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  • Album Review: Smashing Pumpkins "Monuments To An Elegy" 5-out-of-5 stars

    Wed, 03 Dec 2014 10:53:50

    Album Review: Smashing Pumpkins "Monuments To An Elegy" 5-out-of-5 stars - By ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino

    Smashing Pumpkins Photos

    • Smashing Pumpkins - US musician Billy Corgan of the band Smashing Pumpkins performs on the Other Stage on the fifth day of the Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts near Glastonbury, southwest England on June 30, 2013. The festival attracts 170,000 party-goers to the dairy farm in Somerset, and this year's tickets sold out within two hours of going on sale.
    • Smashing Pumpkins - Musician Billy Corgan, of The Smashing Pumpkins, performs during the Cumbre Tajin culture festival -- this year devoted to the 'Rebirth of the Self' -- at El Tajin archaeological site, in the highlands of Papantla, Veracruz State, Mexico, early on March 24, 2013.
    • Smashing Pumpkins - NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 19: Nicole Fiorentino, Billy Corgan, Mike Byrne and Jeff Schroeder of Smashing Pumpkins perform onstage presented by P.C. Richard & Son at iHeartRadio Theater on June 19, 2012 in New York City.

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    Smashing Pumpkins Videos

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    The Smashing Pumpkins treat evolution itself as an art form. Billy Corgan and Co. continually challenge themselves and the general listening public at large, yielding music that's as intricate as it is irresistible every time they enter the studio. Simultaneously, each subsequent offering stands alone.

    Oceania proved to be another marked progression after Zeitgeist, while the "holy trinity" of Gish, Siamese Dream, and Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness each moved alternative rock forward, while never sticking to the same plot. It's as if Corgan continually writes a new chapter to his legacy within the overall framework without needing to explicitly hug onto said framework. Yes, he's one of the generation's greatest songwriters and guitar players, but his real brilliance lies in that ability to seamlessly (and fearlessly) evolve.

    That brings us to Monuments to an Elegy. Once again, it's loaded with surprises, while still preserving the sound countless fans have come to adore—pun intended. The shimmering intro of "Tiberius" gives way to a wall of distortion and Corgan's heartfelt lyrics. The seesawing rhythms stand out as some of Tommy Lee's most powerful drumming especially when paired alongside the cinematically thick guitars.

    "Being Beige" drops from dreamy into elegantly heavy as Corgan admits, "World's on fire", while "Anaise!" adopts a funk groove that instantly captivates. "One and All" combines that impenetrable guitar tandem of Corgan and Jeff Schroeder with vivid lyrics. It's intense and also intensely infectious. "Run2Me" could very well be the group's most danceable love song ever. However, album standout "Anti-Hero" tempers a snapping palm-muted guitar with a big hook. It's tightly woven and so artfully crafted that's it remains downright undeniable.

    You'll hit replay on Monuments To An Elegy the moment it finishes. This belongs in the pantheon alongside Corgan's greatest work and history's best alternative rock albums. Smashing Pumpkins evolve once more, and the results couldn't be more magical.

    Rick Florino

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    Tags: Smashing Pumpkins, Billy Corgan, Tommy Lee, Jeff Schroeder

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