Album Review: Smashing Pumpkins "Monuments To An Elegy" 5-out-of-5 stars
Wed, 03 Dec 2014 10:53:50
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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.
What's your favorite Smashing Pumpkins song?