Smashing Pumpkins: Gish

ON THIS DATE (21 YEARS AGO)
May 28, 1991 – Smashing Pumpkins: Gish is released.
# ALL THINGS MUSIC PLUS+ 5/5
# Allmusic 4.5/5 stars
# Rolling Stone (see original review below)
Gish is the debut album by the Smashing Pumpkins, released on this date in May 1991 through Caroline Records. Despite initially peaking at only number 195 on the Billboard 200 upon its release, Gish has been certified platinum (one million copies shipped) by the RIAA.
Gish was recorded from December 1990 to March 1991 in Butch Vig’s Smart Studios in Madison, Wisconsin with a budget of $20,000. Vig and Billy Corgan worked together as co-producers. The longer recording period and larger budget were unprecedented for Vig, who later remembered,
     “(Corgan) wanted to make everything sound amazing and see how far he could take it; really spend time on the production and the performances. For me that was a godsend because I was used to doing records for all the indie labels and we only had budgets for three or four days. Having that luxury to spend hours on a guitar tone or tuning the drums or working on harmonies and textural things . . . I was over the moon to think I had found a comrade-in-arms who wanted to push me, and who really wanted me to push him.”
The Pumpkins’ debut hit the music world at the height of the grunge phenomenon of the early 90s, and exhibited most of the usual characteristics – heavy rock riffs, thrashing guitars and brooding, self-deprecating lyrics. However, Gish rose above the bulk of the college rock bands, revealing more refined songwriting sensibilities courtesy of Billy Corgan, and presenting astonishingly touching ballads (“Crush”). Clearly much more raw and naive than the band’s later work on the accomplished Siamese Dream and the ambitious Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, this album, nevertheless, set out the Pumpkins’ agenda for rock and hinted at what was to come.
REVIEW
by Stephen Thomas Erlewine, allmusic
Arriving several months before Nirvana’s Nevermind, the Smashing Pumpkins’ debut album, Gish, which was also produced by Butch Vig, was the first shot of the alternative revolution that transformed the rock & roll landscape of the ’90s. While Nirvana was a punk band, the Smashing Pumpkins and guitarist/vocalist Billy Corgan are arena rockers, co-opting their metallic riffs and epic art rock song structures with self-absorbed lyrical confessions. Though Corgan’s lyrics fall apart upon close analysis, there’s no denying his gift for arrangements. Like Brian May and Jimmy Page, he knows how to layer guitars for maximum effect, whether it’s on the pounding, sub-Sabbath rush of “I Am One” or the shimmering, psychedelic dream pop surfaces of “Rhinoceros.” Such musical moments like these, as well as the rushing “Siva” and the folky “Daydream,” which features D’Arcy on lead vocals, demonstrate the Smashing Pumpkins’ potential, but the rest of Gish falls prey to undistinguished songwriting and showy instrumentation.
TRACKS:
All songs written and composed by Billy Corgan, except where noted.
1.            “I Am One” (Corgan, James Iha) – 4:07
2.            “Siva” – 4:20
3.            “Rhinoceros” – 6:32
4.            “Bury Me” – 4:48
5.            “Crush” – 3:35
6.            “Suffer” – 5:11
7.            “Snail” – 5:11
8.            “Tristessa” – 3:33
9.            “Window Paine” – 5:51
10.          “Daydream”
               “I’m Going Crazy” (hidden track)” – 3:08
2011 Reissue bonus CD – Trippin’ Through The Stars        
1.            “Starla (2011 mix)” – 11:01
2.            “Siva (Peel Session)” – 4:49
3.            “Honeyspider (Reel Time Demos/2011 mix)” – 2:54
4.            “Hippy Trippy (“Crush” Music Box demo)” – 3:33
5.            “Snail (live radio performance)” – 5:48
6.            “Plume (2011 mix)” – 3:34
7.            “Bury Me (Reel Time Demos/2011 mix)” – 4:18
8.            “Daydream (Old House demo)” – 2:05
9.            “Tristessa (Sub Pop single/2011 mix)” – 3:48
10.          “Girl Named Sandoz (Peel Session)” – 3:35
11.          “Jesus is the Sun (Apartment demo)” – 2:55
12.          “Blue (Gish sessions demo)” – 4:07
13.          “Smiley (Gish sessions demo)” – 3:36
14.          “I Am One (Reel Time Demos/2011 mix)” – 4:21
15.          “Seam (“Suffer” Aparment demo)” – 4:09
16.          “La Dolly Vita (2011 mix)” –           4:18
17.          “Pulsczar (Gish sessions demo)” – 2:32
18.          “Drown (alternative guitar solo)” – 8:17  

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Filed under Billy Corgan. 1991, Butch Vig, Gish, Smashing Pumpkins

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