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17 Days of Adore – Blank Page

Posted by Jason On April - 19 - 2009

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Adore – Track 15 – Blank Page

Blank Page is one of the saddest songs I’ve ever heard.  I honestly can’t pinpoint the exact meaning of the lyrics,  but I assume it’s about Corgan’s failing marriage at the time.

The haunting piano and painful, yet beautiful lyrics make a perfect ending for this melancholy album.

It contains one of my favorite lyrical passages that Corgan has written:

take a day, plant some trees
may they shade you from me
may your children play beneath

If the song is about Corgan’s divorce, this little passage becomes very powerful.

Listen to Blank Page – This song is best listened to with eyes closed

17 Days of Adore – Adore Documentary – Part 1

Posted by Jason On April - 18 - 2009

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Adore Documentary – Part 1

I just found this documentary.  It gives some awesome insight into the Adore era of the Smashing Pumpkins.

17 Days of Adore – For Martha

Posted by Jason On April - 18 - 2009

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Adore – Track 14 – For Martha

Billy Corgan wrote For Martha for his mother after she passed away from cancer.  The song is a beautifully written piece that encapsulates Corgan’s feelings about his mother’s passing. It’s epic in nature, but carries through it a feeling of fragility.

The song moves gently along until about the 4 minute mark, when it slowly builds into the second guitar solo on Adore.  The first solo was a 12 second section of Ava Adore.

At the end of the piece, a wave of guitars appear.  The Smashing Pumpkins would often put small musical ideas on the tale end of songs.  Another example of this is the end of Thru the Eyes of Ruby on MCIS.  Another epic Pumpkins song.

The song is also one of Corgan’s best work lyrically.  Read the lyrics as you listen to For Martha.

Whenever I run
Whenever I run to you lost one
It’s never done
Just hanging on

Just past has let me be
Returning as if dream
Shattered as belief

If you have to go don’t say goodbye
If you have to go don’t you cry
If you have to go I will get by
Someday I’ll follow you and see you on the other side

But for the grace of love
I’d will the meaning of
Heaven from above

Your picture out of time
Left aching in my mind
Shadows kept alive

If you have to go don’t say goodbye
If you have to go don’t you cry
If you have to go I will get by
I will follow you and see you on the other side

But for the grace of love
I’d will the meaning of
Heaven from above

Long horses we are born
Creatures more than torn
Mourning our way home

Lyrics from www.smashingpumpkins.com

Listen to For Martha

17 Days of Adore – Shame

Posted by Jason On April - 16 - 2009

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Adore – Track 12 – Shame

Shame is a prime example of Billy Corgan pushing for something new.

Up until this point in their career, the Smashing Pumpkins had been known for their “wall-of-sound” production style.  On their Siamese Dream album, Corgan layered 40-60 guitar overdubs on songs.  In contrast, a normal recording for a 4 member band will have 2-6 guitar overdubs.  This approach to recording gave Gish, Siamese Dream, and MCIS they’re sound.  Adore, to an extent, does some of the same things, but works with more instrumentation than previous works.

Shame is the sheer opposite to the “wall-of-sound” approach.

The song is carried by a bass line that rarely moves, a rhythm section that remains constant, an ebow building feedback and atmosphere, one guitar picking delay-ridden notes, a sparse keyboard, and Corgan’s distinctive vocals.  The sparseness of the track gives it an open, melancholy feel, and really evokes the core emotions spread throughout Adore.

I really enjoy this song.  I often listen to it in the car while driving at dusk, or if I’m driving while the sun is just starting to rise.  It’s made for that period when the sky is dark, but not yet night.

Listen to Shame

17 Days of Adore – Annie-Dog

Posted by Jason On April - 14 - 2009

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Adore – Track 11 – Annie-Dog

The recording of Annie-Dog that appears on Adore is actually the demo, which also appears on the Adore Demos 1 bootleg that floated around Pumpkinland for a while.

The song is probably one of the most hated among Pumpkin fans.  I even found a thread on a Smashing Pumpkins fansite where fans were arguing whether Annie-Dog is the worst SP song or not.

I don’t mind the track.  I would much rather have heard Blissed and Gone as track 11 instead, but we’re left with Annie-Dog, a song about a woman who uses love to obtain power, according to Corgan.

The song floats on a quiet piano progression, and Corgan gives one of his most relaxed vocal deliveries.  It’s an interesting song, on an album full of unique choices for the Smashing Pumpkins.

Listen to Annie-Dog

Listen to Blissed and Gone

17 Days of Adore – The Tale of Dusty and Pistol Pete

Posted by Jason On April - 14 - 2009

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Adore – Track 10 – The Tale of Dusty and Pistol Pete

The Tale of Dusty and Pistol Pete is a beautiful little song about murder.

In an outake from the Smashing Pumpkin’s VH1 Storytellers episode, Corgan explains that this song is about a man (Pete) murdering his lover (Dusty).  In the moment where Dusty crosses over, she is unable to understand that her man was murdering her, and is still trying to call out to him.

There may be more to read into this fictional story.  At the time Corgan was going through a divorce.  I’m speculating, but perhaps the fictional story may be a metaphor for what Corgan was going through at the time.  Perhaps feeling that he had murdered his marriage through inaction, or mistake.  Just a thought.

Sonically, The Tale of Dusty and Pistol Pete once again merges electronics with acoustic instrumentation.  The song begin with a drum loop and quickly leads to soft acoustic guitar lines that float along during the song.  The ebow makes another appearance in the middle of the song.

Listen to The Tale of Dusty and Pistol Pete

17 Days of Adore – Pug

Posted by Jason On April - 8 - 2009

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Adore – Track 9 – Pug

The Pumpkins album of “arcane night music” continues with Pug, possibly the hardest rocking song on Adore.  Of course, we are speaking of Adore, so it’s not too hard, comparatively speaking.

Pug features the only semi-guitar riff on Adore.  I saw semi, because it’s played on a synth for part of the song.  This song really feels like Corgan going back to what he is familiar with as far as his songwriting goes, but is funneling it through a channel of electronics and drum loops.

The song focuses on the main riff, but really takes a turn when it hits the chorus.  Instead of a normal increase is volume and intensity, Pug steps back into an anticlimactic refrain, sprinkled with piano.

In my estimate, Appels + Oranjes and Pug are the best back to back songs on AdorePug once again showcases the maturity in Corgan’s songwriting when compared to previous works like MCIS or Siamese Dream.  On MCIS Corgan would opt for bombast, feedback, and guitar riffs when a song needed a change.  On Adore, Corgan uses well placed melody, atmosphere, and paints moods to build songs.

Listen to Pug

17 Days of Adore – Appels + Oranjes

Posted by Jason On April - 7 - 2009

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Adore – Track 8 – Appels + Oranjes

Appels + Oranjes is one of my favorite tracks on Adore.

The track evokes the electronics of bands like New Order and Depeche Mode, both bands Corgan sites as influences.  In fact, the Pumpkins covered Depeche Mode’s Never Let Me Down Again, which appeared on a compilation of Depeche Mode covers, and as a b-side on the Rocket single during the Siamese Dream era.

During the Adore recording sessions, Corgan took a different approach.

“I thought I was going to do this really different album,” Corgan told EQ Magazine.  “So typical me, I didn’t use any of my gear.  Like, any.  I went out and bought new guitars and strange amps…Most of my memories with Adore have more to do with programming.”

The success of Eye certainly gave Corgan confidence is his abilities to write with electronic instruments, and Appels + Oranjes showcases that more than any other song on Adore.

I don’t have any information on when the song was completed, but sonically it seems to fit in with early Adore era, post MCIS-era songs like Eye, and The End is the Beginning is the End.

The Adore sessions began with producer Brad Wood (Placebo, Liz Phair), but after an unsuccessful beginning, Corgan re-enlisted Flood to help him shape his ideas into completed songs.  Flood, who has worked with the likes of U2, Depeche Mode, and produced MCIS, was able to forge Corgan’s reels of 1-inch tape with the electronic Pro Tools sessions, and samples to give Adore a more cohesive feel.

Flood’s direction, and experience with bands like Depeche Mode, and Nine Inch Nails more than likely helped Corgan nail down the great sonic elements on Appels + Oranjes.

The song incorporates layer after layer of drum machines, ebow, and synthesizers.  Each one floating in and out at the perfect moment.  Pay special attention to the delay-drenched ebow that enters right after Corgan sings “What if what is isn’t true?”  This is a great example of using melody to fill vacant space.  Once again, the ebow takes center stage, adding to the spacey quality of Adore.

Appels + Oranjes showcases another signature Pumpkins trait: misspelling titles.  Corgan does this often.  Other examples:

Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness

Thru the Eyes of Ruby

Tonight, Tonite

Just to name a few.

Listen to Appels + Oranjes

17 Days of Adore – Crestfallen

Posted by Jason On April - 5 - 2009

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Adore – Track 7 – Crestfallen

After the epic guitar onslaught that was Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, it’s easy to see why Adore, and songs like Crestfallen would alienate Pumpkins fans.

Pumpkins fans, including me, were originally hoping to hear more songs like Bodies, BWBW, and Jellybelly.  Then Corgan and Co. released The End is the Beginning is the End on the Batman and Robin soundtrack, which introduced a new Pumpkins sound, infusing electronics with the dark, driving melodies we’d previously expected.

Another song, Eye, appeared on the Lost Highways soundtrack.  The song, which was originally written as an instrumental for Shaquille O’Neil (seriously), pushed forward with this new electronic sound.

At the time of the releases of TEITBITE and Eye, Corgan told fans they could probably  expect more music in this vein from the band on their upcoming release.  One reviewer even called the songs “full-energy chargers,” writing off any previous statements from the band saying the new album would “rock-less.”

When Adore finally hit the airwaves, many fans were underwhelmed by the album’s lack of guitar, and hard-hitting songs.  Corgan would later regret the miscommunication saying that if  he “would have told everyone Adore was the Pumpkins’ acoustic album we would have never had the problems that we had.”

After Ava Adore, and Perfect failed to meet label expectations as singles, Crestfallen was never released to radio, though it had been slotted to be the third single from the album.

Crestfallen was a broad departure from the classic Pumpkins sound.  The old-school drum machine beat, and rolling piano left little room for guitar.  Even the mix hides the slow strummed chords during the chorus.  They hide far in the distance, being heard only after the piano slowly decays.  Corgan’s vocals rest up front, showcasing his unique voice.

Lyrically, this song, and Adore in general, go far beyond previous Pumpkin albums.  Once again Corgan appears to sing from his heart, addressing what seems to be his broken relationship with his wife.  While songs like Jellybelly, and TEITBITE dealt in the abstract, Crestfallen lays it all out, leaving little room for interpretation.

The very end of the song ends with the sound of a closing door.  Probably signifying the end of a that period of his life, and possibly indicating the passing of his musical past.

Listen to Jellybelly from MCIS – What Fans Hoped For

Listen to TEITBITE – What Fans Expected

Listen to Crestfallen

17 Days of Adore – Tear

Posted by Jason On April - 4 - 2009

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Adore – Track 6 – Tear

After the quiet Once Upon a Time ends, Tear comes roaring through your speakers drenched in mellotron strings.

The song pounds away for a few bars, then drops out to Corgan’s vocals, and a quiet drum machine beat.  Tear is one of the least electronic songs on Adore.  It’s one of the few songs to feature real drums, which were performed by Matt Walker of Filter.

All in all, Tear is another one of the beautifully dark songs on Adore.  Lyrically, the song speaks of lost love, possibly dealing with Corgan’s divorce which was occurring during this period.     I don’t have a ton to say about this song.  It’s better to just listen and enjoy it.

Once again, for the live performance of Tear, the Pumpkins beef the song up with big guitars and aggressive drums.  I would love to hear the songs on Adore re-recorded as these live versions.  They would make a completely different album.

Listen to Tear

Listen to the live version of Tear