The Smashing Pumpkins – Rotten Apples: The Best Of…

Smashing PumpkinsI didn’t ever think that I’d actually review a “Best of…” album, mainly because I own so few of them. Having a cursory glance at my i-tunes folder shows I got ones by Neil Young, Gun’s ‘n Roses, the Cure, R.E.M., The Beastie Boys, Bruce Springsteen, Gang of Four, Ian Brow…. hang on a sec, I do actually have quite a few. Anyway, one of the reasons I get a “Best of…” album is that often they’re packaged with rare tracks and b-sides and the completist in me loves that stuff. It’s like a whole new album most of the time. There’s no guarentee of quality, but hey you pays your money, you takes the risk. The Smashing Pumpkins were one of the big bands of the 90’s; the double album “Mellon Collie…” was a big stunning album and had probably their best song “Tonight, Tonight” on it. Then frontman Billy Corgan went a bit funny, dressed up like a podgey Nosferatu then packed it all in, in 2001. Rumours are he wants to reform the Pumpkins, but hey; they had their day. Let’s just leave it Billy.

Anyway, shortly after the split, Rotten Apples was released with a good spread of the band’s five albums. There was also a B-sides and rareities disc chuck in too, called “Judas O”, again which covered the band’s history. It’s a kinda odd’s ‘n sods album, with not all the tracks being of the highest quality. “Lucky 13” is a great opening track, showing how good drummer Jimmy Chamberlin was (as if the Pumpkins back catalogue didn’t already prove this). “Saturine” is a great piece of electro-rock, from the bands “Adore” period. Some of the tracks are poor, “Rock On” is just pish; “Sparrow” is just dull. The single “Tonight, Tonight” had three really good acoustic tracks, all of which would have been much more welcome on here. The real standout is “Slow Dawn”, a hazy, nocturnal piece which just seems to captivate a late night kinda mood for me. It’s my favourite track on this disc.

However, there are two bonus, unreleased tracks on the main Rotten Apples disc. “untitled” is a standard Pumpkins track, but Real Love is an absolute triumph: a swooning, droning track that is just made brilliant by Jimmy Chamberlin’s incredible drumming. He just powers the track forward through what sounds like sheer desperation. The only complaint I’ve got is the lacking of the song “The End Is The Begining Is The End” which is from the Batman & Robin soundtrack (the best thing about that piece of shit). If that was included, the album would be even better, but to be honest “Real Love” is so fucking good, I’d recommend the album just for that one song.

Smashing Pumpkins – Tonight, Tonight:

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  1. Hi Ali, as usual I watched a movie about an obscure indie artist that apparently everyone has heard of except me. Any thoughts on Daniel Johnston? His music seems quite good, but the art looked even better. I got the impression he was pretty exploited by the music industry….

  2. I take it you’re refering to “The Devil and Daniel Johnston”. Yeah, he was a favourite of Kurt Cobain, which granted him a cult audience straight off the bat. His songs have a kinda, child-like naiveity to them, mainly because they’re all inspired by a girl that rejected him in high school. He’s suffered with mental illness, and his music gets overshadowed by a number of strange incidents, but he’s well worth checking out.




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