Simplicity and mediocrity; words that need deliberate care when describing an album and its elemental composition. Simplicity implies clarity, while mediocrity implies inadequacy, and both are important dictional choices when reviewing music. In many instances, both words are used with similar implications, making it difficult to make a personal verdict based off of a review. However, if one were to use both words when describing different elements of an album, a fair argument can be made and considered intensively.
Such an idea can be explored by the Smashing Pumpkin’s latest album called, Shiny and Oh So Bright, Vol. 1 / LP: No Past. No Future. No Sun. Possibly the longest album title that I’ve come across in a while, and an album that has ignited various responses from fans, critics, and new listeners from everywhere. Because Smashing Pumpkins hadn’t had released any music 18 years prior to November 16 of 2018, this comeback stimulated their fanbase greatly and induced high anticipation for new content.
To say that I felt completely satisfied after listening to the whole album would be false. Although I can say that I enjoyed the album due its familiar and classical tune, I feel it lacked a sense of originality; specifically in the lyrical parts of certain songs. Perhaps that could be the purpose of the album and what the band’s intent was, but I was expecting more than what could also be heard from a myriad of other indie/alternative artists. I don’t say this with a negative connotation, only with a neutral-subjective insinuation.
Despite that, my top three favorite songs apart of the album would have to be Solara, Knights Of Malta, and Alienation. Knights Of Malta and Alienation were songs I enjoyed primarily for their boppy and indie-alternative like tone that I felt were easy to rock to. Solara I found profound in both the lyrical and melodic sense. Music is a subjective concept, and people fancy different genres, melodies, and lyrics that induce a unique feeling.
Visually, I found the album cover of Shiny and Oh So Bright, Vol. 1 / LP: No Past. No Future. No Sun quite interesting. The surrealistic and cubistic art styles come together to formulate a grunge-looking piece of art, depicting a figure with wings tangled in an odd position. I find that the cover art corresponds to the album in its totality quite nicely.
All in all, I think the new album of Smashing Pumpkins is simplistic. The comeback wasn’t disappointing, but nor was it an enthralling release in a large capacity. Music doesn’t have to be mellifluous and magnificent to be fun and enjoyable. However, it does need, one way or another, an element to make it more distinct, authentic, and easily identifiable for new audiences and old fans to indulge themselves into. Give it a listen.