Tag Archives: Smashing Pumpkins

The Condiment Struggle

I have a hard time seeing Smashing Pumpkins and any early 90’s Grunge as retro.  It dates me, and you know what I am female please don’t date me, that’s rude.

Smashing Pumpkins are far from my favourite from that era, but I don’t think anyone will contest that they were an integral part of the scene.  I always thought of Billy Corgan as a smug twit and perhaps that influenced my medicore love of the Pumpkins.  I followed them, but I did not FOLLOW them.  I’m sure someone (like Betty Beat) knows what I mean.

Mayon(n)aise is my song for today.  Why?  Because I hit shuffle and it was the first song/artist that came up that hasn’t been blogged before by myself or Betty.  The title makes me sad.  Not on a ‘want to slit my wrist level’, but on a ‘I’ve developed an egg allergy in the last two years and can never eat it again’ level.  Mayon(n)aise is a delightful condiment.  I hearted the Hellman’s (Miracle Whip is not Mayon(n)aise) up until it started to break me out in hives and close up my throat.  The song, oh yeah the song.  It makes my Top Ten for off-the-wall titles spelled without the second ‘n’.  There is so much substance and richness in the song.  I read that Billy said the lyrics have no meaning that the song was just thrown together.  I call bullshit, there’s that smugness that I see in him.  Bullshit your lyrics don’t mean anything, but I digress.

The song is one that takes on meaning for the individual, much like many songs. I see it as an internal struggle much like the condiment again.  Mayon(n)aise is on the inside of the sandwich and it compliments but almost struggles smashed between the bread the meat and the cheese, it is more a lube than anything.  Mayon(n)aise the 9th of 13 songs on Siamese Dream is that lube that holds the album together, in my opinion, perfectly placed and helps establish the collection of songs as a perfect mix.  Siamese Dream doesn’t need a ‘shuffle’ setting, it’s one of those albums that was thought out and put together as album and not just thrown together.  Oh the lost art of the album.  Sigh.  Mayon(n)aise is in the right spot, the song itself struggles with being a ballad with it’s guitar riffs, but it is a ballad nonetheless and mayonnaise the condiment will leave the tang to Miracle Whip and the bold to mustard, they are both destined to be mellow

Song for Today – When Covers Go Wrong

It’s no secret that I have a penchant for a good cover song. Currently, Grace Potter & the Nocturnals’  White Rabbit is a near constant feature on my iPod.

(find GPN’s White Rabbit cover here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Vy1OoBAL-E )

It’s also no secret that my job can be somewhat… mundane. I mean, looking at more than 100 cars every two hours leads to a lot of time spent in your own head. Additionally, when you work around people who love music the way you do, conversation often turns to all things music.

Today, Sean B. (fellow musical aficionado and oft-mentioned music friend) and I were discussing a good “Song for Today”. Which ended up with our discussing the covers-that-should-never-have-been. You know, when an artist you love covers a song so badly you try to pretend that track never existed? Or when a song you really loved gets covered by a one-hit-wonder trying to make it a chart topper (again), banking on nothing more than our nostalgia and the fact we often know all the words?

I wanted to pick Black Eye d Peas, Dirty Bit, since they destroyed any semblance of happy nostalgic goodness I had from Dirty Dancing soundtrack’s Time of my Life. Sean pointed out it’s merely a sample or remix at best, not a true cover. Fair point. Our Top 5 was fairly easy to come up with, even without this addition.

So, here it is. A combined Top Five Worst Cover Songs for Today (and I reserve the right to add/remove the Top 5 at any given time, depending on my mood).

Number Five 

Smashing Pumpkins, Landslide

I love the Pumpkins. I do. I’ll admit it. I’ve been a big fan since my early, early teens (or “tween” as it’s so aptly called now). But Landslide? No. And I give all the credit to Sean B. for introducing me to this atrocity. Without him, I’d still be in my happy world where the Smashing Pumpkins did no wrong.

Sigh. I feel disenchanted. Minor blip on the Pumpkins’ success. But it’s really bad, so it had to go on the list.

Number Four

Sheryl Crow, Sweet Child o’ Mine

“Music I heard on a Soundtrack Once” for 100, Alex. What does it have going for it? It was marketable (well, Crow was marketable). It was also nothing original. Boring. But not so terrible that I wanted to punch Sheryl Crow in the face for it. Minor fail.

(Taken by Trees does do a decent cover of Sweet Child, just to note that I don’t hate all covers)

Number Three

Avril Lavigne, Basket Case

Okay, let’s look past the bad key, the bad singing and, well, the overall crap of it. We’ll even ignore the “radio version”ness of her omitting the “bad” words. How about the fact that Avril was all of 10 when Green Day released the song (as part of their third studio album)?

All unforgivable sins. Fail.

Number Two

Foxes in Fiction + Weeds, Teenage Dream

Why this sucks: first of all, it’s a cover of a song I hate that was done originally abhor; secondly, it’s just… bad. I once sent this to someone fully knowing it was terrible. Luckily, this person is pretty smart and heartily agreed (although they went on to mock me incessantly in the future for shitty music tastes…. I think they’re kidding.. mostly).

I even chanced upon this song – picking it up off of Blalock’s Indie Rock Playlist (now BIRP!). I thought, maybe, just maybe, someone improved on an already pretty shitty song done by Katy Perry (have I mentioned I dislike her?  Yes? Oh, let me say it again…). No. If anything, they made it worse. I’m always amazed at life’s possibilities.

Sizable Fail.

Number One

All Saints, Under the Bridge

What happens when you take a Girl-Band-trying-to-bank-on-Boy-Band-successes and a classic Chili Peppers song?

You get All Saints covering Under the Bridge.

There are no words. It’s all kinds of bad and worse. Anthony Kiedis summed up my thoughts well in his reaction: “It was kind of funny, they looked so pretty and clean; they looked like they didn’t know what they were singing about.”

And, like my Number Five choice, my guess is? They didn’t. The song was chosen because it did well and they probably heard it on their ghettoblasters a few times. Aww. Pretty girls singing about.. nothing. Cute.

Clueless doesn’t negate that this is… Epic Fail Number One.

Feel free to share your Best of the Worst. As always, a special shout-out to Sean B. for getting me through another two hours of car-watching and helping me compile the list.

Song for Today – A Selective Memory

Remember the week leading up to May 2-4? This interminable excitement you had as a kid; either young enough that the sun and warmth (and inevitable opening of your family pool) were your sole focus, or, as an older kid when plans revolved around who you were sure to hook up with in some random field, drunk on cheap beer stolen from your Dad’s beer fridge (or purchased by that one great friend with a killer fake ID).

Don’t get me wrong, I still love a good long weekend, but the sense of excitement is never quite the same as it was when I was younger. But, I’m not all that nostalgic for it. Sure, being exuberantly bouncy and squealing with immature girl glee was fun, but it was all so dramatic and… well, it’s exhausting.

The Victoria Day long weekend when I was 15 was supposed to be just as fun. The last day of school, teeming with all the possibilities of a traditional “Calithumpian” weekend (trust me, not many will know what that means, but for those that do, the word sparks a myriad of inner chuckles at memories of video dances, parties in fields and the beginning of my love of debauchery). I had a small, select group of amazing barnacle-type friends (you know, the ones you were attached at the hip to). Best of all, I had a Friday night date with a super cute boy. And what a date – dinner, a long walk on the beach (so cliché, it is amusing upon reflection), a movie after (With Honors – seriously, I can’t make this shit up). Smashing Pumpkins’ Siamese Dream playing over and over on his van’s stereo.

As I walked in my front door, head spinning with romantic possibility, my narcissistic teen-aged world faced a grim reality. One of my very good friends, Shayne, killed in a car accident just that afternoon. My friends calling my house – a barrage of tears. A returned phone call where I could hardly breathe for grief that felt so heavy it could crush me. Running downstairs to throw on music – as loud as I could – to drown out any other thought (GandharvasFirst Day of Spring). A weekend spent, not up to my usual antics, but at a funeral home and cemetery.

I’m not sure why I’ve thought more of Shayne coming up to this Victoria Day than any in recent history. It’s certainly not a happy story. Perhaps it is with so much change comes a natural instinct for reflection and remembrance. Or maybe I’ve spent way too much time in my own head the last few days. Whatever the reason, the memories are there. And with the memory, comes music.

 Smashing Pumpkins – Today

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