Not very adorable
By JAMES BICKERS
June 20, 1998
When the Smashing Pumpkins released "Siamese Dream," the album that produced its first major hit, leader Billy Corgan said that the reason he became a rock musician was to get back at the people who made fun of him in high school.
Well, Billy, I'm sure all those people are sorry they ever called you a name. You think you could put the guitar down now?
"Adore," the band's latest album, is a lifeless and pretentious embarrassment that fits in nicely with the rest of the band's canon. It's one more reason why the Smashing Pumpkins might just be the worst rock band working today.
As a wannabe songwriter, Corgan has caught a bad case of Counting Crows disease: Lyrics filled with girls' names and oh-so-cute adolescent poetry ("Amphetamine Annie-Dog has her leash and a face") that is laughable. Corgan seems to fancy himself the poet laureate of Generation X, a smart and hip bard with important things to say; in reality, he's a pusher of dime-store drivel. The writing on "Adore," as on previous Pumpkins' discs, has all the impact of a third-grade class project -- and a bad one at that.
All complaints about the Pumpkins, however, must pale when compared to the band's most serious fault: Corgan's voice. Occasionally, he hits a note correctly, but those moments are so rare that it's almost not worth mentioning. The rest of the time, his nasal whine oscillates around the notes he is trying to sing, his vibrato forced, fake and pitiful. Worse still are his attempts to harmonize, as on "Crestfallen"; Corgan is sandpaper on a scab.
Amateurish, juvenile songwriting, terrible singing and apathetic instrumentation all add up to make "Adore" an album that begs to be turned off. I have no doubt, therefore, that it will sell a bazillion copies. Honest listeners, however, will see the Pumpkins for what they really are: A dreary, formulaic, untalented example of corporate rock at its very worst.
Just to be fair, I tried to find at least one moment on "Adore" that I just loved: Right after the final track "17," my CD player makes a little whirring sound before shutting off. Man, I love that part
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