Billy Corgan - TheFutureEmbrace
Reviewed by Andreas on 29th June 2005
No review of TheFutureEmbrace will be complete without at least 200 mentions of Corgan's past as frontman and chief songwriter of The Smashing Pumpkins. Well, that's that. He used to sing in the Smashing Pumpkins.
Listening to TheFutureEmbrace is a bit like listening to where the Pumpkins might have gone. The album is ridden with the mind of a man who spent ten years plodding through 50 distortion pedals per album, and is now tired of it. Corgan's solo debut is steeped in electronic vibes, echo-y guitars and a collection of melodies that certainly wouldn't have been out of place on some of the Pumpkins' releases.
However, this is very much Corgan's own album. For better and worse. The question is whether or not he's strong enough to stand on his own feet, without a band?
"Can I give my old heart to you?" he sings on Mina Loy (M.O.H), one of the album's defining songs. It's a rock song without being too rock, and the aforementioned hook is just gorgeous. The song is very honest, without any shame or pretense, and it suits Corgan well. However, not all the songs on the album is as good as this. Opening number All Things Change passed me by so quickly I had to go back and listen to it, just to remember what it sounded like... Not a good way to start off an album, to be sure.
Still, TheFutureEmbrace is littered with moments of pop genius. "The CameraEye" has a chorus so dark yet upbeat you'd think that Robert Smith was singing. And he does! On Corgan's cover of the BeeGee's "To Love Somebody"! Excellent! "Dia" is another glorious moment on the album, its violins and tempo mixes so well with the hazy, swirling sound of guitars that create the undercurrent for a top pop song. This just heightens the fact that sadly, not all the songs are as good. "I'm Ready" is all nice and hopeful, but Billy really does the melodrama pomp thing better...
Yet, TheFutureEmbrace is... well... Lovely. I think that's the word that best describes my feeling towards this album. It's so honest, a glimpse into Corgan's soul. Hell, he's even naked on the cover, how much more personal can you get? I still wouldn't say it's an album for anyone, but if you like electronic poprock with a definite, warm, heart that is gazing upwards, I seriously urge you to purchase Billy Corgan's solo debut - for really, even though he's got a background in a vastly groundbreaking rock band, he is strong enough, as a singer and songwriter, to stand on his own two feet. Even though those feet might be swimming in the starlit sky at times.
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