Here at TeamRock, we firmly believe that if you show us a rock fan born post-1982 who claims not to have had their formative years shaped by the sounds of the Smashing Pumpkins, we’ll show you a liar. Danish noise-rockers Alcabean are testament to this fact, their fuzz-fuelled antics swaying between introspective melancholy and furious feedback-filled wig outs just like their alt.rock forefathers before them.
So, we decided they’re expertly-placed to give us the lowdown of the Pumpkins’ finest songs as they see them. You can watch the video for Alcabean’s latest single, Bloody Pose, at the bottom of the page.
The Everlasting Gaze (from Machina/The Machines Of God, 2000)
Joachim (guitar): “Part of what makes Smashing Pumpkins such a great band is the story – the breakups, the intrigue, Billy Corgan’s ventures into wrestling and posing for the front cover of a cat magazine, and Machina is the record that tells everything about Smashing Pumpkins’ unrivalled ability to alienate a fanbase. What a weird record this is – but I once did some work with a producer who absolutely loved this one. Funnily enough, he had named his own band Machine… Through several forced listens, this thing started to grow on me and The Everlasting Gaze is now probably my favourite Smashing Pumpkins chorus. It’s so grandiose, the atmospherics are fascinating (to this day, I still can’t tell the guitars from the synths in that chorus, and I mean that in the best way possible!), the two signature Chamberlain drum fills… It’s just some of the most thrilling music they’ve done.”
Soma (from Siamese Dream, 1993)
Joachim: “Three words: that guitar solo.
As a guitarist, I’ve always had an awkward relationship with the guitar solo. Partly (…mainly) because of my own lack of skills in that department, But Billy Corgan is one of the few showy guitarists who’ve managed to win me over. I mean… That guitar solo on Soma. It’s so huge. And the first three downstrokes are the best. Slow, calm, full of suspense… and then, at 4:28, when that one bended note is crushed by a Fender Blender fuzz pedal… Incredible. It’s just so amazingly musical and absolutely crushing at the same time. I keep making this weird face expression every time I hear it. Pure beauty.
The rest of the song is magnificent as well – a great, ethereal build-up. But… that guitar solo.”
Doomsday Clock (from Zeitgeist, 2007)
Joachim: “As the oldest member of this band I wasn’t even three months old when Siamese Dream came out, so it’s safe to say that we belong to the generation that has had to go back and discover the greatness of Smashing Pumpkins ourselves. The contemporary bands that inspired us into making music were inspired by Pumpkins! So, being 14 years old, Zeitgeist was the first Pumpkins album I ever owned. Now having dived back into their discography, the shortcomings of Zeitgeist as an album become more evident – but still, I remember putting it on and being hit first by Doomsday Clock. That Chamberlain intro (with the ULTRA high-pitched snare), the multi-dubbed Corgan wall of guitars.. That was my first Pumpkins experience, and to this day, Doomsday Clock strikes something in me – although nostalgia might have something to do with that.”
Perfect (from Adore, 1998)
Joachim: “A great pop song in itself, but for even more of that magical Pumpkins weirdness factor, check out their SNL performance of this one. It’s just so late 90s. First off, an introduction from Cameron Diaz at her peak 90s hotness. And then our man Billy Corgan looking like something straight out of The Matrix if it had been a low budget b-movie production. By the way, is James Iha one of the coolest rhythm guitarists ever? This guy never gets a shoutout. He’s flawless in that performance!”
Drown (from The Singles OST, 1992)
Victor (vocals and guitar): “This song is so damn smooth. Drown starts with such a delightful riff and in general just has a very smooth vibe. I like the quiet and delicate stuff from the band, but later the song turns harder and more edgy. This song is just a rollercoaster of emotions the way a Pumpkins song should be, but if theres a riff that inspired my guitar playing, then it would be the intro riff of Drown, hands down.”
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Cherub Rock (from Siamese Dream, 1993)
Victor: “Classic song of theirs, very cool guitar riff and an obvious choice in Guitar Hero 3! The funny thing is, the first time I listened to this song as a youngster, I didn’t really get it (the band just seemed very weird to me), but it sure did grow on me when I realised that I was the weird one. Corgan’s lyrical themes are timeless. From being young and afraid and looking for the bigger picture in life to praising being different is to me what this song is about.”
Rhinoceros (from Gish, 1991)
Victor: “One of the first Pumpkins songs I fell in love with. This song has a brilliant build-up, it starts up being very mysterious and low key but slowly evolves into heavy and haunting guitar playing. Usually not a fan of guitar solos, but Billy Corgan is one of the few exceptions for me – especially in this song.”
The Tale Of Dusty And Pistol Pete (from Adore, 1998)
Julius (bass and vocals): “A hidden Pumpkins gem. I remember falling in love with this song the first time I heard it. Billy just knows how to write the pop ballads and in my opinion this is one of the best he’s written. It’s emotional, uplifting and yet it still has a certain mystique over it.”
Geek U.S.A (from Siamese Dream, 1993)
Julius: “This song is just a classic! From the borderline heavy metal intro to the beautiful and haunting break that will always be my favourite break of all time! The whole song is so beautiful, it’s another classic elegy from the Corgan-man. Pumpkins are without a doubt the best at making the most out of a song, exploring every fracture of sound and themes that is has to offer.”
1979 (from Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness, 1995)
Julius: “Being young, thinking everything is shit, being confused… these are just some of the topics that this song entails. This song should be the official anthem of humanity. It’s timeless and almost impossible to dislike. This song is without a doubt on of the most universal pieces of music written. We can all relate to it in some way, and the pure feeling of nostalgia that this song has… AMAZING! I really think if every kid got this record or song at some point in their lives, then the world would be a better place, cause if anything, this song can unite people.”
Bloody Pose by Alcabean is out now via We Are Suburban. You can check the video out below:
Smashing Pumpkins Billy Corgan: Musical Genius Or Egotistical Idiot?
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