Mary Star of the Sea

Metascore
79

Generally favorable reviews - based on 21 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 21
  2. Negative: 0 out of 21
  1. 100
    Even the geeky ballads will put a smile on your face and a Bic lighter in your hand.
  2. Mary Star of the Sea may be the least ambitious album Corgan's ever made -- and yet his most satisfying since the Pumpkins' heyday.
  3. Zwan is Billy Corgan's triumph, an unrepentant glam-rock/prog-pop bacchanalia, an album of stadium happy singles and up-with-people wonder anthems.
  4. Stripped of the Pumpkins' pomp angst and invested with a new pop-rock sensibility by fellow cohorts David Pajo and Matt Sweeney, in Zwan Corgan has simply formed the perfect band.
  5. It's an album that is filled with plenty of big hooks, ample rock crunch and a loving attention to detail.
  6. Uncut
    80
    The results sound as if Corgan plundered a few moves from Dave Grohl, since the songs keep one boot in heavy metal but mostly get straight to the point while piling on the hooks and harmonies. [Mar 2003, p.95]
  7. [Corgan's] joyful spirit surges throughout Mary Star of the Sea, even during its many intricate instrumental sections, and it's hard not to get swept up in the momentum, especially since it's married to his best set of songs since Siamese Dream.
  8. Q Magazine
    80
    This genuinely feels like a fresh start rather than time-killing. [Mar 2003, p.100]
  9. Zwan are more straightforward (and much less histrionic) than the Smashing Pumpkins, so a few of the songs in the middle are pretty but not very dramatic.
  10. Spin
    80
    [Corgan's] the closest thing our generation has to John Fogerty--a control freak who actually knows what the fuck he's doing. [March 2003, p.118]
  11. Zwan's biggest and most pleasant surprise is how unassuming it is.
  12. Blender
    80
    As Zwan create a louder and less obviously pop eclat than the Pumpkins, they also turn more minimal. Their first record has one theme: the electric guitar. [#14, p.140]
  13. Alternative Press
    80
    A welcome return to form in which [Corgan] plays rock music not out of obligation, but out of celebration. [March 2003, p.83]
  14. 'Mary Star Of The Sea' has that kind of miracle-working effect: a euphoric and consistent hour of genetically-tweaked stadium rock that re-establishes Billy Corgan as a great, rather than ridiculous, frontman.
  15. Mary Star of the Sea doesn't come close to SP's best work, but it absolutely obliterates everything Corgan has done since Mellon Collie.
  16. While Corgan's tendency toward self-indulgence results in the tedious 14-minute "Jesus, I/Mary Star of the Sea," it is just a minor lapse considering the rest of the big, glamorous rock on display here.
  17. Equal parts prog-rock pretension, spiritual rejuvenation and glam rock harangue.
  18. Mojo
    70
    Neither miraculous nor wholly divine, but it does mark Corgan's return to form. [Mar 2003, p.102]
  19. While Zwan sometimes displays the anguished heart of the Pumpkins, the band also has a leaner, upbeat sound that is, at times, downright sweet and playful.
  20. The problem lies with the songs themselves, which simply lack outstanding or memorable hooks: Most are content to meander behind a curtain of big rock guitars and bigger rock cliches, infinitely repeating themselves or, in some cases, never saying much of anything at all.
  21. The candied pop that characterized much of the Pumpkins later work is still out in full force.
User Score
8.7

Universal acclaim- based on 41 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 18
  2. Negative: 1 out of 18
  1. Jul 9, 2012
    9
    The first 4 tracks off this record are sublime and if the standard stayed that high throughout it would have been hard not to give it fullThe first 4 tracks off this record are sublime and if the standard stayed that high throughout it would have been hard not to give it full marks. It doesn't quite manage it but it comes close. Billy Corgans first post Smashing Pumpkins venture delivers with style and substance to boot. Despite the fact that Jimmy Chamberlain is also involved, meaning the crucial part of SP make up the heart of Zwan, they don't really sound as much like the Pumpkins as I would have expected. It could be the psycadelic artwork, but I get a bright, sunny vibe from the record. The musicianmanship on this record is outstanding, the songs are very strong and the production is spot on. It's a great record and a pity they couldn't hold it together to make a follow up. If you like your guitar rock there's a good chance you'll like this one. Full Review »
  2. stephens
    Jun 7, 2009
    9
    Amazing. Took off 1 for some (crap)songs.Brilliant album sad that they disbanded so soon.
  3. Joe
    May 24, 2009
    5
    Hmm.. not as good as I would have thought. Many of the songs are boring and sound lazy, but some tracks are really great.