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Smashing Pumpkins, The - MACHINA / The Machines of God
Label: Virgin Records
Release: 2000

Tracklisting:
The Everlasting Gaze
Raindrops and Sunshowers
Stand Inside Your Love
I of the Mourning
The Sacred and Profane
Try, Try, Try
Heavy Metal Machine
This Time
The Imploding Voice
Glass and the Ghost Children
Wound
The Crying Tree of Mercury
With Every Light
Blue Skies Bring Tears
Age of Innocence

LP bonus track: Speed kills
MACHINA / The Machines of God - Smashing Pumpkins, The
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Average Blamo User Rating: (69 votes)

Along with Adore this is the Pumpkins forgotten masterpiece, while Siamese dream, Gish and Mellon Collie won us over with their catchy hooks and soaring melodies its this album that shows how great billy corgan can be.

The album kicks in with "the everlasting gaze", a bass heavy, thundering first single with the grim lyric "you know im not dead" and a little rant at the end of the song. The greatest opening song since cherub rock. from there on the album lilts, crunches and booms its way through such great tracks as the metal tinged "stand inside your love" and "try,try,try" an almost perfect pop song.

the heart of the album beats in the form of the ten minute opus of glass and the ghost children, a song strucured in three parts with a weird piano/tape recording ditty in the middle. this is the pumpkins at their creepies and most pretentious. corgan seems to be at his best when he indulges in his ego.

the best comes near the end with "with every light", a gorgeously pretty song with corgan at his happiest ever singing over a wonderful piano piece, the perfect driving in the sun song..(alongside scar tissue of course)

ignore the petty reviews given by reviewers who put it down due to its huge pretentiousness, this is the pumpkins album that feels the most confident and powerful........just buyit to see why the pumpkins are the best band ever!

Reviewer Rating of CD :

Jimmy Chamberlin returns to the Smashing Pumpkins for their final studio album, Machina. Machina hits you like a brick with "Everlasting Gaze", and the first line of the album "you know I'm not dead" says it all, Billy Corgan was going to save rock-n-roll and come back even stronger than he was before the slumped success of Adore. He failed, and it was because he tried too hard.

Machina, musically, isn't a bad album, but you get the sense The Smashing Pumpkins were forcing themselves to be completely perfect on this album. Some songs borderline of snobbery with the way it is mixed. There is nothing wrong with clever mixing hard work, but sometimes there can be too much of a good thing. Clocking in at the longest single CD pumpkins album, Machina is half and half. Half Tolerable, and half almost tolerable. It appears too strong and almost intimidates the listener at some points. Particularly, "Blue skies bring tears" and "The crying tree of mercury" are two of the worst Pumpkin recordings. The Smashing Pumpkins have never had a problem sounding "big" with just their music the way it is written and comes together, unfortunately, they wanted to sound ever bigger than they could have been, and they did, and it left a lot of fans with a bitter taste in their mouth.

Highlights - I of the Mourning, Stand Inside your Love, Glass and the Ghost Children, Age of Innocense
Drawbacks - Blue Skies Bring Tears, The Crying Tree of Mercury.

Reviewer Rating of CD :

Oh dear. 2000 saw the Pumpkins seeminly rejuvenated, and back to "RAWK N' RAWL", thanks to the all-new, blonde, and cleanJimmy Chamberlin going back behind the drum sets. This is unfortunate, as it happened when the band were seemingly justabout to embark on a good musical path, set out by the excellent "Adore". However, Billy, being Billy, got scared by thefact that Adore was a flop. So, he tried to return to rock - and this album then flopped. So, he then broke the band up.

And looking at this album, breaking up couldn't have come at a better time. This album is incredibly poor. Thing is, notonly does Billy try to return to rock (failing miserably), he also makes several other fatal errors - giving the album anawful concept that's worthy of an extreme Yes record, and enlisting Flood as the producer, who proceeded to drown the entire album, ruining songs that could have actually been good. Add all the "GATMOG/Black Wings" stuff that went aroundthe album, and it's obvious that Billy was trying desperately to make his own modern-day version of "Quadrophenia" or "TheWall". Unlike these classic rock operas though, MACHINA was a total flop. So Billy canned everything, thankfully.

Anyway, to the album. "The Everlasting Gaze" is both a very deceptive song, and a very awful song. Boring, horrid riff, andsome of the worst singing ever - Billy's voice has now gone totally nasal. Terrible lyrics, too. This song is utterlyterrible - one of the worst in the entire SP catalogue. It doesn't get much better with "Raindrops + Sunshowers", a songthat could have been ok, but is drowned in piss-poor Flood production.

It's here that we actually get the two decent moments of this record - first, we have a great ballad, in "Stand Inside YourLove", with it's great melody, and big bombastic choruses. And then we have even more bombast in the fast-paced, sizzling"I Of The Mourning", which is another great number. And that's it. Following that is "The Sacred and Profane", a songthat again, could have been, but is destroyed by it's production. The song is flat, to say the least.

Chances are, though, that nothing could have saved the next two - "Try, Try, Try" is a dull, lifeless ballad, and then weget the worst moment of the entire record - the dreadful, atrocious "Heavy Metal Machine" is even more lifeless, dull andhorrific than the album opener (mainly thanks to the 6-minute running time)...christ, what a terrible song. The melody isonce again, crap. As is everything else....UGH.

The album never recovers from this - which, considering some of the other songs, is very unfortunate. Production is the killer for a lot of these - "This Time" is probably the most emotional and heartfelt song here, but it's wrecked. "TheImploding Voice" is another boring, dull rocker - although it's simplicity makes it a lot better than the two aforementioned"RAWK" numbers. Sheer pretension follows with the 9-minute "Glass and the Ghost Children"...basically, a dirge, with somepoor filler parts thrown in...and well, it's basically lifeless. Billy here sounds completely uninterested - his voice isemotionless. Poor.

"Wound" does have some life, but it's not that great. And the next song is another boring dirge - the dreadful "Crying Treeof Mercury" is completely ruined by production, and Billy going for serious melodrama. "With Every Light" is a happy number, but it's pretty out of place when sandwiched in between "Mercury" and the next number, another boring, lifeless,dirge. "Blue Skies Bring Tears" is awful. Finally, the album ends with "Age of Innocence", which is at the least, ok.

This album gets a 3 from me - out of all the ways that the Pumpkins could have finished, this was the worst. A dreadful album...sorry guys, but it stinks. Low 3.

Reviewer Rating of CD :

this album is so wonderful that I don't even know where to start. Stand Inside Your Love and Wound are great love songs, I especially love the spiritual element to them. The spiritual depth of this whole album resonates with me, Billy is finally a man who is happy and at peace in the midst of all that is going on, and I find that profound. Then there are songs that in my mind are more direct, like This Time, necessary comments on the state of the band and why the band is going to break up. My favorite song on the album has elemts of both. Age of Innocence rocks like nothing else, it's joyous, exuberant, and a very appropriate end to the Pumpkins recording career. It has a grooving and bad-ass bass line that makes you dance, and I take the message to be that moving on can be hard, and it's sad to say goodbye, but also if you love life you have to constantly grow and change and the Pumpkins love life. The spirit of the Pumpkins was one of wanting to create something amazing and special and new, and Age of Innocence assured me that their break up was in the same spirit.

Glass and the Ghost Children is atmospheric and haunting, like you're floating down a river and the song changes like the scenery and the water beneath you changes. This is one song that I feel is more open to interpreation, but I don't mind it...everyone can make what they want to out of it and it's still a pretty song. Blue Skies Bring Tears is a beautiful, and highly seductive song as well. I know some people are wierded out by the supposed story of this album, and I can only blame Billy for being the one to talk about it, but the two examples of songs above to me are just great songs, story be damned. The whole bs surrounding the album doesn't have to change the way you listen to the album, becasue the bs doesn't itself make the album bad.


Some songs are very personal, With Every Light is a song about his connection with his mother who had passed away, This Time is about what it is like to be in a band that is breaking up, SIYL is for Yelena and maybe Wound as well. And Age of Innocence I've all ready explained is about the band, but there is still an element of it that you can interpret for yourself and apply to your own life. I think that songs such as this time and Age of Innocence are so much more directly related to his own public life than anything he's done before, it's about the breakup of the Pumpkins, a band that as a fan I felt I owned a part in it's success, and that's what I attribute the crypticness of his talking about the album to. We really have no part in his personal life, but we kind of do have a part of his life as a Pumpkin. He wanted to speak about it, and give a last album to the fans, but didn't want to have to come out and tell all of the internal issues of the band directly - which is fine - but I wish he would've been more simple and direct during the last days of the Pumpkins and said something direct like "I think the songs on Machina speak for themselves about our state of mind as a band, I mean we are brekaing up, but we're doing it when we can still make some great music together" If the songs weren't so great I would've called his crypticness a pussy way out, but the songs ARE great and DO speak for themselves.

So just give the album a chance, don't take it too seriously, and enjoy. Dance to it - especially to Age of Innoncence. --MA

Reviewer Rating of CD :

pretention reigns surpreme on this album, and not the fun kind of pretention! not the pretention where you sing about the beginning of life and shit: the kind of self obsessed pretention corgan does so often. an incredibly noisy album too.

the production is in fact the most noteworthy thing about this album. at this point in his career, corgan had become a great producer. the shit that's going on in this album, wow! it's so noisey, so dense, so nutso that it can be fun to listen to.

unfortunately, corgan's song writing was in the crapper. he has rebounded with zwan (no matter what anybody says) but this is his nadir. it sounds like billy did the production before he wrote the music. honestly. there are a few nice songs on it, like age of innocnce (actually a really good song) and... i dunno, everlasting gaze is a decent wannabe pumpkin rocker.

the rest? pale retreads, wanna be goth, epics with no substance, distortion without any notes being played.

get it if you want to learn how a fucking crazy production job can be. do not get it for the song writing. a similar album to this, is Union by Yes a band much more talented than the pumpkins ever were. a nutso production job with no song writing at all. don't listen to either, for your sake.

Reviewer Rating of CD :

"MACHINA / the machines of God" is the Smashing Pumpkins best album. Others may disagree with that, but by me, they are all wrong. "MACHINA" is brilliant. The CD contains 15 songs, and 13 of them are absolutely great. This is the Pumpkins final CD, unfortunately, but they couldn't have left on a better note. The album leads off with "The Everlasting Gaze," a heavy, distorted song, that also, was the first single off the album. After that comes "Raindrops And Sunshowers," and though many people don't love this song, I sure do. Everytime it's raining, I get the CD out and listen to it as I stare into the outside. "Stand Inside Your Love," the next song, is the second single off the album, and the most popular song off the album as well. "I Of The Mourning" is next. It is good, but a lot of people find this song sort of annoying. Next, is "Sacred And Profane," which is one of my all-time favourite songs. "Try, Try, Try" is next, and though it is a good song, it never deserved to be the third single off the album. After that, everything is great, except for "The Imploding Voice" and "The Crying Tree Of Mercury." The best songs off the album are:
The Everlasting Gaze
Raindrops + Sunshowers
Stand Inside Your Love
The Sacred And Profane
Try, Try, Try
This Time
Wound
With Every Light
Blue Skies Bring Tears
Age Of Innocense

Get this the next time you are at a record store. It is one of the best albums ever made.

Reviewer Rating of CD :

 


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