The Smashing Pumpkins
The Aeroplane Flies High
Review By Gary Graff
It's hard to think of many bands, particularly in the modern-rock realm, that have produced so much strong music in such a concentrated period of time. Just over a year after its sprawling, ambitious (and monster- selling) double-CD Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, Smashing Pumpkins delivers a five-disc box set of CD singles that, with all the attendant B-sides (consisting primarily of outtakes from the Mellon Collie sessions), amounts to another album's worth of material--and a pretty good album at that. Like its predecessor, the thirty-three songs that comprise Aeroplane explore all aspects of the Pumpkins' sound, from the angst-ridden punk propulsion of "God" to the metallic fury of "Marquis in Spade" to the sweet melodicism of "The Last Song."
Each of the five singles works as its own mini-album; fans of the group's guitar rawk, for instance, should proceed to "Zero," which includes a Hendrixy instrumental, "Tribute to Johnny," and the twenty-three-minute sonic swirl of "Pastichio Medley." The "Bullet With Butterfly Wings" disc sports a terrific batch of cover songs, including Alice Cooper's obscure "Clones (We're All)" and a drum-driven rendition of the Cars' "You're All I've Got Tonight." The "Thirty-Three" single houses Aeroplane's title track--a moody, textured epic that ranks with the band's best songs--and it captures Billy Corgan as crooner on an orchestral arrangement of the standard, "My Blue Heaven." Even the box itself is cool, styled after the carrying cases marketed to teens in the sixties and seventies to hold their 45 r.p.m. vinyl singles. Many bands have used CD singles as vehicles for an interesting leftover or two; few, however, have come up with the Smashing Pumpkins' volume of first-rate songs presented so stylishly by The Aeroplane Files High. --Gary Graff
Return to the Album Review Page