- Summary: The ninth studio album from the alternative rock band led Billy Corgan is part of The Smashing Pumpkins' Teargarden by Kaleidyscope concept album series.
- Record Label: EMI
- Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock
- More Details and Credits »
9Oceania is an amazing record. I'm excited to see where the Pumpkins go from here. They are a tight group and they sound better than ever. Looking forward to the ride.
My top songs ranked in order are: The Celestials, Violet Rays, My Love is WInter, The Chimera, Oceania, and Panopticon.
Celestials and Violet Rays are in a class of their own and may prove to become two of the greatest SP songs of all time. I really believe that.
I love the intricate guitar work in My Love is Winter and The Chimera.
Part I of the title track invokes some of the strongest emotions on the record. I'm hoping when they play it live on the upcoming tour they mix it up a bit (would love if they expanded Part I with an epic outro built around that chillingly spooky riff, and maybe featured Part II separately in solo acoustic form).
The transition from the verse to the chorus in Panopticon is unexpected and breathtaking.
Buy Oceania and support the band on tour! Loved hearing you guys play in NYC on release day. See you next time you're in Florida Billy, Jeff, Nicole, and Mike!… Collapse
8Oceania is an album stuck inbetween times. Despite Corgan's protest to the opposite, the album is a homage to Gish and Siamese Dream in its riffs, its tone and its themes. This is both good and bad. Corgan has managed to avoid the straightforward political-protest approach that hindered Zeitgeist and return to his insular, personal level of writing. Yet he also risks becoming an echo of a time long gone - and this is true is some of the tracks. The heart-on-sleeve grunge-out beginning, which rattles through 'Quasar' and 'Panopticon' go past rather indifferently- the complete opposite of what such a genre should achieve. This is because, as a genre, it represents the 90s; a time long gone and one that did songs such as these to death. Corgan only really manages to show what he can still do when he reaches 'The Celestials'; an ethereal blend of the grunge of old and the mystical elements that this album is structured by through the keys of Corgan amongst other things. The track is a prelude to the second half of the album, which comes across much better on first listen. 'Inkless', 'Pale Horse' and 'Glissandra' all have a style distinctive of the Smashing Pumpkins, yet distinguishable within that identity. Corgan shows just what bands from the 90's CAN do, and how music today both owes a lot to and misses them. The saturation of a lot of rock in the present day makes Oceania a breath of fresh air for the genre - the fact that this comes from one of the most ascendant bands of the early 1990s shows that the genre needs to be kick started by something new once more, f it wants to survive alongside the dubsteps and rap of the 21st century.… Expand
As brilliant as Kurt Cobain (and, let's face it, his timing) was, the true artist from that era is Billy Corgan. As talented as Billy will be happy to tell you he is, he's equally as humble, as evidenced in his recent comments about Radiohead where he doesn't understand why Ritchie Blackmore is denounced as less of a musician as Radiohead's guitarist is just because he was in a band that didn't see the kind of critical success as Radiohead has had. He's right. Musical greatness, to me, doesn't come from how critically important you are at a snapshot in time, but your influence, your consistency and your talent in the music you choose to play. I appreciated Billy's comments as I can see just as much brilliance in Barry Gibb's songwriting as I can in Ryan Adams'. And while Kurt was no doubt one of the best of his era, I'm appreciative that Billy Corgan continued his path. To that end, Oceania is a wonderful album. In an era bombarded by the endless "single" approach to music exposure, Billy has moved through this digital era on his own terms, releasing his own music online and via a free listening period for Oceania on iTunes. I know he considers the success, or at the very least, appreciation of Oceania, and the larger concept of which it is a part, "Teargarden by Kaleidyscope," as his "do or die" moment," my hope is that he sees his latest effort as a reason he has to keep going. The first two songs, "Quasar" and "Panopticon," sound like vintage Pumpkins with dual hints of classic Gish and mature MACHINA. Jimmy Chamberlain's trademark pounding is replaced almost flawlessly, a negative with "Adore," even as Billy was growing as an artist. It just wasn't the Pumpkins sound. MACHINA was such a great album that, honestly, if the Pumpkins were going to leave, that was the perfect high. Billy's songs and the band's sound have never been better. Yet, with "Oceania," the maturity displayed on MACHINA is taken a step further, even if the songs aren't as good. After the first two songs remind us all of the band we've loved for 2 decades, the rest of the album introduces us to the latest incarnation of the Pumpkins with gems like, "Violet Rays" and "One Diamond, One Heart." Peppered amongst synths, acoustic guitars and the clearest vocals I've ever heard from Billy, the mood is well-set and pleasant to experience.
"Pinwheels," which seems to be a favorite among others, didn't excite me. Musically it is certainly unusual, but for some reason it came across as unusual for the sake of being unusual, a rare less-than-authentic moment for Billy, at least in my opinion. Still, it fit well within the context of the album, even with its Billy Duffy-sounding crunch. There is something about 2:30 musically schizophrenic opening to a 5:30 song that lost me.
Halfway through, there are 9 minutes of perfectly-produced concept rock that merged the first and second halves of "Oceania," reminding me a bit of Pink Floyd. This carries the listener through symphonically-structured, rhythm-driven, fret-sliding anthems like "The Chimera," "Glissandra," and "Inkless," typical of the Pumpkins, before wrapping up with a slower, New Order-vibe synth track, "Wildflower." While not as overall satisfying as "MACHINA," "Oceania" is a breath of fresh air and a welcome return for the Pumpkins.… Expand
I found this album had two major draw-backs. First is a very lack lustre vocal performance by Corgan, and second is a lack of dynamics within and between songs. In terms of the vocals there a few problems which all stem from a total lack of range. Corgan's vocals on this album lack range in pitch, length and tone. Say what you will about his voice, but Billy has shown us in the past that he has a good vocal range from subdued falsetto, to angry screams and soaring sustained notes. But in this album there are no catchy vocal hooks, Corgan seems to sit in the same octave and never stray from it, and there is no impact emotional or otherwise that cuts through. It's all very banal.
The song dynamics are also very disappointing. There's no real range in terms of tempo, meter or intensity between or within the songs in this album. It all has a very large focus on an over-produced guitar and effects driven sound with no particular stand out riffs or melodies that cut through to make any particular song stand out. The bottom line is this - The music in this album is samey and banal, nothing stands out. No song in particular is bad as such, but all together as an album it sounds like elevator music.… Expand