When you read things like “Smashing Pumpkins ‘Reunion’ Record”, after first making sure that it’s not just a clickbait headline, you’d be forgiven for finding yourself with a musical hard-on. Alas, the bizkit is a bit limp now. Granted, this is not a full reunion – there’s no D’Arcy – but the other 3 dudes are there, so there was promise. For me this record wasn’t what I wanted it to be. Until track 4. Solara kicks ass. But that was the peak, and then everything went downhill again, and that was after pretty much forcing myself through the first 3 tracks to get there. I’ll come right out and say this is all on me. Understand, I have a serious psycho-musicalogical history with the first two Pumpkins records. I believe they may have altered my brain chemistry. Frankly I don’t know what to do with a modern-day Billy Corgan. He’s matured and so have I so logic says I shouldn’t be expecting ‘Gish’ from these guys again. Honestly, I wasn’t. But that’s what I wanted. I wanted ‘Gish’ with better production. Which admittedly is unrealistic. And selfish. Arguably, this is a good record. The production is on point, Jimmy back behind the kit is in excellent form and the songs are well composed and delivered (though I think some of them have too much synth/keyboards in ‘em, but whatevs.) I believe critics will call this a solid reunion record, and that’s probably a fair statement. For me, after listening to ‘Solara’ 6 times in a row (ok, and a few spins of ‘Marchin On’), I turned it off and put on ‘Gish’, basking fully in my retrogrouch status. They say you can never go home again, and that may be true, but it would seem you can still visit that trashed group house with the beer-soaked carpets where you lived for awhile any time you want. Don’t take it personally, it’s not you, Billy, it’s me.
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