The Smashing Pumpkins – Thru the Eyes of Ruby

high school week, eh? where to begin? my musical awakening began probably back in 6th grade (by awakening, i'm basically referring to when i jumped off the assembly line of manufactured crap feed by the top 40 dispensers), and it was not a moment too soon. there were a few bands that, if not immediately responsible, at least helped ease the ride. the pumpkins were one of them. the sonic, fuzzy wonderland that was siamese dream helped immensely. but we're not talking about junior high, we're talkin' high school. mellon collie and the infinite sadness was released about a month and a half after the beginning of my freshman year, and it really was the perfect soundtrack for it: sprawling, moody, unrequited, self-absorbed, pretentious; it fit the year like a glove. the fact that the pumpkins themselves basically acted like a bunch of freshmen didn't hurt. here's one of the album's opuses:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KxhSp3qumH4

i didn't want to play the pumpkins, but i can't deny the role they played. and if i was going for a pumpkins vid alone, i probably would've picked something else, but, oh well. i never really bothered with anything after mellon collie, but that and that before it was pretty awesome. chamberlain is hands down one of the best drummers of his era, if not beyond. billy, despite being an insufferable prick, is also underrated in his chops, but i was underrated in my time too. 😉

6 votes, average: 7.83 out of 106 votes, average: 7.83 out of 106 votes, average: 7.83 out of 106 votes, average: 7.83 out of 106 votes, average: 7.83 out of 106 votes, average: 7.83 out of 106 votes, average: 7.83 out of 106 votes, average: 7.83 out of 106 votes, average: 7.83 out of 106 votes, average: 7.83 out of 10 (6 votes, average: 7.83 out of 10)
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33 thoughts on “The Smashing Pumpkins – Thru the Eyes of Ruby”

  1. Since we have actually been drawing some LTEs in the section of the WGOM lately I thought I would spark a debate that might extend this 20+ streak.

    Pumpkins or Nirvana?

      1. I may as well throw in a vote for the Pumpkins. Similar to hj, they were, more or less, my intro to music. Back when I was in the 8th grade, I purchased my first cds: Dookie, The Blue Album, and Mellon Collie. Of course, it appears our musical paths diverged wildly after that, but the Pumpkins still hold somewhat of a special place in my heart even if I didn't listing to anything after Mellon Collie.

        That, and I've always hated Nirvana.

        1. That actually makes sense to me. The choice between the more melodic Pumpkins and the noisy Nirvana, kind of matches what I've noticed about our respective metal (or metal-like) tastes. Namely, I feel like my tastes veer more toward noise/drone than the more classic/melodic (I kind of want to use "symphonic" here, but that's probably not accurate) metal that you prefer.

        1. You mean that Billy was a better musician than Nirvana. He was considered the Prince [Rogers Nelson] of alt-rock. I got the sense that he never let any one else's instrumental take make the album (at least through Mellon Collie, which is the last I listened). Sure, he'd let them record their parts, but once they left the studio, he'd re-record them.

    1. I don't really know enough about either to form an opinion - but I do have a semi-related antecdote re: Nirvana. When I was in Omaha to see The Hold Steady last weekend, my brother said he had a dorm lip synching contest that night that was 90's themed. He said he was supposed to do "Whoop, There It Is". We were appauled, and started suggesting alternative songs. He said that everyone's song was picked for them by the RAs, because a kid that was born in '89 knows jack all about actual 90s culture. Anyway, we decided to start naming other songs he could do and one of us said "Smells Like Teen Spirit". Then I said, "If you're gonna do Nirvana, do 'Rape Me'." My brother's face just dropped and he looked at me and said "That's a real song? How does it go?" "About how you'd expect."

    2. I will throw in for the Pumpkins as well. However, I was never a fan of the vocals. He really can't come close to replicating the studio voice during a live show and that is really a black mark in my book.

  2. My brother really got into Smashing Pumpkins last year. He was really thinking he was on to something new, until I told him Mellon Collie came out when I was in 3rd or 4th grade.

    1. I hope that didn't make him stop listening, as kids these days are wont to do when things are shown to be old.

  3. Since we have actually been drawing some LTEs in the section of the WGOM
    yeah, weird, right? i'm getting all nervous now that some people have been paying attention.

    Pumpkins or Nirvana?
    it's kind of apples and oranges for me. they both have the charms and i liked them for different reasons. i can definitely agree with the statement that the pumpkins were better musicians. nirvana got me to start playing guitar, but the pumpkins made me halfway proficient at it.

  4. Nirvana hands down.

    I like Gish and Siamese Dreams but after that wasn't a whole lot that grabbed me. Also I have to agree about BC's singing ability. I saw the Smashing Pumpkins at the Aquatennial Block Park sometime in the late 1990's and was shocked how bad his voice was.

    1. I liked Gish a lot, but I felt that Siamese Dream let me down. The problem might have been that I first listened to it on an airplane. Mellon Collie was just a big, overdone pop album, and we loved that for what it was (Meatloaf for the "alternative" majority). But Nirvana was edgy and different and hard and challenging and covered Meat Puppets.

      I would have ranked the Pumpkins behind the big four from Seattle: Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, and Alice In Chains. Probably still would, although my opinion of Pearl Jam has sunk with everything I've heard since the first second of the last track of Vitalogy.

      1. I have been in countless debates over Nirvana vs Pearl Jam. My main arguement has been that Nirvana greatly benefited in the discussion by Mr. Cobain's early exit. Pearl Jam has not benefited in the discussion by Mr. Vedder's longevity.

        Regarding BC of the Pumpkins: Can you imagine his success if he had set aside his pride and pulled in a quality voice when he launched the band?

        1. I only saw the Pumpkins in concert once* (Target Center, 1996 or 1997?), and I don't remember his voice being a problem. I liked his voice a lot on record (but I like less-than-stellar voices; flatness can be a virtue).

          *Weird, the biggest acts of my teenage years: Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, Nine Inch Nails, [placeholder for more I can't think of now], etc. made it near-impossible to see them in concert in the Twin Cities (without going to Lollapalooza). I ended up seeing PJ, and the Pumpkins after I graduated and after I lost much enthusiasm. Soundgarden was at Lolla '96 in Des Moines (the only one I saw while still enthusiastic). The others I missed.

          Instead, I saw half-baked facsimiles: Stone Temple Pilots, Bush, Live.
          At least Metallica and Rage Against the Machine made it through town a few times, and Porneau for Pyros once before JA reformed. Sonic Youth came through a lot, but they weren't "Big".

              1. Oh, I saw them, too. (I think. It would have been at an Edgefest. I eventually almost bought the CD with the Candy corn cover.)

                I also saw Korn and Limp Bizkit and Deftones.

                1. Every time a new Deftones CD comes out, I think "I've heard their stuff, no need to get this one". Then eventually, I give it a listen and I find myself liking it more than I thought I would.

                  That's how I end up with 6 Deftones albums, yet I really wouldn't describe their music as anything great.

        2. Of the big four out of Seattle, only Pearl Jam has survived*. I think that from Vitalogy on, they went one way and I went another, so that hurts them in my mind. I really think that's a great album though, on par with In Utero. (Foxymop excepted).

          *Soundgarden has reunited though. If they come through town, it might be the first big-venue show I attend in a long time.

          1. I would see Soundgarden as well. The wife and I signed up to see the Foo Fighters in a few weeks...I don't know if it's a nostalgia driven purchase or that I genuinely still like the band.

        3. I don't think Pearl Jam's 10 has aged well at all (whereas Nevermind is just as fresh as ever -- few songs rock as hard as Territorial Pissing). Haven't heard much since Vitalogy but have liked a few songs here and there, not enough to pick up a CD.

          Zoom brings up a good point, what would Nirvana's reputation be if Kurt survived? While I don't think the band would have lasted much longer anyway, I think it would have taken a lot of pretty crummy music to detract from the excitement that was Nevermind. (hmm I think I have October Classic Album Review topic).

          1. Nevermind was a cultural watershed--The Year Punk broke. Musically, it is vastly overrated, IMO. (It hasn't aged very well, either.)

            1. I still love "Drain You," but otherwise I feel about the same toward Nevermind. I'll cop to never being huge on Nirvana in the first place, but it does seem like they were a lot more symbolically important than they were good.

        4. My favorite Pearl Jam albums are No Code and Yield, followed by the first thirteen tracks of Vitalogy. Conversely, I've always thought Nevermind, while good, is somewhat overrated. I've never really liked Nirvana as much as Pearl Jam or Soundgarden.

          1. Yield is probably my favorite, but I find time for at least six or seven of their CDs regularly. For whatever reason I didn't get into No Code when it came out, but of late I've been spinning it constantly, wondering why it didn't click back then.

            1. I probably spent more time on Yield looking for the yield signs on each picture than listening to the music.
              This was the album that came out right before I finally saw them in concert -- which felt obligatory because they finally came to town. So I listened to it like three times before the concert, and then probably once more to figure out which of those songs they had played. I never really even tried.

              The concert was at the Target Center and I had upper deck far-end tickets. I could sense the difference between the speed of sound and the speed of light because I saw the drummer hit the drum before I heard it. I should have never gone.

  5. Nevermind was a cultural watershed--The Year Punk broke. Musically, it is vastly overrated, IMO. (It hasn't aged very well, either.)

    That really depends on where we're standing in relation to the current cultural tidal wave. I think that Nevermind will have an opportunity to play the role of watershed again in a few years leading a new generation of disenfranchised youts back to punk rock. Plus, due to his early exit, Cobain never really had the opportunity to be labeled a corporate shill and sell out which still helps raise the level of his street cred.

    Mellon Collie was among the first albums that I purchased and listened to on repeat for a short while, but Nevermind became part of the bedrock of my musical taste.

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