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Smashing Pumpkins, The - Adore
Label: Virgin Records
Release: 1998

Tracklisting:
To Sheila
Ava Adore
Perfect
Daphne Descends
Once Upon A Time
Tear
Crestfallen
Appels + Oranjes
Pug
The Tale of Dusty & Pistol Pete
Annie-Dog
Shame
Behold! The Night Mare
For Martha
Blank Page
17

Adore - Smashing Pumpkins, The
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Average Blamo User Rating: (100 votes)

This is not a rock album was the grumbly explanation from Billy Corgan, as to what Adore really is. He wasn't lying, with the exception of maybe "Ava Adore" and "Pug", there are really no rock songs on this album, which was recorded without the fired drummer, Jimmy Chamberlin. The Smashing Pumpkins went throught some very heartbreaking trama during their Mellon Collie era a fan being crushed in Ireland at a concert, Jimmy's father dying, Billy's mother dying, and then the death of keyboardist Jonathan Melvoin and the firing of Jimmy Chamberlin. You really couldn't have expected a strong album from them when they created Adore. Adore is a very low-key, but beautiful album, with piano, accoustic guitar and synthetic drumming replacing the angsty sound of loud to quiet guitars and scorching drums in previous Smashing Pumpkins albums. The absence of Chamberlin was replaced with drum machines, Matt Walker, and Kenny Arnoff, and that absence is sorely felt on some songs that could have benefited from his licks, like "Tale of dusty and pistol pete" "To shelia" "Daphne descends" and "Tear". Billy's subject matter on this album is extrememly personal, and some of the songs have a dynamic unmatched on other pumpkins albums. Such songs as "For martha" "Blank page" and "Behold! the nightmare" are beautiful tributes to his mother, and that seems to be the subject matter on most of the songs here.

While it was very admirable for The Smashing Pumpkins to record this album, their past tells us they could have had a better musical evolution, even with all the sadness.

Highlights - For Martha, Ava Adore, Pug, Behold! the Nightmare
Drawbacks - Shame, Annie-Dog, Daphne Descends.

Reviewer Rating of CD :

When listening to this fourth effort by the Smashing Pumpkins, you should be first able to get rid of any prejudice about what their music should or shouldn't (have) been. This is simply another side of Billy's musical universe, probably the deepest, darkest and most intimate. Poetry is all what this album is about. Starting with the haunting To Sheila sung with incredible sweetness and passion over quiet acoustic guitars evoking silent landscapes, Adore explores any possible new musical territory: from the drum bombing of the amazing Ava Adore single, on to the melody of Perfect and tracks such as Tear or The Tale Of Dusty And Pistol Pete which bridge their old material. There is even place for some techno stuff like Appels + Oranjes and the gothic, heavy electronic Pug. But it's in the ballads that the album really finds its heart, tracks like the acoustic Once Upon A Time or the beautiful piano of For Martha, both about Billy's mother whose death has been one of the main inspirations for the album. Adore goes at its most intimate on the late tracks like Shame, Behold! The Nightmare and Blank Page, whose line "take a day, plant some trees..." is the ultimate musical peak of the work and its most emotional moment. The absence of Jimmy's drumming is here replaced by beautiful electronic loops and quiet percussions which help define the melodic beauty of all of the songs which would have been otherwise overshadowed. But Adore stands out mainly for its gorgeous lyrics, almost in poem form, extremely touching because of their themes such as death, loss, loneliness and self analysis (Crestfallen), with an exceptional word choice and a delicacy unmatched in any of the Pumpkins' previous works. This is a really challenging work and a true masterpiece, just the opposite of the sometimes pompous Mellon Collie but just as powerful in its musical and poetic strength, which only shows if you are able and willing to dig for it.

Reviewer Rating of CD :

After the band fired Jimmy Chamberlin in 1996, it was believed that the Pumpkins would fizzle out, and lose all their "RAWKPOWER" that they once had. That's exactly what happened - and the band were all the more better for it. 1998's "Adore" finds Billy Corgan at his songwriting peak - he takes his two comrades, changes direction, and goes for a much softerhit than before. Commercially, it proved to be suicide, but musically, the band ended up with their best work.

There's much less clangers than before - in fact, only two of the songs are poor. First up for that is the boring, sludgy,useless "Ava Adore" - probably the most well-known song off of here. A dull dirge, basically - it's the only real attemptat rocking out on the album, but it's basically terrible. The other one would be "Shame" - a song that isn't really ultra-offensive, but proves to be just too damn long for what it is - another melodyless dirge.

Most of the others get by - the only other bad number is "Annie-Dog", which is again, basically melody-less. All the restthough, are good, and can easily stand up against any other Pumpkins song. Great start with the soft "To Shiela", beforegoing into "Ava Adore" (already discussed), and then we have the other hit single, "Perfect" - a million times better thanAva Adore. Probably the poppiest number on here - with it's sweet rhythm and choruses. "Daphne Descends" is a half-decentwork with another good chorus, and "Once Upon A Time" is a lot like perfect - another very slow, poppy number.

From these songs, we move right into your basic Pumpkin melodrama - "Tear" is probably the heaviest thing on here, with it'sbig choruses and huge dramatic moods and what-not - although it isn't that great. Following "Crestfallen", a pretty solidpiano ballad, we move right into experimentation - "Appels + Oranjes" is often slated, but is actually quite good, with it'sfast beats and weird atmospheres - it's a nice break from all the slow, melodyless stuff that's on this album.

"Pug" is another attempt at going for rock - it's quite good, and a lot better than "Ava Adore", mainly due to their being abetter stab at a melody on this one. Following that though, is one of the real doozies on the album - the fantastic "TheTale of Dusty and Pistol Pete" has good lyrics (for a change), inoffensive singing, and is incredibly solid overall - plus,it has a good drum-machine pattern. Great work.

"Annie-Dog" and "Shame", unfortunately, both follow that classic - but then the band go all-out and hit 2 classics in a row.First up is "Behold! The Night Mare" - a definite classic, with it's nice, slow atmosphere. Much like an even better versionof "Once Upon A Time". And then the band promptly launch into, without a doubt, their greatest achievement - after dippingtheir toes into epics for a loong time, they head right in here with the 9-minute "For Martha". An excellent, excellentwork - every note is meticulously planned out and done to perfection - even the looping melodies at the end. It probably took more time to put together than pretty much everything else on this record, and it's all the better for it. Best songthe band ever made.

The record concludes in a minimalistic fashion (As it should after a searing epic) with a piano ballad - one of Billy'sstrongest, too. "Blank Page" is a little melodramatic in places, but is very good overall. And finally, it all ends with "17" - a little sequence of notes. All of this gives the album a high 8 score - it's a great album. Easily the best albumin the whole SP catalogue, and an album that Billy will more than likely never even come close to again.



Reviewer Rating of CD :

my first review for Blamo record reviews and I picked the Smashing Pumpkins "Adore"

Adore is the only Pumpkins album I didn't "get" right away, it took a while to grow on me. If you like the Pumpkins and own this album but aren't an Adore fanatic you, too, should give it some listens, find one or two songs you like and pull the album out every once in a while, and soon you will find yourself skipping over less and less songs. If you don't own this album yet you should, I give it 5 stars out of 5, but don't expect to fall in love with it immediately.

Well maybe you will fall in love with one song immediately. For me it was the first track "To Shiela" This a simple and honest love song, quiet and acousic, a rarity for Mr. Corgan and about as far from "Zero" as you can get. While there is an emotional rawness to much of Adore, there is strength and elegance behind the songs as well. It is an album made by a survivor, which is something most people haven't picked up on. Billy had a divorce, and yet can still write a love song like "To Shiela" Maybe he didn't write it about his new relelationship with Yelena, maybe he did, who knows what it's about, but the fact that he has faith in love after all of the many trials he went through is evident and was a novel theme coming from the Pumpkins.

Billy's obsession with the darker side of love comes out in the big hit single from Adore "Ava Adore," a cold electronic based song with hard beats that I happen to like a lot. I like this song much better now that I did back then, before I just liked the beats but now I really love the song. It's one of the few songs on the album that reminds you of pre-Adore Pumpkins, and the more I listen to it the more I think it is a love song, but it's just an old-Pumpkins style love song, complete with jadedness and cynicism but still sexy.

The third song, Perfect, is pure pop perfection. Not as cool as 1979, but sweeter and prettier.

The first three songs are all pretty typical and predictable, not so with the rest of the album. It's time for the meat of the album, though. From here on out it's all surpises. Once Upon a Time is almost folksy in the way it sounds, and Annie-Dog has dissonant and sparse piano accompaniment. Not everyone in the on-line Pumpkins community loves Annie-Dog, I think it is raw and wonderful and very evocative of emotion and a unique vocal from Billy.

There are some great songs of sadness on this album, incliding Tear, a loud noisy bleak song of desparation, but lacking any sort of sinister quality such songs would have with Jimmy as a drummer, which I actually really like, and Crestfallen, a equally sad but much quieter pretty piano-based number.

Then there are some epic songs on the album as well that are quite beautiful, including the Night Mare Rides On! and the Tale of Dusty and Pistol Pete that are Adore's version of possibly, say, "Porcelina" from Mellon Collie but again without a drummer sound compltely different from anything you've heard from the Pumpkins before. These songs atmosphere and beauty make up for the lack of dynamic contrast and explosiveness that Jimmy's drumming brought "Porcelina"

Finally, if there is one reason to buy this album it if "For Martha" the song written by Billy for his mother who had passed on after a battle with cancer. "long horses we are born, creatures more than torn, mourning our way home" are a sample of the excellent lyrics to this song

In short this album is sad and dark, with stripped down instrumentation and more so than any other Pumpkins album contains dense, dense subject matter shown with total honesty. Underneath it all, however, is Billy, a man who came out on top from all of his trials and tribulations to be able to release an album of such great quality and I think the songs were written from a place of hope and positivity. It's hard to get all of that from one listen so if you don't like it at first, try try again :)

Reviewer Rating of CD :

wow the best pumpkins album is the one that most casual fans hate.

sure, it sounds like billy might have jumped on the electronica band wagon a bit. but it frees him to experiment in new ways.

for one, there's NO guitar layering on here, that had become the hall mark and stalemark of the band. plus, his song writing is great, the lyrics are ACTUALLY depressing, and it features the song "for martha" which is a fucking beautiful song billy wrote for his dead mom. i have a feeling he spent more time writing and arranging this one song than all the other songs in his career combined.

the melodies on the best songs are very beautiful, it's strange, who knew corgan could write melodies?! the album is pretty mellow throughout, with a few songs "rocking" relatively, further proof that corgan should stick to quiet songs.

if you know nothing about the pumpkins but "taht let me out!" song you thought was kick ass on the radio, then avoid this. but if you like songs with real melodies and emotions, buy this.

plus, since the songs are mostly mellow, billy doesn't feel the need to squeal his head off like a dying something or other which he always does on the rock songs.

*does obscene hand motion*

Reviewer Rating of CD :

I LOVE THIS ALBUM! This is my very favorite album of all time! If I were on a remote desert island and had nothing, I would have to have this album and my portable cd player.

Don't listen to people who say this album is shit. It's the most beautiful record, and very under appreciated.

Reviewer Rating of CD :

Adore...the most underrated Smashing Pumpkins album of all time, for sure, by most people. I disagree. I think "Adore" is good, but it's nothing amazing. "Adore" has many great songs, like:
To Sheila
Perfect
Tear
Crestfallen
The Tale Of Dusty And Pistol Pete
Shame
Behold! The Nite Mare
For Martha
Blank Page

The only problem is that the 'bad' songs suck. "Ava Adore" is one of the worst Pumpkins' songs ever, and it is the main single. Things like that make me dislike "Adore" a little bit. Other songs that really should have remained put away are, "Pug" and "Annie-Dog." Both songs are weak.

All in all, "Adore" is good...and some of their best songs are on this album. The problem, as I said, is that there are also some horrible songs on it. You should buy it, but get "Mellon Collie" and "MACHINA" first.

Reviewer Rating of CD :

For me, this represented the Pumpkins at their finest. Stripped of the heavy guitars that had been a crucial part of their sound prior to this, Corgan opted for 80s style synths in their place following a tragic few years which had seen deaths, divorce & the departure of Jimmy Chamberlin.

Without the bombastic sound of previous releases, Corgan's songwriting had to shine here & shine it did. This is a beautiful record & one that is criminally underrated. One of the very best of the 1990s.

Reviewer Rating of CD :

Other reviews of Adore take a New Historicist approach to attain a deeper understanding of the album. Disregard the press machine, and disregard any interviews from the band about it. The only explanation that you will need is that the band took a completely different approach to writing for Adore, consequently working in their favor, at least artistically. Adore is unlike anything else in the catalogue. Adore manages to construct and maintain a pervasive sense of unity; the mood has been described as autumnal. The trademark visceral sound is absent, but with Chamberlin gone, Corgan all but avoids the strategy which has made him famous. The album's strength is its embrace of the subtle; there is no howl, there is no rage. Instead, within palpable melancholy lies grace. "To Sheila" is cool, calculated, and non-chalant- not to mention poised. Corgan does not posture, he does not curse, he does not damn. Instead, he questions himself perhaps at the most bitter time in his career, and the frailty of what lied beneath the layers of sonic noise of the past albums is captivating. Each note of "For Martha" is precise and well-planned. Looming over the lyrics, hints of a narrative begin to appear, but if this is a concept album, it is successful for being low-key about it. To look at each song as the progression of a narrative helps to explain why "Ava Adore"- ripe with misogny and arrogance- was included. Think of Adore as a novel- it takes an idea, develops it, and once finished, you are left on your own to make sense of it. That idea? An abusive relationship between a boy and a girl, in which the boy causes the girl to leave, they take a second chance at love, but the girl is killed in a car accident- leaving the boy alone to find his way through life. Finally, the overall sound of the album is so organic, and so divergent from its contemporaries, that it escapes being tied to a specific year and scene. Their best studio work, although not representative of the rest of their output. An engaging and interesting album whose influence is beginning to spread throughout alt. rock.

Reviewer Rating of CD :

 


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