The Smashing Pumpkins


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Siamese Dream is to Smashing Pumpkins as Green is to REM, if one is game for analogies. The albums pushed their respective bands to the top of the charts. Though REM has straddled the pop and art sensibilities of its music quite expertly, Smashing Pumpkins, it might be argued, lost the plot somewhere. Before Smashing Pumpkins (arguably) became irrelevant, the band released a number of singles containing some fairly amazing B-sides from the Siamese Dream recording sessions. Most of the B-sides would see release only in the U.K. and on the B-side collection Pisces Iscariot, a rather mixed bag of charms and throwaways. Two of the better B-sides found their way onto the Today single. "Hello Kitty Kat" saw perhaps its finest moment during the naming process. It's a decent song, but it follows the formulaic adolescent rage modus operandi of Smashing Pumpkins a bit too closely; it's good but nothing new. "Obscured" is another story. Perhaps Billy Corgan's finest song, it's a fractured, touching ballad that shimmers and sways most convincingly. "Obscured" is the kind of song for which repeat buttons on CD players were designed. There's none of the awkward, goofy rage or the juvenile lyrics of old (to which the band would return on later albums). Had Pisces Iscariot never been released, Today would be a single worth searching for -- if only for its great finale, "Obscured."

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