Mary Star of the Sea
our score: 4.0 out of 5.0
I'll be the
first to admit it: back in high school in the mid-90's my mindset
was virtually exemplified by The Smashing Pumpkins. I was a late
bloomer, latching onto the band during their Pisces Iscariot
phase, my infatuation coming full-bloom with Melon Collie
and the Infinite Sadness. "Muzzle" was my theme
With the release
of Adore my infatuation faded, although looking back
Adore is a mighty fine record, unlike the bloated, self-indulgent
Melon Collie... Ah yes, how teen angst can cloud the
Any way, when
Smashing Pumpkins tried to regain the love of their fading fan
adoration with the release of the uninspired Machina
in 2000 it was too late, and The Smashing Pumpkins soon called
it quits. The problem: when Adore came out, people wanted
Machina and when Machina came out, people were
ready for Adore. Such timing doesn't bode well for popular
the end of my history lesson on The Pumpkins, not that it so much
a lesson as my own act of self-indulgence. But this is a review
about a Billy Corgan fronted band, so a little self-indulgence
Now, back to
the reason you're reading this (hopefully you've stuck with me
this far): Corgan's new outfit. In a nutshell you could say Zwan
is Billy Corgan and a few friends (Slint/Tortoise
guitarist Dave Pajo, Skunk guitarist Matt Sweeney, A Perfect Circle
bassist Paz Lenchantin, and Corgan's old Pumpkins bandmate Jimmy
Chamberlain on drums) rocking out, making music that sounds kind
of like what would have happened if Smashing Pumpkins would have
made an album between Siamese Dream and Melon Collie,
had Corgan briefly shed his dour depression and embraced Christianity.
really what Mary Star of the Sea is; it's an honest rock
album that doesn't try to be anything else. Sure the three guitar
attack has been done in the past, so maybe they are a little bit
like Chicago, but it doesn't really matter. I've peeked around
at other reviews, and they really just don't seem to get it: with
Zwan Corgan is just making rock music like he wants to make it,
and it turns out pretty damn well.
most impressive part of the album (aside from the supurb production
and nicely done guitar solos) is Corgan's new embrace of a positive
outlook on life. Lyrics like "Whatever I can do / I will
/ cuz I'm good like that" (Settle Down) and "Baby I'm
the greatest thing you've got / In a good way / I suppose"
(Baby Let's Rock) may sound a bit awkward at first, but they're
cute, and the next time around they're the lines you're looking
most forward to. As little as some people will admit it, Corgan
has always been a great songwriter, and with Mary Star of the
Sea it's refreshing to see him extend those muscles beyond
depression and angst.
So, hate Billy
Corgan if you want. It really isn't going to change the album.
And it isn't going to change my opinion of what I'd consider one
of the better rock albums in my recent memory, and the best pop/rock
album so far this year.
liked Mary Star of the Sea...
2. Settle Down
3. Declarations Of Faith
5. El Sol
6. Of A Broken Heart
7. Ride A Black Swan
9. Endless Summer
10. Baby Let's Rock!
13. Jesus, I / Mary Star Of The Sea
14. Come With Me