Siamese Dream

Smashing Pumpkins

Virgin, 1993

REVIEW BY: Melanie Love


Is it sacrilege to prefer this over Nirvana's Nevermind? Sure, Nevermind defined a generation, but Siamese Dream took grunge one step further, intermixing densely layered guitars impassioned vocals and a unique blend of psychedelic, metal and gothic rock into a phenomenon.

Siamese Dream, Smashing Pumkins' second release and initial foray toward commercial success, begins with the upbeat, anthemic "Cherub Rock." With a chorus like "Who wants honey / as long as there's some money," it's not up to vocalist, guitarist and lyricist Billy Corgan's usual standards, but it does make for a catchy enough opener.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Produced by Butch Vig of Sonic Youth fame, Dream made its mark with singles "Today," known for its insantly recognizable chorus and simple melodic guitar intro, and "Disarm," which is one of those songs that sticks with you long after its barely three-minute run time. Featuring church bells and tugging sentiment, it's the type of track that cliche review words like 'atmospheric' and 'enchanting' were invented for.

This album bypasses any grunge typicalities; it intermixes downplayed acoustic songs like "Spaceboy" (which for some reason has always reminded me of Bowie's "Space Oddity"...if that strikes you as completely implausible, skip to the next sentence) and the quick interlude of "Sweet Sweet" with epic tracks like Corgan's ode to writer's block, "Hummer."

While a nine-minute long song like "Silverfuck" would have the potential to drag anywhere else, in this context, it just adds to the strength of the album with rapid pace changes and the seemingly out-of-nowhere burst of Corgan screaming, "Bang, bang, you're dead / hole in your head."

Siamese Dream showcases intense lyrics, elaborate musicianship (like in "Soma," which has no less than forty overdubbed guitar parts) and a sense of cohesion that the band would never replicate again to these standards. It's an album that bypasses any labels or typecasting -- it honestly is an experience in itself to listen to.

Rating: A-

User Rating: A


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