#TBT series: Throwback Anniversaries
This month is the 25th anniversary of the Gish, the debut album from the legendary Smashing Pumpkins and there is no better way to kick off our new series Throwback Anniversaries. Because 25 is such an important birthday we thought we would go back and have a look at the legacy left behind by Gish.
Rock was still mainstream around the time of the Smashing Pumpkins formation. It was only recently that Guns and Roses exploded onto the scene and was a year before Nirvana’s first album when Gish was released onto the unsuspecting public. While it was their second album, Siamese Dream, that put them on the map, Gish was enough to get the word out there and show what they could do.
Frontman Billy Corgan is known for being a little bit of a control freak in the studio nowadays and there were elements of this in their first album, with Corgan playing every instrument other than drums. To paraphrase Corgan himself the songs were created mainly so that his guitar solos could exist within context. In his eyes, even though there is singing on the album, it is more of an instrumental album and it shows. The musicianship on display is undeniably top tier and is what really makes this album stand out.
What was interesting about the Pumpkins was how they took elements from genres that weren’t necessarily popular at the time and packaged it together in a way that became extremely popular. Taking elements of metal bands such as Black Sabbath (still frowned upon by most) and melding it with the pop sensibilities of arena rock bands such as Queen. It was this combination that made them irresistible to the public.
What strikes us about this album is the rawness that permeates the entirety of the recording. Even the slow songs have an emotional rawness that is often absent from music that becomes mainstream. With so many positives of this album, you may be wondering why this wasn’t the breakout into the mainstream that the Pumpkins following album was. The reason for this is almost certainly the lack of big catchy choruses. While there were hooks and memorable lines hidden within Gish they weren’t as frequent as they could or maybe should have been for critical success. They were however apparent in our personal favorite song, Siva. Billy Corgan must have seen this and incorporated these aspects heavily into their sound and thus became a Pumpkins hallmark.
The Smashing Pumpkins had a profound affect on the mainstream music landscape by showing that heavy music could too have catchy, heartfelt moments. The effects of the Smashing Pumpkins can still be heard today from modern music. Just a couple of examples of the wide range of artists that have been influenced by the Smashing Pumpkins are Nelly Furtado and Marylin Manson however no real copycat artists have appeared. This is testament to the uniqueness of the sound that the Pumpkins had created that no one dared copy it while bands like Nivarna had clones everywhere.
25 Years after it was released, Gish is a wonderful window into the early days of one of rock’s most influential and prominent artists. While many may not agree with the direction that the Pumpkins have taken nor care for the politics that seem to surround the band members this shining gem is still there for all to listen to.
So what was your favorite song from this album? Let us know in the comments. Don’t forget that our new application is in the beta stage at the moment and you can sign up here! Thanks for reading.