February 14, 2011


On a day dedicated to last-minute gifts and forced romance, Siamese Dream, the 1994 album by my beloved Smashing Pumpkins, does the martyred saint (Valentine) a small degree of justice. Not only does it capture the band (well, its cheif songwriter, anyway) at their best; it's features all the best parts of the early nineties grunge aesthetic (musically, visually, etc.). Siamese Dream surges with antagonism and resentment (after all this is the early nineties), but, like Gish before it and Melancholy and the Infinite Sadness after it, Siamese Dream ends with a schmaltzy doozy of lovesong: "Luna," comes after almost sixty minutes of emotional turmoil, existential uncertainty, and full-on rage.

Immediately following the abrasive, irritating taunt of "Sweet Sweet," (which is, of course, anything but), "Luna" is the opposite: sincere, but certainly not innocent. I'll be the first to admit that Billy Corgan has produced a massive amount unlistenable mush, but "Luna" isn't as naive or deluded as it first comes across. The popular myth surrounding the songwriting and production of Siamese Dream emphasizes Corgan's depression, which is noticeably channelled here. On any other album, a song like this might be considered overly sentimental, but on Siamese Dream it arrives quite unexpectedly--it's appearance is almost graceful--what begins like a tragedy ends as a comedy.

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