||THE SMASHING PUMPKINS
ROTTEN APPLES GREATEST HITS (LIMITED EDITION)
DOUBLE COMPILATION VIRGIN RELEASE: NOVEMBER 19, 2001 REVIEW: DECEMBER 4, 2001
I wasn't all that keen on The Smashing Pumpkins during their career peak in the mid-nineties. Looking back now though, I am awesomely impressed with the scope of their material, as well as the fact that they could actually get so big in spite of it.
I mean, how was it that Billy Corgan managed to produce songs in then ridiculed genres like glam, psychedelia and (almost) goth and sell them to the indies crowd? Of course, a big reason would be that their songs were often awesome. "Bullet with Butterfly Wings" was the kind of song Kurt Cobain would have wanted to write, strong enough to skyrocket the sales of the uneven and financially risky double album "Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness".
The string of hits between 1991 and 1998 is of impressive quality, touching on pop, grunge and metal but somehow always remaining in a kind of indies context. Corgan gets away with lyrics bordering on camp ("the world is a vampire" et cetera) thanks to a slightly ironic attitude that contrasts the serious tone in his voice.
Perhaps turning more obviously gothic and losing their indie sensibility was the cause of subsequent failures in record sales. Or maybe the dark themes just reflected the growing internal tension; culminating with the band calling it quits in December 2000.
This double album has all the hits, plus a greater number of rarities and B-sides than customary for this kind of hits collection. It is worthwhile listening, and something of a historical document. To me, The Smashing Pumpkins is so very much a product of the nineties, much like The Sisters of Mercy is of the eighties, that I can feel the wings of history beating about them. And they all wear long, dark coats...
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