- Record Label: BMG Rights Management
- Release Date: Dec 9, 2014
- Summary: The tenth full-length studio release from the alternative rock band led by Billy Corgan includes Mötley Crüe's Tommy Lee on drums.
- Record Label: BMG Rights Management
- Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
- More Details and Credits »
Alternative PressDec 3, 2014Monuments 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]
Kerrang!Jan 14, 2015There's no fat. Here in abundance is evidence of Billy's enduring genius. [13 Dec 2014, p.52]
MojoDec 17, 2014It'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]
Dec 16, 2014I 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
Jan 12, 2015Monuments 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.… Expand
Aug 23, 2015As with all Smashing Pumpkins/Billy Corgan releases, I was anticpating this record with some excitement, especially after the success ofAs with all Smashing Pumpkins/Billy Corgan releases, I was anticpating this record with some excitement, especially after the success of "Oceania". I also followed Corgan's blog during the making of "Monuments" and the whole process sounded quite interesting. The announcement that Tommy Lee would be behind the drums added to my sense of anticipation. I like to let albums settle over several months before making a call on them. Unlike most SP albums which have always grown on me over time, I probably like "Monuments to an Elegy" slighlty less than I did when it came out. I'll take you through the tracks one by one. I still love opening track "Tiberius" - one of Corgan's best tracks in a decade. "Being Beige" is solid but fails to really catch fire and repeats its chorus excessively. "Anaise!" is an interesting one, most unlike the Pumpkins but there's something about it that jars with me. I know from his studio blog that Corgan had trouble tying this track down and I can see why. Its good but you sense it could have been better. I like "One and All (We Are)" but it becomes quite repetitive and this is a point that I could probably say about the majority of songs on the album. "Run2Me" is like something off the last Killers record and I can't get my head around that idea. Its not particularly bad but is a bit out of place on a generally rocking record. "Drum + Fife" is good and I remember it being well received when it was released. Good yes but it is far from Corgan at his genius best. No doubt about it, the track "Monuments" could have been incredible, built around a demolition ball riff with Tommy Lee doing an inspired turn on the sticks but its ruined by a horrible synth which really should have been a guitar line. Also, Corgan lets this track down with very questionable lyrics repeated endlessly. Same for "Dorian" - a great tune with bags of potential, like something that could have come off The FutureEmbrace but the lyrics let it down with Corgan just repeating the word "Dorian" and words that rhyme with it ad infinitum. Like opener "Tiberius", the closer "Anti-Hero" is another one of Corgan's best tracks from the last decade of so - like the Cars if they were a metal band. Overall, the album is good, some great songs, loads of greats ideas that seemed to have failed to come to complete fruition in the studio. I would lay the blame for this at the feet of Corgan and his producer for the album Howard Willing. At 9 tracks and just over a half hour long, the whole thing is over before you know it, which sums the songs on "Monuments to an Elegy" up. This is a double edged sword a bit like a fast food meal. In part it means the album doesn't ask too much of the listener and their focus, leaving a pleasant taste in the mouth but also leaving you wanting more shortly after. It also means you don't have the same satisfaction in the listening experience or find yourself discovering new elements to the record months after your first listen. "Monuments to an Elegy" is what it is, a 2014 Smashing Pumpkins record, a record coming 20 years after their commercial and critical peak. When you consider this context then this is a fine album with plenty of merits.… Expand
Dec 12, 2014To me, Monuments sounds kind of like if you took the songwriting style of Machina and TheFutureEmbrace and mixed it with the production styleTo me, Monuments sounds kind of like if you took the songwriting style of Machina and TheFutureEmbrace and mixed it with the production style of Mellon Collie and The Aeroplane Flies High. It rocks but it's also some of the catchiest, poppiest music Corgan's written in about a decade. If you approach it with an open mind, it's a very fun and enjoyable album. If you have preconceived expectations, you might not enjoy it as much.… Expand
Jan 9, 2015I 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.… Expand
Dec 14, 2014Tiberius 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
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