10 Best Smashing Pumpkins Songs
The modern rock boom in the early '90s wouldn't have been nearly as successful without Smashing Pumpkins' songs. Consisting of frontman Billy Corgan, guitarist James Iha, bassist D'arcy Wretzky and drummer Jimmy Chamberlin, the outfit made their mark with 1991's 'Gish.' It wasn't until their second album, 'Siamese Dream,' that the Pumpkins became a household name.
Despite worldwide success, tension within the group caused them to break up in 2000. Corgan later revived the project in 2007 and continues to release music under the Smashing Pumpkins name.
To celebrate the band's long and storied career, Diffuser.fm counts down the 10 Best Smashing Pumpkins Songs.
‘That’s the Way (My Love Is)’
After the Smashing Pumpkins broke up in 2000, many fans wondered if their beloved Chicago alt rockers would ever reunite. Much to everyone's surprise, the band reformed in 2007. Corgan and Chamberlin were the only original members to take part in the reunion, and with replacements for Iha and Wretzky, they released their comeback album, 'Zeitgeist.' The record received mixed reviews, but second single 'That's the Way (My Love Is)' is one of the Smashing Pumpkins songs that reminds us why we fell in love with them in the '90s.
When the Smashing Pumpkins released their debut album, 1991's 'Gish,' the world got a preview of what was to come. 'Rhinoceros' was an early indicator of the band's trademark “start soft/rock loud” approach that has been incorporated into so much of their music. The video for 'Rhinoceros' features live footage from a show in London, but it didn't come out as planned, so director Angela Conway pushed it near the end of the clip. The near six-minute classic comes in at No. 9 on our list of the 10 Best Smashing Pumpkins Songs.
In 1991, a musical revolution took place as a movement labeled grunge took over the airwaves. Many critics called the Smashing Pumpkins the next Nirvana. Corgan channeled all that pressure — as well as problems within the band — into his writing for 'Siamese Dream.' 'Disarm' was the subject of many speculations on what the song meant, with lyrics like ”what I choose is my choice” and “the killer in me is the killer in you” adding to the mystery. Corgan cleared things up when he explained that the track was about his rocky relationship with his parents growing up.
While 'Disarm' landed at No. 8 on our list of the 10 Best Smashing Pumpkins Songs, its B-side 'Landslide' places a notch higher. Corgan decided to do an acoustic cover of the Fleetwood Mac track and even received the blessing of original singer Stevie Nicks. 'Landslide' was included on the compilation album 'Pisces Iscariot' and went on to become a modern rock radio hit. The Smashing Pumpkins proved they could bridge the generation gap between music fans of any age.
The most successful and pop-friendly song of the Smashing Pumpkins' career almost didn't make the final cut. While the band and producer Flood were putting the finishing touches on their double-disc epic, 1995's 'Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness,' Corgan was told that '1979' wasn't good enough to be on the album. The frontman was determined to prove Flood wrong and completed the song in just four hours. The producer loved the new version of the track, and the rest is history.
After the multi-platinum success of 'Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness,' expectations were high for their follow-up, 1998's 'Adore.' The album took a more electronica-influenced route, but second single 'Perfect' was a continuation of '1979' with its synth-pop elements and catchy guitar riffs. The song's music video was literally a direct sequel to '1979,' using the same teenage actors and continuing their adventures from the previous clip.
‘Farewell and Goodnight’
'Farewell and Goodnight,' off of 'Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness,' is a rare song in which all members of the band sing on the track. It makes our list of the best Smashing Pumpkins songs since it's so surreal to hear Corgan joined by Iha, Wretzky and Chamberlin, all harmonizing with each other. “Heart strung is your heart frayed and empty / 'Cause it's hard luck, when no one understands your love,” Iha sadly sings. It's hard not to think this is what Iha felt toward Corgan as their friendship deteriorated.
Executives at Virgin Records were against the idea of releasing 'Cherub Rock' as the lead-off single from 'Siamese Dream,' but Corgan insisted and got his wish. 'Cherub Rock' addressed Corgan's issue with the indie rock community and accusations that his band “sold out” when the Pumpkins signed with a major label. While not the hit Corgan was hoping for, fans have grown to appreciate it over the years, thus making it No. 3 on our list of the top Smashing Pumpkins songs.
Coming in at No. 2 is the song that started it all for the Smashing Pumpkins' ascension to arena rock status. With its distorted guitars, dreamy vocals and a music video that showed the band driving an ice cream truck, 'Today' is one of the core songs that defined youth in the '90s. Underneath the playful tones of the track were dark lyrics about suicide and depression, but many listeners never noticed. This is why the teen angst anthem ranks on our 10 Best Smashing Pumpkins Songs list.
The fourth single from 'Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness' was the Smashing Pumpkins' most ambitious song ever. The band combined soaring guitar riffs with a 30-string orchestral backdrop that pleased both fans and critics. The music video for 'Tonight, Tonight' was just as successful, nabbing six MTV Video Music Awards in 1996 for its turn-of-the-century silent film look. The track proved that the Smashing Pumpkins weren't just the next Nirvana, and that's why it's our No. 1 song on the list.