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30 Best Loved Albums - Siamese Dreams

2007 will bring the 30th anniversary of my first rock concert (Kiss, December 2, 1977 – Metropolitan Sports Center). In honor of that momentous event I have decided to use this blog to review my 30 best loved albums. They will not be in any order or progression but I will try to review them musically and why they mean so much to me. I’ll also note if they made the Definitive 200 List. With that on to #18 of the list...

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18. Smashing Pumpkins – Siamese Dreams (1993)

Coming off their surprising 1991 indie release, Gish, the Smashing Pumpkins were one of the first of those “alternative? bands that got gobbled up by a major label. Interest was high on whether or not they could reach the level of Gish with its soaring guitars and art-rock vibe. After a long and tortuous recording process, where frontman Billy Corrigan was, in a word, dictatorial -- playing all guitars and bass on the final recording, Siamese Dreams was released 3 months late and $250,000 over budget. But out of that process came an impressive album of dreamy lyrics coupled with hard edged guitars in a musical landscape that covered 70’s arena rock, art-school prog-rock, and hard core punk. A stunning album that feels just as vital as it did nearly 15 years ago.

The first song, Cherub Rock, became an MTV staple with its dream-like video, foreshadowing future videos to come from the band. From it’s opening drum roll leading to its crushing first guitar notes, Cherub Rock set the stage for the rest of the album. (f.y.i. Cherub Rock is slated to be on the Guitar Hero III set for release later this fall). Guitars own this album and right from the opening notes it's the sound that makes the listener stand up and take notice. Billy Corrigan and Producer Butch Vig spent those countless hours at the studio layering the guitars one on top of each other, giving each song a full “wall of sound? feel. It would be the same guitar track, just copied over and over again, like an orchestra having 20 violins all playing the same part. This is the one album that listening on headphones doesn’t do justice, you need the sound to fill the room around you, it’s too big for just the space between your ears.

The album is extremely tight with not a bad song in the bunch. Nearly every song is a one word title and are similar to Led Zeppelin in that the title has little or nothing to do with the song itself. Not that you can decipher the lyrics. Billy Corrigan’s voice is pretty light and it’s the guitars, bass, and drums that are center stage here, not the lyrics. Other favorite songs include Today, Geek USA, and Spaceboy (lovingly written about Corrigan’s autistic brother). Many of the songs could be considered epic with soaring sound, long guitar solos, and bone crushing bass and drums. The last two minutes of Geek USA is a thing to behold and gives me goosebumps every time I hear it.

Because sometimes you just need to hear an album that is musically ambitious yet personal, jarring while soothing, muscular and dreamy, without a note out of place, Siamese Dreams is one of my 30 best loved albums.

Place on the Definitive 200: Not on the list.

Comments

his name is billy corgan asshole! not corrigan... you bitch

I like how you praise the album and some creep rails on you. I agree, this is an outstanding album!!

Actually I think that was Billy Corgan who commented above. Regardless of what you think about his art, he hates it when someone spells his name wrong.

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