Remastered, repackaged and revisited some seventeen years after its original release, an album that stands as the band’s defining contribution to contemporary music.
A hugely ambitious project that could so easily have fallen into disregard for its sheer pomp and dramatic weight; it was very much Corgan’s creation, although James Iha’s contribution should not be underscored, despite the rejection of most of his own material. The epic opus of the final project was a multicoloured mammoth, with the band broadening their instrumental scope significantly, using both strings and piano to great effect throughout. Whilst there is a clear journey of imagery on the album, Corgan denies that it was a concept album, merely a tale of two halves.
The diversity of material is hugely commendable: the heavily orchestrated melodrama of ‘Tonight Tonight’, the fragile beauty of ‘Galapogos’, the compelling charm of ‘1979’, the hard-driving self-loathing of ‘Zero’ and the sheer brutality of ‘Bullet With Butterfly Wings’. An exhausting and thoroughly absorbing set.
The revamped release comes on five discs, including demos, alternate takes and remixes plus a further DVD of a live performance. Also available on four-disc vinyl, the ambition of the release meets that of the original concept. Having sold over ten million copies in the States alone, it is a record that everybody should own. Meticulous, majestic, momentous.
Words by TC