In a period where alt rock and it’s off-shoots reigned supreme, The Smashing Pumpkins were (and continue to be) a truly unique voice in the 90s zeitgeist.
This is another case where I don’t need really need to recommend the band to you. Most people my age (or anywhere up to 15 years older) who grew up on rock music likely hear the phrase “the world is a vampire…” and are transported back to another time. Because, it cannot be understated, The Pumpkins were a prominent part of the life soundtrack of many 90s kids.
A large part of what saw them become such an intrinsic sound of the time is their broad appeal, which comes not from a “catch-all” middle of the road sound, but rather a multifaceted exploration of multiple genres. While many of their peers had clear punk influences, The Smashing Pumpkins’ influences were deeper and broader. Their music was much denser and guitar-centric and varied in sound. Throughout their discography, they have touched on alternative rock, progressive, shoegaze, electronic, and synth pop. So many people could find their way to this band via different genres, and because of this the band became an institution in the mid 90s.
The number of instantly recognisable hits The Smashing Pumpkins put out in this period is pretty hard to rival. The consecutive albums ‘Siamese Dream’ and ‘Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness’ are absolute juggernauts in rock history, being responsible for an obscene amount of iconic songs. To then follow up with the dramatic shift to electronic and synth driven pop rock was both brave and inspired. It may be heresy in some circles but, while I love the previous albums, ‘Adore’ will forever be a resonant favourite.
The Smashing Pumpkins have broken up, sort of reunited, had a revolving lineup, proper reunited, released albums, EPs, long form projects split into free singles, and more. Over thirty years since they first formed, Billy Corgan and The Smashing Pumpkins continue to explore different styles and genres, creating exciting and interesting music.