Smashing Pumpkins, “Monuments to an Elegy”

Smashing-Pumpkins_Monuments-To-An-ElegySmashing Pumpkins
Monuments to an Elegy 
MARTHA’S MUSIC/BMG
5/10

It was a wonderful thing when the Starman and his Pumpkins from Mars—or was it Venus?—ruled the musical zeitgeist. But now recontextualized, Billy Corgan severely struggles to remain a relevant outlander. Indeed, the intensely titled Monuments to an Elegy (Corgan was never one for middling gestures) tries hard to be as grand as it is dripping with elegiac introspection—aided only by earthlings Jeff Schroeder on guitar and Tommy Lee on drums—but cannot seem to hit the mark. Album opener “Tiberius” (apparently not about the Roman emperor), rockets through the galaxies with a raging romanticism, Corgan pleading, “Hush my love, don’t fight / Never leave here this night.” He comes closest to success with the meta(l)galactic “Monuments,” while veritably blowing apart the heavens with “One and All” and the perhaps autobiographically titled “Anti-Hero.” But, oh how there are stumbles. “Being Beige” and “Dorian” sound like Coldplay throwaways, and the cutesy “Run2Me” is syrupy, movie trailer–quality synth-pop. And speaking of grandiose gestures, this is apparently the first of a “double album,” with Day For Night to be released in early 2015 (counting 2012’s Oceania, this strangely drawn-out gesture makes a trilogy). Corgan promises (or threatens) here, “I will bang this drum ’til my dying day.” Surely, there’s got to be still more buried greatness to actually come?

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