Album Review: The Smashing Pumpkins – Adore (Super Deluxe Edition)

Published by Joe Stadele and Jeff Becker, August 20, 2014

 

The Smashing Pumpkins

Adore (Super Deluxe Edition)
 

Score: 9/10
 

Release Date: September 23, 2014

Adore…a door.  The post-Mellon Collie era was clearly a transitional period for Billy Corgan. Sure to never repeat themselves musically, The Smashing Pumpkins ambitiously pushed their sound to new realms with each release.  The compounded success of studio albums (Gish, Siamese Dream, Mellon Collie & The Infinite Sadness) and b-side releases (Pisces Iscariot/The Aeroplane Flies High) left very little in the rock universe for Corgan to explore and as a band, SP had separated themselves from their 90’s alternative contemporaries.  Adore furthered the notion; serving as the bands’ electronic-folk antithesis; exploring the darkness of love, loss and death.  Adore was the sound of Corgan saying goodbye to the past.

AdoreCDBoxCoverThe Adore Super Deluxe Reissue is a snapshot of Corgan’s musical roadmap as he explored, tested and defined ideas that would become Adore.  Seeking direction, nothing was off limits; back catalog ideas like “Crosses” (dating back to SP’s 1988 Nothing Ever Changes demo cassette) were explored, songs were demo’d with sleigh bells, banjos and at times, radical drum machines.  Instrumentals “O Rio” and “Heaven” are piano driven with drum machine underlays.  Very electronic versions of the Machina-era “Cash Car Star” and “Saturnine” take shape.  “Appels + Oranjes” takes on a breezy SoCal shape in “What If” demo.  Matt Walker, whom contributed on drums during the era, incorporates unused soundscapes bringing about uber-dark techno and goth elements into “Crestfallen,” “Daphne Descends” and “Pug.”  

Through it all there are two tracks that really stand out, the Adore misfits “Blissed And Gone” and “Let Me Give The World To You.”  Misfits in that LMGTWTY was always an obvious single, but didn’t match up with the vision of Adore. Imagine — what if LMGTWTY had been included as the final song of the album, or even a bonus hidden track.  Perhaps a tongue-in-cheek or good will offering, the move would have definitely shaken up the album.  Then there is “Blissed And Gone,” the album closing track which unknowingly defined Corgan’s sentiment of the era.  Lyrically, B&G speaks volumes of Corgan’s headspace and reflects the tremendous amount of sadness he was carrying.  Musically, Corgan pursued several variations of song indicating he wanted the song to work.  Finally, Corgan did — in fact — include “Blissed And Gone” on Adore, but under the guise of “17.”  Meaning, “Blissed And Gone” was personal enough to Corgan to warrant the inclusion in any form, even when it did not fit.

While many songs on the Adore Super Deluxe Reissue have been available on the Adore I & II bootleg(s) and various promotional and official releases, they have never been presented with such clarity and production value.  Even the most hardcore of Smashing Pumpkins fans will find revelations in this presentation of Adore.  The liner notes, written by David Wild, will also provide incite into Corgan's recording process and are a must read during your first listen. So without further adieu, here is a look at the bonus material on the Adore Super Deluxe Reissue.

 

DISC 1: ADORE Remastered
All songs from the original Adore, remastered at 44k/24bit.

 

DISC 2: ADORE (Mono)
All songs from the original Adore (excluding “17”) are presented in high resolution 44k/24bit mono sound.

 

DISC 3: IN A STATE OF PASSAGE

1. Blissed And Gone [Sadlands Demo] – This song seems to signify Corgan’s Adore era headspace.  Fully acoustic, self-reflective and longing for love, a song and his band.

2. Christmastime [Sadlands Demo] – While the official release of this song encompassed the magic of Christmas with its sleigh bells, piano and woodwind flourishes, this acoustic demo of “Christmastime” takes on an element of sadness as Billy strums his acoustic guitar.    

3. My Mistake [Sadlands Demo]A stripped down acoustic commentary, potentially addressing the band and lost love.

4. Sparrow [Sadlands Demo] – Another sparse acoustic, 1-take demo.  Sound quality nearly perfect and consistent with the other Sadland demos presented here.

5. Valentine [Sadlands Demo] – A slightly more melodic tune than the preceding tracks here from the Sadland demos, with a catchy, tiny acoustic guitar hook throughout.  Raw vocal take.

6. The Tale of Dusty and Pistol Pete [Sadlands Demo] – Similar vocal take to the officially released version but far more sparse with just Corgan and the acoustic guitar.   

7. What If? [Streeterville Demo]This early demo of “Apples + Oranjes” crosses into alt-country territory with a “What if, what if” what if refrain and in development-mode lyrics.   One of the more compelling highlights of the collection.  If this is one of your favorite tracks off Adore then you’ll feel like you’re having an affair – with permission!

8. Chewing Gum [CRC Demo]A catchy, jangly track previously available on the Adore Demos.  Cute, but wisely left off the final album.

9. The Tale of Dusty and Pistol Pete [CRC Demo] – Similar arrangement to the released version on Adore, but with a different vocal track, including backup harmonies.  Catchy and very close to the released version.

10. The Ethers Tragic [Instrumental 2014 MIX – CRC Demo] This version varies slightly from it’s Batman & Robin b-side release with a backing drum machine. Textures of “The End Is The Beginning Is The End” remain intact.

11. The Guns of Love Disastrous  [Instrumental 2014 MIX – CRC Demo]Performed over a drum machine, this CRC Demo takes on a poppier and more organic approach than the previously released A Clockwork Orange-inspired version on “The End Is The Beginning Is The End” single.

12. Annie Dog [Take 10, CRC Demo] – Similar arrangement to the released version on Adore but a much more raw vocal version.   Instrumentally it’s nearly identical, but Corgan appears distracted as he mutters through the vocals.  I could have lived without this.   One of the weaker additions to the collection.

13. Once In Awhile [2014 Mix, CRC Demo] – See comments above from ‘Annie Dog’.  An alternate take with inferior vocals that is largely the same as the final, released version.

14. Do You Close Your Eyes When You Kiss Me [CRC Demo] – Like ‘What If?’ (above), this is another breezy demo and only a catchy hook (or two) away from being strong enough for consideration as a single.

15. For Martha [Take 1, CRC Demo]This early version of “For Martha” is a very raw early demo from Billy with an arrangement and sound similar to the final version.

16. My Mistake [Take 1, CRC Demo]A piano-driven version accompanied by live drums.  As with most of the alternate takes on this disc you get a feel for Billy’s raw vocal style and appreciate the work done to compile the final version into something nearly flawless.

17. Blissed and Gone [CRC Demo]Live drums highlight a remarkable alternate version to what was released, including Billy’s question at the beginning, “What’s the first chord?”.  Vocals are raw but effective.

18. For Martha [Take 2, Instrumental CRC Demo]An instrumental take that is for the most part, quite similar to the original, but still slightly more sparse.

 

DISC 4: CHALICES, PALACES AND DEEP POOLS

1.  For Martha [Symphonic Snippet – Instrumental]A high screeching guitar progression of the original “For Martha” is played repeatedly.  Interesting listen.

2. Crestfallen [Matt Walker Reimagined 2014]Crestfallen is re-presented with an electronic drumbeat resembling a human beat box.

3. To Sheila [Early Banjo Version] Quite beautiful, this is pure folk with electronic textures.  This Billy and banjo version develops with layered vocals, guitar textures and eventual piano; it’s a true gem.

4. Ava Adore [Puffy Combs Remix 1998]The Smashing Pumpkins go R&B in this orchestral version of Ava Adore; featuring dramatic crescendos, a guitar solo and urgent strings. Sean Combs actually did an excellent job on this remix.  

5.  O Rio [Instrumental – Sadlands Demo]This urgent electronic instrumental is a fun, pleasurable listen; an example of Corgan’s electronic exploration that didn’t push too far into his sound.

6. Waiting [Adore Outtake]An upbeat, catchy and essential SP track previously released on the Machina Promo cd and Judas O.  Another gem.

7. Once Upon A Time [Sadlands Demo]A sleigh bells and acoustic version of “Once Upon A Time.”

8. Eye [2014 Mix from The Lost Highway Soundtrack]“Eye” (along with “The End Is The Beginning Is The End”) is an electronic SP essential.  This version is similar to the previously released version with an extended outro and some vocal variations.

9. Saturnine [for Piano and Voice]“Saturnine” in, perhaps, it’s infancy.  It’s just a solemn Billy and his piano.

10. Cash Car Star [Matt Walker Reimagining 2014]A noisy electronic version of the hard rocking Machina II track leaves more to be desired, however this “reimaging” shows what this song could have been.  

11. Pug  [Matt Walker Reimagining 2014]More electronic noodling from Matt Walker, this reimagining of “Pug” has some nice soft moments during the refrain but, again, feels overdone in its “electronica.”

12. Perfect [No Strings Version]“Perfect” meets more electronic noodling backed with a drum machine.

13. It’s Alright [Instrumental – Adore Outtake]This electric guitar instrumental sounds like like a distant relative of the Siamese Dream era and relative of the the “it’s alright, it’s alright” SP cover of “Dancing in the Moonlight.”

14. Czarina [Take 1, Adore Outtake]While the original version released as an Ava Adore b-side felt incomplete lyrically, this

15. Indecision [Sadlands Demo]This song sounds like Corgan was just having some fun playing with his drum machine; perhaps another glimpse into his experimentation as he searched for a new sound.

16. Blank Page [Early Version]Similar lyrically to the official release, but with meandering keyboard shifting through out. It shares another glimpse into Corgan’s post-Chamberlin electronic experimentation.  

 

DISC 5: MALICE, CALLOUS, AND FOOLS

1. Let Me Give The World To You [Adore Outttake]Imagine if Adore had ended with this LMGTWTY; serving as a tongue-in-cheek glimpse of hope and wink to the fanbase.  This Rick Rubin version features chugging guitars, strings and high-hat accompaniment with a hopeful Billy Corgan on vocals.

2. Tear [from Digital Transfer]Similar to what we have heard on Adore.

3. Cross [Adore Outtake]While this “Cross” is an Adore outtake, the original version dates back to SP’s 1988 Nothing Ever Changes demo cassette. Corgan’s cracking voice pushes with quiet song, featuring two guitars; one picked, the other wah’d guitar noodling.

4. Because You Are [Adore B-side]Similar to the Judas O version with a slightly extended drum intro courtesy of Soundgarden/Pearl Jam stickman Matt Cameron.

5. Jersey Shore [Sadlands Demo]A Hawaiian lullaby for the Jersey area.

6. Shame [Take 1]An early version of the song, this version only varies in presentation; the guitar picking and drum machine are higher up in the mix and less produced, with the “hello, goodbye” outro missing.

7. Summer [Instrumental, Adore Outtake]This pleasant b-side of “Daphne Descends” is a pure instrumental version of the James Iha song.

8. Blissed And Gone [Drone Version]Swirling textures, piano, and occasional drones surround the vocals of this slower B&G.  The song ends in electronic deconstruction.

9. Heaven [Instrumental, Sadlands Demo]1979, meet “Blank Page.”  With a screeching guitar intro, this piano and drum machine instrumental is a racing, upbeat instrumental; feeling a cross of “Blissed And Gone” and “Blank Page.”

10. Daphne Descends [Matt Walker Reimagine 2014]Daphne Descends meets The Future Embrace in this percussive Matt Walker reimagining.  A fun listen.

11. Saturnine [Matt Walker Reimagine 2014]A pulsing and dramatic version somewhere between “Eye” and The Future Embrace.

12. Behold! The Night Mare [Alternate Vocals]The structure of this early version of “Behold” holds strong to its final incarnation with alternate/incomplete vocals and tones.

13. Perfect [Acoustic Demo – Adore Outtake]It’s just Billy and his acoustic guitar on this one.

14. Do You Close Your Eyes? [Adore Outtake]This slower version, accompanied with a programmed drum machine, is not as immediate as it’s CRC Demo variation on Disc 3.  

15. The Beginning Is The End Is The Beginning – This b-side classic is the same as previously released on “The End Is The Beginning Is The End” single.

 

DISC 6: KISSED ALIVE TOO

1. Ava Adore [Live – San Paulo Session] – Kenny Aronoff counts the band into this gritty "Ava Adore" which forges into Charlie Brown territory with Mike Garson's piano accompaniment.

2. Daphne Descends [Live – San Paulo Session] – Simply gorgeous. A solemn, finger-picked guitar and calm piano intro lead this beautiful, intimate and transcending version with D’Arcy on backing vocals.

3. The Tale of Dusty And Pistol Pete  [Live – San Paulo Session] – Chimes, kettle drums and Garson’s meandering piano drive this beautiful (mostly) acoustic live performance.

4. Tear [Live – San Paulo Session]All new life is breathed into this live version of “Tear.”  Intimate, urgent, sad and accomplished….nearing Pink Floyd territory. The song is broken up in sections (full band/improvised Garson piano solo/needy guitar/full band) in what is the definitive live version of “Tear” during the Adore era.

5. Shame [Live with Mancow – Chicago]Corgan strums his acoustic guitar over the echo of an electric guitar for an in studio audience on the Chicago radio show.   

6. Blank Page [Live with Mancow – Chicago]The full Adore touring band performs for this intimate rendition; pushed primarily by Garson’s piano and Kenny Aronoff’s percussion.

7. To Shiela [Live at the Ryman Auditorium – Nashville]This live version of “To Sheila” is set apart by (once again) Mike Garson’s piano playing and flourishs of chimes.

8. Money (That’s What I Want) [Live at Dodger Stadium – Los Angeles]With Adore era touring officially closed, the band was back in full rock and…tribute mode for Halloween 1998!  SP (James, D’Arcy, Billy with Kenny Aronoff) took the stage dressed as The Beatles for this opening performance of the KISS Psycho Circus Tour (broadcast live as part of a Halloween Special on FOX).  “Money” and the “XYU Medley” were later released as part of the pre-Machina bootleg cassette, The Friends And Enemies of Modern Music [1999]. [Watch “Cash Car Star” here] and [Listen to the entire set here]!

9. X.Y.U. Medley  [Live at Dodger Stadium – Los Angeles]This version of XYU is fun, loose and exciting with elements of “The Ethers Tragic,” “Never Say Never” and “Where Boys Fear To Tread.”  As mentioned above, this was originally performed during an opening performance for KISS’ Psycho Circus Tour and broadcast on FOX as part of a Halloween Special. Originally released on a pre-Machina bootleg cassette, The Friends And Enemies of Modern Music [1999].

10. Transmission [Live Rehearsal – Chicago]The Smashing Pumpkins had a tendency to close nearly every show (Siamese and beyond) with an extended medleys which pushed into psychedelic space rock.  On the Adore Tour, the band closed nearly every date with this cover of the Joy Division classic; available here for the very first time.  

Conclusion

ADORE - PC Yelena YemchuckStanding alone, Adore quickly became the red-headed stepchild of the Pumpkins five primary releases. Where Machina, Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, Siamese Dream and Gish sounded like logical progressions of a band on a singular mission to conquer the rock world, Adore was a left turn into the beautiful abyss where Corgan spent much of the final years of the 1990’s.  His amps and guitars became secondary to a hypnotic, transcendent, gothic-style beauty that permeated not only the official Adore release, but also the truckload of gems (included in this set) that have set largely idle the past 16 years.  What a truckload this is!  He recorded at such a prolific pace he made the Beatles and Prince look lethargic.  

However, being prolific is one thing; being a great artist during that same era was another and Corgan truly shined.  It was during the Adore period where he turned the corner from bona fide rock star into budding genius.  For a moment in time, he embodied the beauty of Gilmour and craziness of Waters, all-in-one.

Regardless of whether the stylistic changes Adore presented are your cup of Pumpkin’s tea (yes, slight pun), there’s no denying they are eye-opening and dynamic.  Corgan was masterful in Adore’s release method.  Off the success of soundtrack singles “The End Is The Beginning Is The End” and “Eye,” the opening radio single “Ava Adore” was awash in fire-breathing guitar behind a driving drum machine groove.  It sounded like a new version of Mellon Collie had returned for more.   

Then Adore was released and the second single, “Perfect” was chalk full of gliding pop.  Over the span of 17 eclectic tracks it was clear the Butch Vig-Pumpkins guitars were no longer at the forefront of production.  Never before, as it was on Adore, was Corgan’s voice and mood apparent.  He wanted you to live inside him for one album…and we did.  This rather epic deluxe set provides a comprehensive psychological study of a man at the peak of his creative powers as his band slowly disintegrated as his fanbase continued to explode – and then the band was left scratching their heads.  The Adore Super Deluxe Reissue is an amazing look back at Billy Corgan’s most personal album; an album that ensured Smashing Pumpkins fans would never again predict Corgan’s musical direction.

Preorder Adore now: 
Madame ZuZu's (limited quantities)
CD (6CD/1DVD Super Deluxe Edition)

Vinyl (2LP Gatefold, does not include bonus material)
 

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