Smashing Pumpkins 

Zeitgeist (Reprise)

In 1993, the Smashing Pumpkins released a song titled "Apathy's Last Kiss." A beautiful piece of psychedelic pop, it was a B-side on the "Today" single and clocked in at under three minutes. It sounds like something Billy Corgan banged out in the studio in roughly the time it takes to hear it. It's also light-years beyond anything on Zeitgeist.

Before you accuse me of living in the past, understand this: I stuck with Corgan all the way through TheFutureEmbrace, his 2005 solo record. That's well past the point of diminished returns. I've watched the man play against his strengths for so long that I've come to expect disappointment.

In that sense at least, the new record hits the mark. Zeitgeist is a humorless affair, with nearly zero hooks. Remove Corgan's voice and a couple of decent guitar solos, and you could scarcely guess who made this music.

The Pumpkins' last album, 2000's Machina/The Machines of God, was a mess -- a bunch of bad to terrible songs mixed with a few great ones. Zeitgeist isn't terrible; it's not even bad. It's merely a superfluous alt-metal bore.

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