‘The Aeroplane Flies High’
Orange County Register
This guy Billy Corgan just can't be stopped. Fans and critics thought it was risky for Corgan and the Smashing Pumpkins to go with a double-disc album in "Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness". Here's why the band members were so confident: They were sitting on an additional 20 original songs that were strong enough to make an album. The tracks have come out sporadically over the months as bonus tracks on CD singles. And now they're gathered in one spot in "The Aeroplane Flies High", a five- disc set of CD singles due for release Tuesday. Fans might see this as a set of throwaways and skip over it. Big mistake. The title track is an epic piece of work, yet more proof that Corgan's vision is too big to be confined to traditional pop songs. The melancholia continues. "Rotten Apples" is a depressing lament on topics such as "the darkened claws of death". Many have an almost demolike feel to them, with "Blank", and "Medallia of the Gray Skies" featuring minimal instrumentation and offhand vocals. "Tonite Reprise" in fact sounds like Corgan's original acoustic demo for "Tonight, Tonight". What's surprising is how well it works with just him and a guitar. Overall, it's the quieter side of the band that comes through on the lovely "Last Song", "Ugly", "The Boy", and others (though be warned: The bonus tracks on the "Zero" single are uniformly noisy). And "Aeroplane" also shows the Pumpkins more as a band, with James Iha getting surprisingly fine original songs ("Said Sadly, "The Bells") and lead vocals ("A Night Like This") on the album. The biggest argument against "Aeroplane" is its economics. There are enough great songs here to make a free-standing double album. Yet fans end up paying for one CD's worth of tunes they undoubtedly already own. Like the new Prince album, this makes a compelling argument for sitting down with a tape to pick and choose your own version of "Mellon Collie, Part II". And you'll find the results just as satisfying. Unlike Pisces Iscariot, this new release is an essential piece of the Pumpkin's body of work.
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