Released on July 27, 1993.

In anticipation of Sunday night’s show at the Garden, I listened through to the entire Smashing Pumpkins discography. I have some thoughts.


Actually, I shouldn’t have said “entire.” The Pumpkins catalog is massive. I started listening on October first and, in two weeks, I was only able to get though the 2007 release Zeitgeist. That being said, I did put ears to almost everything, including b-sides and rarities, from Gish to that point in the catalog. One more disclaimer: once I realized I was running out of time days before the show date, I skipped over Machina II/The Friends & Enemies of Modern Music. Remember that one? Double album, three additional EPs, over an hour and a half of music? The sequel of sorts to Machina/The Machines of God? Released on the internet in 2000? Yeah, I’m gonna have to circle back to that one later.


The big takeaway: Billy Corgan, pound for pound, might be the biggest talent of the ’90s alternative rock era. His songwriting ability is second-to-none, he’s a studio savant, and he’s a top-notch guitar player as well. A true triple-threat. My only knock on Billy musically is when he puts concept ahead of songwriting. And he’s said so himself: when he tries to hard to “create art,” he can sometimes lose the plot. When he focuses on writing great songs, he’s the best of the best.


Revisiting The Smashing Pumpkins Discography

Below, I’ll take you album-by-album through all that I listened to. Then, I’ll share a list of b-sides that all happen to be cover songs. Because that’s how much of a Pumpkinhead I am. Oh, and if you missed my 14-year-old’s review of the show at the Garden on Sunday night, you can check that out here. They did a “smashing” job of writing it up. Har!

  • 'Gish'

    A stellar debut that creates the galaxy that the Pumpkins would come to inhabit. Lost in the shuffle of great albums released in 1991, I’d argue it’s underrated. Or at least underappreciated.

  • 'Siamese Dream'

    You could make the argument that it’s the greatest alternative rock record of the 1990s. If it doesn’t sit on top of that mountain, it’s at least a short hike to the peak.

  • 'Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness'

    When Cobain died, Virgin basically told Billy: “You’re the new Cobain.” He responded by creating a double album that almost killed him and the band. And there’s not an ounce of fat on it. Incredible.

  • 'Adore'

    When you follow up your breakthrough album with an iconic double album, there’s bound to be a drop off. And there is with this one. Not having Jimmy in the band doesn’t help things. But there’s still great music on here and you get one facet of the Pumpkins amplified.

  • 'Machina/The Machines of God'

    A great collection of songs hobbled a bit by the “concept” label. Listening to this back-to-back with ‘Adore’ really puts a fine point on how important Jimmy Chamberlain is to this band. And the supporting tour with Melissa Auf der Maur on bass energized the Pumpkins’ live show.

  • Machina II/The Friends & Enemies of Modern Music

    All the songs that were supposed to make up the double concept album. I tried to get through them all; I failed. As I said above, I’ll try again.

  • 'Zeitgeist'

    Better than I remembered! I wasn’t a fan of the “hired guns” era of SP at the time, but again, there are some good songs on here.

  • 'Pisces Iscariot'

    It’s a must-listen, too. But redundant for me, as I spent the ’90s collecting all those songs on their various import singles. It’s a great shortcut for new fans, though.

Sign me up for the ROCK 92.9 email newsletter!

Be the first to know about rock news, upcoming shows, plus exclusive prizes, giveaways, and more!

By clicking "Subscribe" I agree to the website's terms of Service and Privacy Policy. I understand I can unsubscribe at any time.