The Smashing Pumpkins' Teargarden By Kaleidyscope: A 44-Track Record

Billy Corgan.jpg
Wendy Lynch
Billy Corgan: he'll always be kind of weird.
Billy Corgan once wrote a 28-song double LP that ran for over two hours and was called, as we all know, Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. What, you may ask, could top an opus of such intimidating length? Enter Teargarden By Kaleidyscope, the newest Smashing Pumpkins record, consisting of 44 songs (!!!) to be released separately in digital form throughout the year. The odds may be a little against the Pumpkins at this stage - not only is Corgan allegedly dating and recording music on the side with Jessica Simpson, but he's now operating without long-time drummer Jimmy Chamberlin, who left the band early last year. His replacement is a 19-year-old from Portland named Mike Byrne, who might be able to hold his own, but Chamberlin is one of the greatest drummers in rock music - big shoes to fill.

What I've heard so far is definitely different - but not wince-worthy, Zeitgeist different. Tomorrow, Teargarden's third song, "A Stitch In Time," will be available for download here, and the record's first two tracks are online now. "A Song For Son" starts off sounding like a piano ballad before breaking into some sweet electric guitar wailing, and the not as solid "Widow Wake Up My Mind" is an uptempo, even poppy jam. Is Corgan lightening up a bit? Don't hold your breath. Of "A Stitch In Time," he states:

"It's a protest song--what I am protesting I'm not sure but it has something to do with real inner freedom and the consequence of what it means to be free."
Ah, yes - enigmatic, declarative, puzzling - that sounds more like the Billy Corgan we know.

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