Virgin Records – 2001 – CD 1 (70 mins), CD 2 (70 mins)
After over a decade of ups and downs in the eye of the notoriously fickle music industry vortex, Chicago quartet the Smashing Pumpkins finally called it a day at the end of 2000, leaving behind a couple of classic albums and a handful of truly memorable songs. The impact the Pumpkins had on the musical landscape of the 1990s has now been filtered into a greatest hits package, presented in a double CD of the hits and b-sides/rarities.
Billy Corgan and co have always been a highly divisive act. While many, especially US critics, instantly dismissed them as sub-standard Nirvana wannabes, others hailed them as a bright beacon in a milieu of mediocrity. Whatever your viewpoint, the Pumpkins certainly had something. 'Today', 'Disarm', 'Stand Inside Your Love' and the sublime '1979' on CD 1 provide compelling evidence of Corgan's unique vision, as well as the vitriolic spleen-venting of arguably the band's most recognisable tune, 'Bullet With Butterfly Wings'.
Unfortunately, however, this collection fails to showcase the Pumpkins in their quieter moments, perhaps best evinced on their under-appreciated 1998 album 'Adore'. Understandably, the first CD here has all the hits, but it's somewhat frustrating that CD 2 couldn't remind us of the elegiac beauty of tracks like 'To Sheila', 'Once Upon A Time' and, from 'Mellon Collie…', the haunting 'Galapogos'. As it is, the b-sides/rarities here are strictly for diehards.
Ultimately, although the Smashing Pumpkins' legacy is better than this collection suggests, it's still a timely reminder that they will be missed.
Tracklisting CD 1: Siva – Rhinocerous – Drown – Cherub Rock – Today – Disarm – Bullet With Butterfly Wings – 1979 – Zero – Tonight, Tonight – Eye – Ava Adore – Perfect – The Everlasting Gaze – Stand Inside Your Love – Try, Try, Try – Real Love – Untitled
CD 2: Lucky 13 – Aeroplane Flies High – Because You Are – Slow Dawn – Believe – My Mistake – Marquis in Spades – Here’s To The Atom Bomb – Sparrow – Waiting – Saturnine – Rock On – Set The Ray To Jerry – Winterlong – Soot And Stars – Blissed And Gone