Thursday, September 13, 2012

Tonight Tonight

Smashing Pumpkins majordomo Billy Corgan is an ambitious man, for sure, and nowhere is the notoriously supercilious auteur’s shameless sense of artistic grandiosity more evident than on 1995’s extravagantly titled ‘Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness’, a sprawling, 28-track double-album that certainly lived up to its so-called ‘infinite’ facet. An exhaustive, exhausting listening experience that took in wildly disparate genres like prog-rock, electronica, folk, industrial rock and synth-pop, to name just a few, this behemoth of a record amazingly made it to the top rungs of the major-league registers, even landing at the top spot in the much-vaunted Billboard album chart. Of all the singles spawned from the collection, the surging ‘Tonight Tonight’ remains the most fascinating, mostly by dint of its decidedly un-Pumpkins-like structure. Eschewing the band’s familiar post-grunge sensibilities for a more restrained, elegant aesthetic, ‘Tonight Tonight’ practically bursts forth with its Technicolor musical vividness, distinguishing itself through its insistent rimshots, lively guitar riffs and a full-bodied, sustained orchestral-string arrangement that just stops short of musical overkill. Check out the appropriately cinematic video clip, an elaborately sly homage to George Méliès's historic silent film ‘A Trip to the Moon’.

Monday, September 03, 2012


The newly resurgent Garbage remains one of the most unique, not to mention stylish and accomplished, acts to emerge from the musical muddle of the 1990s. The most remarkable thing about the group is that the basic Garbage blueprint surprisingly worked better in practice than in theory. Garbage's artistic formula is one of a kind: three wizened studio-sessionist veterans (Steve Marker, Duke Erikson and the celebrated Butch Vig, producer of such seminal 1990s rock opuses as Nirvana’s 'Nevermind' and the Smashing Pumpkins' 'Siamese Dream') thrown into a marriage of convenience with a cold, calculating temptress of a frontwoman (the dangerously ravishing Shirley Manson), playing an amalgam of post-modern synth-rock, avant-pop and alternative dance, a sort of edgy technofied grunge melded with immensely accessible and chart-friendly values. This is a highly unlikely proposition to be sure, but it is a blueprint that has reaped sufficient commercial rewards and critical praise to justify a full decade in the business, scoring one chart-bound hit after another. One of these hits is the propulsive, mockingly cheery Depeche Mode soundalike 'Special', featuring an authorised sample of the Pretenders' 'Talk of the Town', and supported by a conceptual video that slyly puts the band within a post-apocalyptic setting, gleefully battling one another in an aerial dogfight.