented it in such a way which allows me access without too much of an internal dispute over my musical tastes. The mark of a true artist.
Track nine, "Pug", contains several significant shifts in tone, both lyrically and musically. The verses are aggressive, and the choruses are almost fluffy. The song is saturated with the synths and other electronic elements we're by now used to, coupled with electric guitars and an acoustic drum set. The changes offer two distinct and separately enjoyable elements - good old head-banging rock and catchy melodic passages. A definite favourite from the album.
"The Tale of Dusty and Pistol Pete", which occupies track 10 of the record, was described by Billy Corgan during an episode of VH1 Storytellers as being the tale of a jealous lover murdering his ex-girlfriend, and subsequently being haunted by her ghost. Interesting, I'm sure you'll agree! The song is played on acoustic 12-string guitars with a drum machine pulsing alongside, and is the most tight and compact song on the album, with a solid oldschool pop song structure and lyrics which beg attention.
The piano used on "Annie-Dog" is barely manipulated, with basic two- or three-note chords making up the bulk of its involvement in the song, accompanied by tired, jaded vocals on top with - once again - some of the strangest, most surreal lyrics the band has produced. The song picks up somewhat when the drums kick in for the second verse, and the overall feel of the affair evolves a catchiness which keeps you listening. Played live on occasion, the song is a fairly unique and underrated number, and its place in the eleventh position on the album seems well-advised; opening with it is out of the question, and the mid-album hump would not have been helped by it either.
As is the case with Annie-Dog, the twelfth track puts me in mind of a jaded lounge singer. "Shame", the title and the primary focus of the lyrical content, being apt. This song contains a minimum of instrumentation and the lyrics are few but are repeated numerous times throughout. The song meanders casually towards a very intriguing climax, one which offers the warmth and sense of release absent from the earlier sections of the song. It's still played live fairly regularly, and is one of my favourites from the album for a couple of reasons. The first being its sombre, guilt-tainted lyrics. The second being the simple guitar and bass work and the eventual, if understated, pay-off at the end.
"Behold! The Night Mare", track thirteen, is probably the one song I would take with me to a desert island over all of the others from the album. The line "I can't go on digging roses from your grave, to linger on beyond the beyond" holds particular personal significance for me, but the song's general lyrical content bears plenty of fruit for pretty much anyone who comes to listen to it. The quoted line - according to my own interpretation - tells of the lingering and almost mandatory post-relationship friendship which rarely if ever works, and which only serves to double the emotional burden of the dumpee. It's a song which features on pretty much every compilation I've made for myself on my MP3 player, and the song I recommend most frequently when I introduce someone to the album (that is, if they are more than a casual "put it on in the background" listener). The music is difficult to describe, but features some combination of all of the instrumentation used on the rest of the record. A strange interlude played on finger-picked, nylon-strung guitars seems almost out of place but for some reason seems to work on a level I can't quite put my finger on. When played live the interlude is included, and sounds even more like it doesn't belong in the song, but it only lasts a fraction of the runtime so even if it seems crowbarred in it's not overly distracting.
"For Martha" was written for Billy Corgan's deceased mother, and is understandably downbeat and incredibly depressing - and I love it. For the fourteenth track of the album it makes for some heavy listening when you might expect the album to be winding down and reining itself in for the closing moments. Piano-heavy verses and choruses and acoustic drum work form a trough through which mellow vocals, droning bass and barely audible guitars flow. The climax of the song involves at first a piercingly loud and aggressive electric guitar passage (treated with liberal amounts of distortion) followed by a tailing off of backwards-processed guitars which pave the way to an eventual fade-out. An expansive song with solid, searching lyrics "For Martha" is an instant Pumpkins classic and a guaranteed hit with anyone who's gone through bereavement and survived to tell the tale.
If "For Martha" failed to send you into a downward spiral of despair the next track on the album will surely finish the job; "Blank Page", the fifteenth and final song on the album (excluding the 17-second filler to be discussed next) and arguably the most melancholy song the band has churned out. Besides some overdubbed effects and guitars which fly under the radar of one's consciousness the entire song is played on a fat, warm piano and sang with slow, gentle, high-end vocals. The lyrics seem to explore jealousy and regret, apparently [and typically] relating to a failed love affair, and at one point in the song begrudgingly wishing well the future love life of the person in question; "take a day, plant some trees, may they shade you from me, may your children play beneath". Relating to the despair threaded through the song isn't difficult for most of us who've been around the block once or twice, and ending the album with it is perhaps an apt illustration of the lack of happy endings life tends to offer us.
There is a final track on the album, named after its runtime, "17". The track is actually a nod and wink to a song which has yet to see an official release by the name of "Blissed and Gone" (fantastic song, download it if you can). Apparently a song which was cut from the final album "Blissed and Gone" discusses much of the same themes as Adore in general, but is too far removed from the album musically to have had any place amongst its track list. "17" basically consists of a solo piano playing a segment of the vocal melody of Blissed and Gone, a segment which doesn't even get a chance to complete its phrasing before the time runs out.
The production of the album was assigned to Flood, renowned producer of Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, and also involved the heavy participation of Corgan himself. The pair were well-suited to be manning the mixing desk; listening to the album alone is proof enough. With Flood's vast and varied experience and Corgan's somewhat naive freshness to the process (allowing unfettered creative brainstorming, unburdened by convention) Adore is an example of how proper, uninhibited collaboration can unearth a vision individual parties could not have achieved otherwise.
The album's artwork was created by, and features as its main star, Yelena Yemchuk who was Billy Corgan's girlfriend at the time. The black and grey theme is complimentary to the content of the album, as is the snaking figure of Yemchuk, apparently ready to pounce on and devour (figuratively, of course) the listener; lyrically the album explores the power an object of love and obsession can wield, and the abject fear such a prospect instils in the obsessed. The booklet contains full-page photos of each member of the band (notable for the absence of Jimmy Chamberlin, fired from the band two years previous and replaced part-time by the more than adept Matt Walker for studio and live sessions) and provides lyrics for all of the album's tracks. Also included are photos of various locations and objects, fattening up the artistic bones of what typical album artwork usually amounts to. Every aspect of the album is marked by its maturity (in relation to the band's growth up to the point the album was released), musicianship, grace and relevance.
Adore was panned by critics, and met with mediocre sales. Many fans of the band lamented the massive shift in style from its previous outings and while I can understand the shock a Siamese Dream fan would receive when he/she comes to listen to Adore for the first time I also feel that it's unwise to expect any kind of consistency from the Smashing Pumpkins, for the simple reason that no two of its albums have ever sounded alike. The band is ever-evolving, and Adore - for me - marks their most mature, most introspective and most accomplished work to date. If you want straight-up alternative rock, Adore probably won't satisfy your needs save for one or two tracks (Ava Adore springs to mind). However, if you respect the craft of music, the right a band has to mature and evolve and have a desire to experienced that evolution for yourself, Adore is the album for you.
A criminally underrated album. Adore is a lot more mute and melancholy than its predecessor and has perhaps been judged as 'weak' because of it's perceived sparsity, which I believe is its strong point.
Beginning with the sleepy 'To Shiela' with its soothing, layered vocals and unobtrusive guitars and piano, it creates the perfect lead on to 'Ava Adore', the lead single. This song manages to be as restrained as it is intense. Using electronic instrumentation to it's best (for which the band was criticized) the song carries a macabr, offbeat style. The third track (and second single) 'Perfect', if anything is '1979 part.2' with its pulsating guitar and wistful vocals it is the albums most upbeat and optimistic track.
'Tear' is a dark, spiraling, despairing song with very good execution. 'Annie Dog', a piano and vox track is one of the most beautiful tracks ton the album. The simple composition with Corgans cracking vocals and desperate lyrics creates a stunning song.
'For Martha', about Corgans mother is another quiet track that is intense with emotion. The piano melody is stirring and then leads into a sweeping crescendo with the helping of some haunting electronica.
Adore is the perfect album for anyone with a soul and knows how to use it.
Written during and after the death of his mother "Adore" reveals a songwriting and emotional ability from Billy Corgan that was always stirring behind the surface of the epic guitar ladened albums of the early and mid 1990s Smashing Pumpkins, but was rarely given a platform to present itself. Piano and acoustics did feature largely during parts of "Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness" (1995 - see seperate opinion), but it was not until Adore that they became primary instruments rather than backing for Corgan's powerful electric guitar work. THE IMPORTANT BACKGROUND TO ADORE: Adore is without doubt the most emotionally stirring of all the Pumpkins albums, which in itself is a tough chore when up against the mammoth angst rock of Mellon Collie and the sonic disaffection of Siamese Dream. Why such a change of direction for the pumpkins? There are two main reasons: 1. Billy Corgans mother died - provoking an eerie majestic beauty in his songwriting...most of Adore contains references to his then-departed heroine and stronghold. The songs "For Martha", "Blank Page", "Once Upon A Time" and "Crestfallen" are all obvious and unashamed in their tributes. 2. Jimmy Chamberlain, the drummer of every other Smashing Pumpkins album, was "fired" from the band after causing (albeit inadvertantly) the death of their touring-keyboard player in a post-Mellon Collie rock and roll drugs binge. This left the Pumpkins without the big beats to support Corgan's big riffs...and a drum machine was drafted in for Adore, giving rise to much of the electronic feel that is always in the background of the album. THE SONGS Most of Adore sees Billy Corgan throwing down his Stratocaster and his overdrive effects box for the acoustic guitar or the grand piano. It was always the case that the Pumpkins leadman dominated the albums, but in Adore it is even more appare
nt, and neither D'Arcy nor James Iha have an obvious contribution...although they were both still present on the album. 1 - To Sheila...perhaps the most beautiful song on the album. Billy and an acoustic guitar fingerpicking his way through heartfelt lyrics that compete easily against any of the more commercial "genius" songwriters of this era. 2 - Ava Adore...the most successful Pumpkins single of the post-Mellon Collie era. Ava Adore is the only song on the album that harks back to the stadium rock songs that made them dominate mid-90s America. Containing the distant electronic fuzz that carried over into the next album, Machina: the machines of God, Ava Adore is one for the single release. 3 - Perfect...another Adore single, the supposed sequel to "1979" of Mellon Collie. Another song with the drum machine and swirling electronic effects supporting Corgan instead of the guitar. Apparently about his failed relationships, Perfect is another sentimental song for the background music of some hollywood romance. 4 - Daaphne Descends...about as distant from the early Pumpkins as you could get at the time, this song again feels the strong prescence of the drum machine. The chorus leaves a little to be desired, but this song is a grower...give it a few listens before you discard it as one of their weak moments. 5 - Once Upon A Time..."mother I hope you know, that i miss you so". This song is, lyrically, an obvious testimony to Corgan's mother (a recurring theme) and shows his strength as a songwriter to turn something so hard and unbearable into something so special and dedicational. Corgan's nasal voice is apparent on this song more so than on any other part of the album...but it works. 6 - Tear...another one for his mum (aw, bless). At times haunting, at times nervous, at times difficult, at times scary...this song is presided over by loud strings, heavy bass, Corgan
's whine, and loud symbols. The recipe for most of Adore is stirred to its most potent in this song. 7 - Crestfallen...Billy on his grand piano. A song that highlights his individuality on this album. Another moment for his mother..."and you may go, but i know you won't leave, too many years built into memories". 8 - Appels + Oranjes...a close relation to the song "Raindrops + Sunshowers" on Machina I, this is the first of the big electronically driven Pumpkins sounds that dominated their later career. 9 - Pug...a radio hit, Pug mixes pre-and-post Adore elements of driving guitars and synthetic backgrounds into one of the more commercially accessible songs. Contains the most rocking part of the album (Corgan hissing "before I kiss kiss" over a bass-riddled guitar overdrive) that is not on the Ava Adore single. 10 - The Tale of Dusty And Pistol Pete...one of Corgan's ludicrously grandiose song titles, this actual emerges as one of the highlights of the album. Easily a could-have-been single, it again features Corgan on an acoustic with the drums tapping gently in the background. The sort of song that would be commercially popular were it not done by the Pumpkins (who are expected to do the rock of Siamese Dream rather than the ballads of Adore). 11 - Annie Dog...a strange one, Corgan on his piano, stupid lyrics, more suited to a jazz or lounge club than a pumpkins album. Still, not a bad song...just not what one would expect. Put this on in the background with a lava lamp and a drink, and it seems to fit. Put it on your stereo and it seems strangely out of place. 12 - Shame...the guitar effects of Machina I were first heard on Adore...particularly on Shame. Another of Corgan's perculiar songs about relationships. It is geniunely hard to describe this so I will most on swiftly, shame. 13 - Behold! The Nightmare...the first of three epics towards the
end of Adore, Behold The Nightmare is a highlight on the album. Not the typical epic of post-Afore, but rather the quiet, murmur epic of later Pumpkins. Piano, a beautiful acoustic guitar middle 8, synthesised background, this is a song that could only go on Adore. 14 - For Martha...emotionally one of the most crippling songs of all time (seriously!). Written for his mother, this is the most obvious of this theme, the song begins with Billy at his piano and gently drives to the guitar solo of the fifth minute. A song to play on the repeat button...eight minutes of Pumpkins epic music, yet suprisingly not dragged out like many of their other "epics". Beautiful, haunting, compassionate, emotional, sad, happy, graceful, no human being could listen to this song without feeling something. 15 - Blank Page...the last real song on the album and perhaps the best way to end the collection. Corgan and his piano again (he is good at it!), sounding like something out a silent movie (I am aware of the irony and hypocrisy of that comment). His piano playing sounds like anything classical, somewhere between the Moonlight Sonata and those haunting parts of nameless operas, and his voice is perfect (discarding those who claim he cannot sing). Wonderful. 16 - 17...a 17 second instrumental. Tagged on to allow for Corgan's "17 seconds is all you really need" message at the end of the inlay. SUMMARY The sign of a good songwriter is being able to stretch to extremes...and Corgans tranformation from the rock-riff-guitar monster of mid-90s college rock to the quiet and affectionate spamhead of the Adore songs is an incredible feat. Commercially unsuccessful, the die-hard Pumpkins fans do not care. Sure his guitar is unplugged, and there are none of his directionless solos of earlier albums, but he has found new avenues...the happy piano of Mellon Collie is replaced by the haunting piano of Blank Page o
r For Martha...the overdrive guitars of Zero and Bullet With Butterfly Wings are replaced by acoutics. It may not please the commercial casual fan of Mellon Collie...but Adore will please any fan of "real" music. Radiohead have stolen the light for creativity, but a few years before Adore slipped into the shelves relatively unnoticed...check this out as one of the lasting impressions of their glorious career that has now faded into oblivion with their last album. If it makes you cry, don't be ashamed, be moved. If it makes you feel nothing at all then there is something wrong with your emotions. A wonderful album.
This is the most avoided Smashing Pumpkins album so far. Why? Well, lets take a look at the reasons... Every album up until Adore was written on guitars and manually played instruments, Adore is drenched with synths and techno drumming. This was looked at as a slap in the face for their fans. But, Smashing Pumpkins fans have been taught, since the beginning, that the band will not be categorized with one genre of music, but will explore the un-explored and make the world sit up and say:"I have never heard this type of music before, but I love it!" The band proclaimed that "rock is dead". This was an unexpected proclaimation (even for me) but bolstered the effect Adore had on the public. It was a sad, lonley place that was the home for tears and heart-ach. With beautiful songs like "Blank Page", "For Martha" and the heaviest installment, "Ava Adore" this was the emotional dumping ground for the band, and it reflects the worlds sadness, whether it admits it or not. Well, for those fans who degraded this master peice, they can now be emerssed in shame as the Smashing Pumpkins picked up award after award for their efforts. This is not for the clinically depressed, although they will appreciate it more, it may push them over the edge. Now, lets talk about the tunes on this heavily under-rated album. The opening song, "To Sheila", has an acoustic guitar backed with bass and electric guitar (which is not so apparant). It is a tale of lost love and being hurt in such a way that you don't think you would ever take the risk of loving again, but then:"Sheila rides, on crashing nightengale" This lyric suggests that help is ont the way from the lover that hurt you. Anger steps in on the next song, with "Ava Adore". The opening line suggests so:"It's you that I adore, you will always be my whore". It is the heaviest song on the albu
m. With songs like "For Martha" (which was inspired by the death of Billy Corgan's mother) and "Blank Page" which are entirley performed on pianos, suggests that Billy Corgan has found a new, and more effective way, of venting his pain. The outro to For Martha sounds like a soul raising to heaven, and with that in mind, the final song, which lasts only 17 seconds and is called, surprisingly enough, "17", tells of how just 17 seconds of time can be enough to show how much emotion you have towards another person. Every song is unique and a classic in their own right. "Annie Dog" is a very down beat look at drug addiction and the way in which love is used as exploiting someone. The lazy voice that Billy adapts for this song illusrates his feelings and vision to a great extent. It sounds like the addicted person in the song, with little care for the world or what is going on around her. She has lost all hope. Track listing: 1.To Sheila 2.Ava Adore 3.Perfect 4.Daphne Descends 5.Once Upon a Time 6.Tear 7.Crestfallen 8.Appels + Oranjes 9.Pug 10.The Tale of Dusty and Pistol Pete 11.Annie Dog 12.Shame 13.Behold! The Nightmare 14.For Martha 15.Blank Page 16.17
The first thing you notice about this album from The Smashing Pumpkins is the vocal part of the tracks... The lead singer (Billy Corgan) has a very different style to both performing the vocal and also the way his voice sounds. The tracks generally throughout are very good, although you won't actually get to a point where you know lots of the songs back to front. My favourite track is 14 which is called 17, and very well put together, with a great musical backing. The album is a differenet for the Smashing Pumpkins and is much less angst and a little more mellow and musically constructed, making it more appealing to the masses rather than a smaller following. If you like the band then you should find this entertaining but not the best cd from the group in your collection.
It took a lot of nerve for Billy Corgan to book a solo gig at L. A.'s Viper Room earlier this year, and then to show up and perform a set of nearly all brand-new songs, with only his acoustic guitar for acompaniment. A wall of guitars such as the one that has characterized the Pumpkins' sound in the past can hide a lot. But when you strip everything away to just the singer and the song, that's when you know if you've really got something. Those who witnessed the Viper Room show, or who have listened to the bootleg recording of that show circulating on the Internet, already know that Corgan's new songs deliver the goods. And now we have those songs, fleshed out by soaring arrangements and -- new for the Pumpkins -- DJ culture/techno-inspired sound. Adore, which nearly maxes out the capacity of a CD at over 72 minutes in length, is a radical, wildly adventurous work. Corgan has set timeless melodies to music that, for the most part, sounds like the work of soulful aliens. With the exception of the acoustic guitar that opens the first track, "To Sheila," and the piano that dominates a few tracks, there is hardly a conventional sound on the album. Instead, drum machines, samples, treated drums, treated samples, synths and all manners of odd noise have been used to create an intensely intimate, powerfully revealing work. Guitars, a mainstay of the group's old sound, are practically nonexistent. But just as impressive as the fresh, technofied sound are the sentiments Corgan expresses in the lyrics. This time out, he's dealing in heavy themes such as love and loss, faith and grace. This is not kid stuff, and Corgan knows it. "I'm not talking to teenagers anymore," he told me when we spoke recently. "I'm talking to everybody now. The whole world." Adore is modern rock as art -- art that will play well on the radio, in concert, o
r through headphones. "To Sheila," the album's opener, is set to gentle, mostly acoustic music -- there's even a banjo that comes in mid-song. "Twilight fades/ Through blistered avalon/ The sky's cruel touch/ On aching autobahn/ Into the uncertain divine/ We scream into the last divide." Here Corgan sings about giving up faith in an"uncertain divine." Is he singing about God when he hits the chorus of "You make me real/ You make me real/ Strong as I feel/ You make me real"? Throughout the album Corgan and his two sidekicks, bassist D'Arcy Wretzky and guitarist James Iha, make innovative use of techno rhythms (the debut single, "Ava Adore," is a perfect example, with its relentless, mechanical bottom end). Traditional solos have, for the most part, been tossed out the window. Strange sonic shards take their place. A chunk of feedback here, an arc of white noise there. Yet against this sometimes cold and alien backdrop, Corgan has set classic pop melodies and humanistic lyrics. "Love is good and love is kind/ Love is good and love is blind/ Love is good and love is mine/ Love is good all the time," Corgan sings in "Shame." Though much of the album is, as Corgan described it, "arcane night music," quiet and introspective and perfect for late night listening, there are some awesome rockers here. "Ava Adore" is perfect rocktronica, a fast, loud rocker that nonetheless utilizes electronic rhythms and textures. With the feel of an exotic Led Zeppelin number like "Kashmir," Tear is a dramatic rock ballad with heavy orchestration and an intensely dramatic reading from Corgan. "Daphne Descends" is an ominous mid-tempo rocker with a hint of guitars in the mix and a machine-line rhythm track. It contains this awesome couplet from Corgan: "It's the perfect hassle/ For the perfect kiss."
; And you really just have to hear him deliver the line,"This boy is here and gone." Taken one at a time, each of the songs stands on its own. But Adore is a real album, a cohesive work, a song-cycle that explores big themes. Like the Pumpkins' past glories -- Siamese Dream and Mellon Collie and the Infinate Sadness -- Adore is an epic work, and an album for the ages. Enjoy.
Right, pretend you're in a rock band. You've had to sack your drummer for drug related reasons, and find yourself in deep doo doo without him. What next? Uncover that old casio keyboard you bought back in '83 for some drum beats? Hmm, not quite. After the massive "Mellon Collie.." Billy Corgan knew that he had to do something different. After all, the amount of musical ground his band had covered over the last 8 years left few stones unturned. So, off Billy goes, clutching his acoustic guitar, wondering what to do next. Adore, of course, is the result. Now, don't go assuming that just because the drummer's gone, the album won't rock. It does, but in a different way. The first single "Ava Adore" stutters into life, giving way to the usual angst that we've come to expect. But hold on! For there are quite moments aswell. Moments where only a piano and Corgans voice produce more power than a jumbo jet strapped onto the back of a asteroid. And it's these areas of the album where the Pumpkins really shine. Unfortunalty, the fantastic lyrical content appears to be due to the death of Corgans mother, in the time after "Mellon Collie.." was released. For that reason, the majority of the album takes on darker tones. But for all the darkness, Corgan manages to inject a little sunshine into your soul. A glourious album, that didn't sell particularly well....which is a great shame.
‘Rock is dead’ proclaimed Billy Corgan. Bad time to say this (in 1998), when rock experienced one of its biggest resurrections ever. This album is, as you may have guessed not rock, and therefore not ‘old’ Pumpkins. It is still great though. The soft and electronic sound of the album brings Corgan’s incredible song writing to the front for all to be admired. This is one of the most beautiful albums ever, and you have to admire Corgan’s vision and appetite to lead the way and find new sounds.
Either you like the pumpkins or you dont. I can understand if you dont, there are things like billys voice that are I guess hateable. I, however, LOVE them. I love this album the most and was surprised to find that it didnt do very well and many people who like the band dislike this album. Its not as rocky as their other stuff although it does get noisy from time to time. The first song is just billy and some fragile mandolin type instrument and a bit of a muffled drum, and it sends a shiver down my spine everytime I hear it. There are many other moments like this which are simply beautiful. I think the synthesizers work really well with the guitar and often piano creating a sound thats unlike any other band, perfect for the emotional reveries that constitute billy's lyrics. Highlights include 'Tear'; crashing electro-classical epic, 'Blank Page'; indescribably beautiful, and 'The Nightmare Rides On', a soaring, more rocky one. This is the pumpkins' most unpumpkins album, melloncollie was diverse but this is diverse AND consistent. You can really get more out of it by listening to it straight through and it all really works together, theres a real unity of sound and atmosphere despite juxtaposing fragile quiet ones with almost industrial technorock. Its very new sounding precisely because it uses old sounding keyboards combined with acoustic guitar and piano. Its one for a rainy sunday afternoon, youll never have so much fun wallowing in your own sadness.
A break from the norm here for billy and co. this was written after the death of billy's mother and without jimmy due to his dismissal due to a heroin problem. These things and more led to the making of what has to be considered one of the very few times any artist ,in any area, has opened up and let everyone see into their heart and soul. Billy diserves an award just for having the balls to write an album like this. Every song has it's dance or classical influence on it and this leads to a highly emotional album, i'm a die hard pumpkin fan and must admit it took a couple of plays of the album before i got what it was about but when you do i gaurentee that you will like this. It is not like any other album you will ever hear.
After 3 albums, the last of them being an epic double album success worldwide, a dead keyboard player, a sacked drummer and a completely shaven headed singer/guitarist Billy Corgan; the band soldiered on to produce their vision of an electro-acoustic album, and they made it. It was called 'Adore'; though most fans would probably refer to it as 'A bore'. Personally, I'm not a big Pumpkins fan but all their singles I heard on their previous albums, I'd found really brilliant, intelligent, catchy and meaningful; and I found a bit of affinity with the swashy electro sounds of the light pop song, first single 'Ava Adore', and seeing my chance to get into the Pumpkins, I got their latest album of the time; and it's their only one I have. Most Pumpkins fans would call me stupid, and I probably am. I'd like to get their other albums! I however, really thought and still do think that 'Adore' is a strong album, even though Billy Corgan dismissed it himself, shortly after he found out it was getting poor sales. The album reminds me of the quieter and ambient moments of Depeche Mode (like from DM's 'Waiting For The Night' on the 'Violator' album) mixed with traditional country guitar folk music and the original epic lyricism of Billy Corgan. This whole album might I add, was recorded as a tribute for Corgan's recently deceased mother; and it pretty much in effect is almost a Corgan solo album, just with the Pumpkins moniker on it, and the other 2 band members. The most noticable difference is the band's abandonment of stadium rock which reached a peak with their last mega selling album 'Mellon Collie...', and obviously the (temporary) firing of drummer Jimmy Chamberlain, who without a doubt is one of the top 10 rock drummers in the world today had a big negative impact of loss in their 'til then forged sound. Most of the album ditches gritty guitars and snarly vocals for bru
ised whispers and swashy keyboards, and tinkly drum machines (and some adequate guest drummers) instead of Jimmy. Opener 'To Sheila' is a brilliant and beautiful opener, that really soothes the mind, while 'Tear' sees them go a little operatic with an orchestra, only to mimick late New Order on 'Appels + Oranjes'. 'The Tale Of Dusty And Pistol Pete' and 'Annie-Dog' are brilliant too, but the last four songs are too long and a little bit yawny and therefore bring the album down even for the fan of this, and even more for the non fan. I think 'Adore' was a brilliant experiment, but I respect it's not one everyone will appreciate it, and I'm not going to recommended it to fans of classic Pumpkins style, but this is good if you want to see the band be a pensive Depeche Mode instead of themselves.
Although i am a die hard pumpkins fan, i do feel that the pumpkins lost the plot with this album, with the absence of drummer Jimmy Chaimberlin, they looked for a more Keyboard based sound, which doesnt really work ,there is only one trck on this album which really stands out, and thats Perfect, all the rest sound to similar and arnet catchy or memorable as you would like them to be, This album lacks the raw rock stadium filling sounds which we are used to seeing from the pumpkins buy it if you like them but otherwise there are much better Pumpkins albums than this.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
3 Blank Page
4 Tale Of Dusty And Pistol Pete
5 Daphne Descends
7 Ava Adore
8 Behold The Nightmare
9 Once Upon Time
10 For Martha
11 Appels And Oranjes
12 Annie Dog
15 To Sheila