Let’s be honest, the Smashing Pumpkins outstayed their welcome in the musical world. The Pumpkins had written two of the best albums to come out of the 90s, Siamese Dream and Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, and then wound up fading out after inner turmoil within the band and recording two sub-par albums, Adore and MACHINA/The Machines of God. Corgan, though, is honest about this and apologizes for this, saying that they “didn’t know when to stop.” Now would be a good time, Billy.
Even with a fantastic lineup, Zwan fails to impress in any way, shape, or form. Corgan and drummer Jimmy Chamberlin work together with guitarist Matt Sweeney (previously from Chavez), guitarist David Pajo (previously of Slint), and bassist Paz Lenchantin (with too many musical connections to list). An impressive line up of mid-1990s rockers, to say the very least. When Zwan went on tour early 2001, each show they played had a different, distinctive sound. They have a catalog of dozens upon dozens of songs written. So… why did they choose these?
The album is lacking any sort of stand out track, no real hooks are found in any of the songs, and the outstanding guitar work of Pajo and Sweeney are, well, nonexistent. Layers upon layers of overproduced, muddy guitar work lay over poorly chosen synth accompaniments. The only thing that really seems to stand out on this album is the trite and cliché lyrics from Corgan. (Well, with titles such as “Baby Let’s Rock,” “Endless Summer,” and “Yeah,” what would you expect?) One of the best examples of how this album just falls short is the epic, 14-minute “Jesus I,” a boring, unfulfilling, self-indulgent track that should have never made it onto any album.
Sure, there are some redeeming elements of this album, I suppose. This album gets Corgan back on the right track away from MACHINA. But it falls way short if compared to other efforts. If you’re looking for some amazing music from these musicians, pass this up and listen to Siamese Dream, Spiderland, and Ride the Fader, respectively.