Posted by: Jess26 from: UConn (Storrs, CT) on
I've read a lot of reviews that said this album was a "return to form" That's an unbearable cliche that applies to almost no one and certainly not The Smashing Pumpkins. Prior albums have explored new directions, but never slouched into bad form. Experimentation is not synonymous with bad posture.
Oceania is another exploration, but an immediately likable one. The band feels young and energetic. Great riffs, great melodies, each sounding better on successive listens....... and it's comforting to know that a major band still exists in which actual musicians fill the roster. The level of musicianship here is very clear here; a compliment that can be paid to very few contemporary bands.
9 out of 9 found this review helpful.
A Comprehensive Review of Oceania
Posted by: jaller435718 from: Texas on
Smashing Pumpkins- Oceania
Release Date: June 19th, 2012
This is my first full album review, and I hope it is good! I now have three Smashing Pumpkins albums; Gish, Siamese Dream, and Oceania, so I have only listened to a limited amount of their music. I have listened to their music since I was a child; it was on the radio, but I have not really avidly listened to them until Oceania was released.
An overall excellent album, Oceania quickly shows listeners that the Pumpkins are still up to their standards in creating marvelous music. Oceania provides a satisfying blend of musical charisma that the Smashing Pumpkins have been able to gather throughout the years. Fans of the Smashing Pumpkins should have no trouble falling in love with Oceania, and give it countless listens in the years to come. Oceania stands best as a whole, giving listeners a creative, satisfying listening experience. Several songs in Oceania are able to stand well as the memorable singles that the Smashing Pumpkins are able to deliver with ease. Among those are "Panopticon" and "Pale Horse", two of the most impactful songs off the album. The first half of Oceania is very satisfying, but this seems to taper off near the end of the album. Among Oceania's flaws are the lyrics. The lyrics need some definite help throughout some of the songs, and is pretty much the only unappealing distinction of this album. Despite the lyrical chaos displayed sparingly, I have still came to enjoy Oceania and will give it many listens in the following years.
Consensus: Fans of the Smashing Pumpkins should easily be able to enjoy Oceania, and if Oceania serves as a preview of what's to come in Teargarden by Kaleidoscopes, fans will eagerly enjoy it upon its release.
"Quasar"(8/10) is overall a promising start to the album. Uses vocals and instruments well to create a distinct, memorable start to the album. This song is one of the more faster paced songs in the album, and gives the album a 'lively' feel from the start. In particular, the guitars stand out in the song, starting superbly and ending the song with a focused intensity.
"Panopticon"(10/10) is one of my favorite songs on the album. In particular, "Panopticon" reminds me of some Coldplay songs. It is one of the more melodic songs of the album and I feel that it could fit into a number of Smashing Pumpkin albums fairly easily. "Panopticon" is also an excellent follow-up for "Quasar." Both of those songs have fairly optimistic tones and give Oceania a 'lively' start. The lyrics in "Panopticon" are among the best of the album, and the song is easily able to satisfy the musical centers of my mind.
"The Celestials"(9/10) is the only single for Oceania, and is easily the stand-out song of the album. Starting with light guitar, "The Celestials" sounds to be the softest song of the album so far, but near the middle, the guitars crescendo and Billy unleashes the passion of the Pumpkins in his vocals. The song ends similarly to "Quasar", with a focused intensity from the guitars. My only complaint about this song is that some of the lyrics are a little weak. Lyrics from "The Celestials" may not be as memorable as songs from "Siamese Dream" but it is nevertheless a great song!
"Violet Rays"(9/10) from the start sounds like a song off a movie soundtrack.The intro starts off calm, and gradually intensifies as Billy begins to sing. "Violet Rays" is melodic and should be able to easily satisfy any Pumpkins fan. Billy's desperate vocals add to the instrumentals to create a truly satisfying song. As with "The Celestials," my only complaint lies in the lyrics.
"My Love is Winter"(8/10) is very clear from the start that the song is about love, which is, what a lot of the songs on Oceania are about. Calm guitars with Billy's vocals start off the song, using the name of the song fairly early in the song. This song is fairly melodic and is the first song in the album to this point that uses a guitar solo in the middle. The guitars stay consistently used throughout the song and contribute greatly to the melody of the song. Overall, a very great song that adds much to Oceania.
"One Diamond, One Heart"(8/10) is a song I didn't originally like too much the first time I heard it. I didn't really like the rhythm or the "pop" sound with the first few seconds of the song. However, through more listens I have came to like this song, the lyrics are great and "One Diamond, One Heart" is easily the most cutest song of the album, lending much to the overall theme of the album. This song also shows the audience the uniqueness of Billy's voice.
Like "One Diamond, One Heart", "Pinwheels"(9/10) demonstrates the usage of an arpeggio giving these two songs a separate feel from the rest of the album, possibly noting a transition in the album. "Pinwheels" starts off with about two minutes of instrumentals, setting the rhythm and tone for the song, until they cut down to only acoustic guitars. After the halfway point, the instrumentals fire up again to their maximum in the first two minutes, again in the 2nd half. They then cut to guitar, and Nicole starts to sing with Billy, their voices matching to eachother's voices well. This song is very structured, showing the effort that the Smashing Pumpkins put into every song and its development. Unfortunately, like many other songs on Oceania, the lyrics need a little help at times.
"Oceania"(8/10) is the title song of the album, and it is by far the longest song of the album. It sort of makes a song-within-a-song, with an instrumental interlude in the middle. "Oceania" features most of the sound and quality that is seen throughout the album and is a good sample of the general sound of Oceania. It features powerful guitars and vocals, Nicole's vocals, and the acoustic guitar that is seen much throughout the album. Not a particular favorite of mine off of the album, but I do know that many people enjoyed this song. I think it may be too long and instrumentally focused for me, but nevertheless is a good song!
Like "Panopticon, "Pale Horse"(9/10) sounds similar to a few Coldplay songs. The intro is fairly calming, and Billy's vocals are calm as well, not filled with the passion of "The Celestials" for instance. This is one of the more melodic songs of the album and is one of my favorite songs off the album as well. It has a great sound that is reinforced by the rhythm in the background. The overall rhythm of the song is great, and fits in well with the rest of the album. My only complaint are the lyrics; in general the lyrics throughout Oceania need help at times.
The pace of the album picks up with "The Chimera"(8/10). The intro is comparatively very fast paced in comparison to the rest of the album. The song continues at the same pace to the end, giving the listener more variety in Oceania. The song has a happy tone like a couple of songs off this album, and even uses a guitar solo near the close, like "My Love is Winter."
The quick pace initiated by "The Chimera" is continued with "Glissandra"(8/10). Billy starts to sing at almost the start of the song, different from the previous few songs. The melody of "Glissandra" is good and the song has a positive, optimistic tone as well. There is an xylophone interlude near the middle giving this song some originality from the rest of the album, but fitting in well.
"Inkless"(8/10) is the shortest song out of the album, but does not disappoint. The intro reminds me of some of the intros from earlier Smashing Pumpkins songs, so any older fans of the Smashing Pumpkins should enjoy this song as well. At the halfway, there is a guitar solo, much enjoyable to those who enjoy a good, solid guitar solo in music. This song also employs some of the positive themes of the album and reminds me the most of "The Celestials." The ending is a little too repetitious, but the song matches well with Oceania and is fairly good nevertheless.
"Wildflower"(5/10) starts out with a pleasant melody at the start, but that is pretty much the only good I can say about the song. It is far too repititous, and doesn't really hold much appealing value through listening. I'd much rather the album close with a more satisfying song, and I'm not sure why they chose to end the album with "Wildflower"..
Thanks for reading!
1 out of 1 found this review helpful.
Great cd. Good price.
Posted by: Mikey26 from: Oxnard, CA on
Excellent cd from the Smashing Pumpkins. Good shipping time.
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.
Still have it
Posted by: spil from: Amherst, NY on
Shockingly The Smashing Pumpkins still have it. First new release in 5 years and it's still just as great as the last one.
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.
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