Monuments to an Elegy Image
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70

Generally favorable reviews - based on 31 Critics What's this?

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7.6

Generally favorable reviews- based on 67 Ratings

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  • Summary: The tenth full-length studio release from the alternative rock band led by Billy Corgan includes Mötley Crüe's Tommy Lee on drums.
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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 31
  2. Negative: 1 out of 31
  1. Alternative Press
    Dec 3, 2014
    80
    Monuments to an Elegy is a stunning return to form, offering concise songs that plumb the vocalist/guitarist's stock in trade while offering new sonic veneers. [Jan 2015, p.93]
  2. Dec 17, 2014
    80
    There's lots of good guitar playing, but no flashy riffs and absolutely nothing you'd call a solo. It gives Monuments its greatest strength: a self contained identity.
  3. Kerrang!
    Jan 14, 2015
    80
    There's no fat. Here in abundance is evidence of Billy's enduring genius. [13 Dec 2014, p.52]
  4. Monuments To An Elegy is essentially a Corgan solo record which shows flashes of his old power, while also straying into some seriously dodgy attempts to update the Pumpkins sound for 2014.
  5. Dec 12, 2014
    65
    It's not as good as either of those [Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness or Adore], but it is solid middle ground. For The Smashing Pumpkins' third act, Corgan has finally unveiled the album he should have made 15 years ago.
  6. Mojo
    Dec 17, 2014
    60
    It's hard to shake the sense that these songs ape Corgan's past but too often lack the spark of inspiration that fuelled his previous masterpieces. [Jan 2015, p.100]
  7. Dec 9, 2014
    30
    These songs are failed epics in miniature.

See all 31 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 12
  2. Negative: 0 out of 12
  1. Dec 16, 2014
    10
    I saw Billy Corgan - Smashing Pumpkins - on Kimmel and the audience just stared as if they were viewing/awestruck by Billy's appearance moreI saw Billy Corgan - Smashing Pumpkins - on Kimmel and the audience just stared as if they were viewing/awestruck by Billy's appearance more than the music. Anyway, this album is surprisingly good and has all the grandeur that we loved from SP during the 90s. At thiry minutes, it's not a long strung out album, but I think more artists should edit their albums because some of them leave songs on good albums that would best be left out because it drags the album down. May Smashing Pumpkins long rave on!!!! Expand
  2. Dec 14, 2014
    9
    Monuments is a very tight record that has only one real stumble with the song Run2Me. It's a different kind of Pumpkins record with littleMonuments is a very tight record that has only one real stumble with the song Run2Me. It's a different kind of Pumpkins record with little indulgence in length and guitar solos. Monuments seems like a pop record and that's what Corgan was going for. Expand
  3. Jan 12, 2015
    9
    Monuments To An Elegy feels like a return to form, and personally I’d argue that it is. Why it feels like that is because of the way it makesMonuments To An Elegy feels like a return to form, and personally I’d argue that it is. Why it feels like that is because of the way it makes me feel listening to it. Billy Corgan never really went anywhere, his band just became less and less popular. There are a lot of contributing factors to that occurance, but the biggest reason is that Billy stopped writing ‘holy crap’ songs... and he’s spent too much of the last twelve years berrating everyone for noticing.

    The layers of distorted guitar never disappeared, and Billy never stopped singing like Billy, at various times Chamberlin was present to throw it down behind the skins in that way that only he can... and yet no one jumped up and down for ZWAN, ZEITGEIST, or OCEANIA. It begs the question. WTF? Well, what happened is the man who wrote ‘Today’, ‘1979’ and ‘Zero’ forgot how to write a hook. Actually not really, ‘Doomsday Clock’ rocks as hard as, ‘Bullet With Butterfly Wings’, and there are plenty of hooks floating throughout the last decade of Pumpkins music, but they probably arent quite as poignant or polished... I guess what I’m trying to say is, who really knows why some tunes hit ya and some tunes don’t... If anyone knew the answer to that bands would never fade away, but they do, ‘cause no one does...

    You know, the ‘Holy Crap’ songs...Ya just replay ‘em over and over... And dont kid yourself, Billy has as many of those in his catalog as just about anyone else. But it’s been a while since he had me lunging to hit repeat on for a tune of his, much less a whole disc... But I did in fact lunge to restart Monuments To An Elegy the minute it ended after the first spin...

    Why? Because it’s eight of the ‘holy crap’iest songs I’ve heard in a long time, and one tune that is obviously an attempt to pull in 14 year old girls. He’s not the first guy who’s been around awhile to attempt that trick, and considering how killer the rest of the tunes are, I’m not gonna begrudge him that effort.

    Why do we just dig certain tunes and not others? I have no idea, but we do, and make no mistake about it, that is what I do, I dig the hell out of this disc... Songs can make us think, songs can make us feel, sometimes both... but of the two results, I prefer the later... Don’t get me wrong, I’m down with contemplation, and sometimes all I wanna hear is some challenging stuff... But most of the time, I just wanna feel something when I’m hearing a song. Maybe good, maybe bad, but I need to feel something... if I don’t, it probably doesn’t make the long-term playlist... Frankly, I don’t know that Billy is the best writer from a ‘Tell you a story’ perspective... But from the ‘give you a feeling’ perspective, he’s as good at it as anyone... and on this disc, he gives ya that feeling...over and over again...

    I dont know what it is that causes us to suddenly just bust out with a stage move that would be the most embarrasing thing we’ve ever done were anyone to witness it, but some songs do. On this record record that urge happens about every four minutes... Basically on every one of the rockers... and on the tunes that don’t cause ya to suddenly bust out your best full body head thrash, you simply think, ‘Cool...That’s cool’, like ya do listening to ‘Today’, or ‘1979’... And in short that’s a pretty good way to summarize it. It’s all ‘Zero’ and ‘1979’, you’re either thrashing or nodding your head for 29 of the 33 minutes of this record, like I said, ‘Run2me’ wasn’t intended for me, and while it doesn’t do much for me, it’s not the worst attempt someone’s made at a song called ‘Run2me’, and if it buys him the freedom to do the rest of the record the way he has then I’m just fine with him including it, but it ain’t goin on my phone...

    Seems Mr. Corgan had to come to grips with what people like about his music, and why they wanna hear what they like about his music. He’s probably a genius, but if anything he’s a very accomplished musician and writer, who gets bored playing the same songs every night. No one can force him to dance with who brought him, but he doesnt really have a right to be upset if people dont gaze intently while he’s delving into yet another 9 minute song with no noticable hook. Springsteen still plays Boorn to Run every night, and the last two times I’ve seen him he did Dancing in the Dark... Think Bruce is proudest of that tune than most of his others?... Oh hell no...But that’s the gig. You don’t fill arenas with Guitar Nerds... and you can’t fill ‘em with hipsters anxious to unravel the complex inuendo in a droning piece of experimental sonic masturbation... Apparently Billy now fully understands that and, unlike say Prince (who forgot that no one gave a **** about his funk, we love ya for your pop rock, sorry) , Corgan still has the skill and inspiration to go ahead and write more of the ‘Holy Crap’ songs that make us feel, if not neccesarily contemplate... and for my money, thats the best music can do.
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  4. Dec 13, 2014
    8
    Fans of 90's Pumpkins will still not enjoy whats on offer but for those who have followed the bands musical evolution since Adore and on willFans of 90's Pumpkins will still not enjoy whats on offer but for those who have followed the bands musical evolution since Adore and on will find a solid effort with a few good tunes. Tommy Lee's drumming didnt feel out of place and if anything added a new flavour to the usual sound one would expect from the bands percussion. I would say Monuments is good, perhaps not quite as outstanding as Oceania (the band really misses Nicole's interesting bass lines) but still well worth a look into for anyone looking for something different to the majority of soulless music out there Expand
  5. Jan 9, 2015
    6
    I didn't find 'MTAE' particularly bad in any way. It can be bland at times, maybe a bit uninspired, but it isn't 'bad'. For a Pumpkins record,I didn't find 'MTAE' particularly bad in any way. It can be bland at times, maybe a bit uninspired, but it isn't 'bad'. For a Pumpkins record, however, it will disappoint those looking for a recapture of their signature sound present through the first six albums (and I admit, I came in looking for something akin to that, albeit to a lesser extent). However, despite such, there are quite enjoyable tracks present; personally, 'One and All' was the highlight of the album, and indeed will bring back a bit of nostalgia for those yearning to hear it.

    I do respect that Billy is attempting to make a musical progression with this new sound, though. Some things just seem to miss the mark, however, like "Run2me" and the entirety of Tommy Lee's hard-hitting drumming. Nothing against it, but the style just doesn't seem to fit, as the absolute precision drumming of Chamberlin or the high-energy of Byrne.

    Overall, the album is not bad, or even mediocre, it just seems to be tucked away in the grey section of the review scale.
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  6. Dec 28, 2014
    6
    Well Smashing Pumpkins still have their signature style intact. An intricate mix of almost techno and almost rock, Monuments to an ElegyWell Smashing Pumpkins still have their signature style intact. An intricate mix of almost techno and almost rock, Monuments to an Elegy certainly entertains its listener but doesn't do anything particularly new with the songs and fails to subvert expectations of what you were going to hear unlike in previous albums. Drum + Fife and Anti-Hero stand out as the strongest. Expand
  7. Dec 14, 2014
    5
    Tiberius and One and All are decent songs but the rest is mediocre at best. Oceania was closer to the old Pumpkins sound and Tommy Lee'sTiberius and One and All are decent songs but the rest is mediocre at best. Oceania was closer to the old Pumpkins sound and Tommy Lee's drumming style does not match or mesh with the pumpkins sound. Jimmy was the man and at least the drummer on Oceania had a similar jazz technique that meshed with the original Pumpkins percussion sound. Tommy is a pure hard rock drummer that hits every drum as hard as he can and constantly on the bass drum. Just doesn't fit. Expand

See all 12 User Reviews