Smashing Pumpkins - Shiny and Oh So Bright, Vol. 1 / LP: No Past. No Future. No Sun.
The Smashing Pumpkins
Shiny and Oh So Bright, Vol. 1 / LP: No Past. No Future. No Sun.
It was all coming together again; The Smashing Pumpkins after years of fighting, breakups and partial reunions the band was finally back together, 90s alt was back baby. That would be the case in an ideal world, a world where The Smashing Pumpkins found a sound that honored their past but also looked forward towards the future. Shiny and Oh So Bright, Vol. 1 / LP: No Past. No Future. No Sun. is not that record, not even close. The album opens with "Knights of Malta" a meandering violin driven track that sounds like some insane amalgamation of soul, alt-rock and classical maybe? The lyrics are so inane and devoid of inspiration that it is almost hard to listen to. These songs have the lyrical diversity of lullabies mixed with the musical aesthetic of 1997. These songs seriously feel like word soup, where you could plug and play any word and bam you have a Smashing Pumpkins song. Gone are the soaring emotionally driven tunes and in their place we are left with mediocre dad rock. The only thing that makes this feel like The Smashing Pumpkins at all is Billy Corgan's voice, and it's unmistakable rasp. "Travels" is perhaps the worst offender with the line "See love, see time/See death, see life/See tears, See bright/See day from night,” and a similar lines repeated in the song. Maybe if it was two minutes of this, fine but "Travels" stretches out to almost five and a half minutes. It says nearly nothing just like the rest of this record. It is not like every song has to create some massive emotional response, but god they need to say something!
"Solara" has this decent rock beat underneath it, but then again it feels like Corgan is just completely bankrupt when it comes to lyrics. I mean how many times can you repeat "I'm not everyone" before we get the fucking point. "Alienation" is another head scratcher that at one moment feels like it will be an anthem, but then shifts into this little springy verse that is just odd. Gracefully the album is only 31 minutes long, showing that perhaps the band don't really give a shit if it's any good either. It is extremely hard to try and reunite so many years after your glory days and be able to put something groundbreaking out. It's so nearly impossible that you at least need to appease some fans, give them something new to get excited about. Shiny and Oh So Bright, Vol. 1 / LP: No Past. No Future. No Sun. does absolutely none of that. The last few tracks at least pick up the swamp like pace of the album but its nowhere near enough to make it worthwhile. I don't know who this album is for, or what the band is trying to say, but the truth is I don't think they do either. This is what happens when you try to force something that's no longer there, it stinks.
1.9 out of 10