Smashing Pumpkins' Zeitgeist

images.jpg‘Tis the summer to bury the hatchet, make peace and get the band back together to make some cash.

This year has seen the reunions of Genesis, Dinosaur Jr., The Police … even Van Halen at least thought about it. As it turns out, breaking up may be hard to do, but making up is really, really easy when there is money to be made. And the Smashing Pumpkins are going to make a boatload of it.

Their new album, Zeitgeist, is coming out July 10, and hopefully, it’ll be a return to the Gish or Siamese Dream Pumpkins, and not the horrible Machina/The Machines of God version. If for some reason you’ve never listened to Siamese Dream or Gish — first, what’s wrong with you? — do yourself a favor and buy both. As the title indicates, Siamese Dream is dreamy, melodic shoegazer music, with heavy guitar riffs and atmospheres you can get lost in. For my money, it’s one of the top 3 albums of the ’90s.

If nothing else, it’ll have cool art work. Obey Giant graphic designer and illustrator Shepard Fairey makes a bold political statement, depicting a drowning Statue of Liberty in bold red, black and white. In the background is a sun. Depending on your perspective, it is either setting or rising.

“Like a great artist can do, Shepard had summed up very simply a lot of complex themes,” says the Great Pumpkin, Billy Corgan, in a press release. “He also used the type font from our very first single, and I asked him about it and he had no idea. He was just on point.”
 
Zeitgeist is the Pumpkins’ sixth album and again, Corgan, ever the control freak, is again shouldering most of the work. This time around, there is no James Iha or D’arcy to get in the way, although drummer Jimmy Chamberlin is back in the fold. He even gets producer credit. Maybe this is a kinder, less controlling Billy Corgan.

Anyhow, Zeitgeist’s first single, “Tarantula,” is due out May 22.
 
Of the illustration’s not-so-subtle political tone, Fairey says, “The U.S. is the dominant global force. When things are going wrong in the U.S. they are probably going wrong around the world. I think this images conveys both the U.S. situation and its larger global implications.
 
“I use red frequently because it is a visually powerful, emotionally potent color. Red gets people’s attention. In this case there is the added possibility that the red liquid could be blood, giving it an even more sinister sense of foreboding.  Red helps people to realize immediately that something is wrong and the image is not a soothing postcard.”

To get a gander at the album art, go to www.smashingpumpkins.com and www.myspace.com/smashingpumpkins. Check out the tour dates there as well.

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