The Smashing Pumpkins
1998, The Pumpkins were on a streak in the 90's that made me feel like each new album was instantly my new favorite Pumpkins album. Adore was no exception. Except Adore sounded very unlike their previous records. With Jimmy out of the band it seemed like the only obvious replacement would be a machine. And so SP found their inner Depeche Mode. Or I guess they just started rubbing elbows with Marilyn Manson and Trent Reznor via the Lost Highway soundtrack. Yup, this would be marketed as their 'electronic' album. But it's really not that gimmicky. Somehow layering synths and drum machines over sparse acoustic guitars and piano feels totally organic here. It sounds like Smashing Pumpkins while sounding like nothing they'd really done before. "To Sheila" is a lovely opener with a soft finger-picked guitar, washes of ambience and vocals layered to eternity. I still love the single "Ava Adore," and "Perfect" is fine even if it's a rather dull sequel to "1979." Deeper though we get varied awesomeness like "Pug" which rivals the b-side "Eye" in my mind as their finest electronic-era moment. "Shame" harkens back to the shoe-gazey sound of Gish while still feeling like it belongs on this record. "Annie-Dog" is a killer upbeat piano stomper. Eventually the record comes down with the somber "Blank Page" and then "17 Seconds," which is pretty much just what its title says. Make no mistakes, this album is a bit of a black sheep. But it's also maybe secretly the best Pumpkins album.