BILLY CORGAN, "THE
FUTURE EMBRACE" (REPRISE)
"All things change,"
Chicago superstar Billy Corgan sings in the opening line from the song of
the same name, which starts off his first solo album. A dozen tunes later,
in the last line of "Strayz," he adds, "You know I'm true/ I wasn't born
to follow." Whether you love or hate his new music, you have to admire
the combination of those sentiments as he shows his commitment to following
his own path.
Corgan could have
continued making faux-Smashing Pumpkins sounds for the rest of what might
have been a less glitzy but still very lucrative career. Instead, he has
crafted his most distinctive and consistent music, picking up where "Adore"
left off by pairing digital programming with wonderful washes of ethereal
guitar a la the Cocteau Twins or My Bloody Valentine, and nicely framing
melodies that remain anthemic and insanely infectious, despite his limited
With lyrical heartfelt
declarations such as, "You don't know what it's like to love somebody the
way I love you" and "I'm ready, ready for love," "The Future Embrace" is
partly a journal of heartbreak and partly an optimistic personals ad
announcing that its creator is ready to move forward and commit. It's a far
cry from the solipsistic angst of "Despite all my rage I am still just a rat
in a cage," and much more honest and far less ponderous that rants such as
"Emptiness is loneliness, and loneliness is cleanliness/And cleanliness is
godliness, and god is empty just like me."
alternative era, Corgan hid behind irony and rage as easy tools to deflect
sharing too much of himself, lest anyone unmercifully mock his genuine
emotions. Now that he no longer cares if anyone's laughing at him, there's
nothing left to sneer at, just an artist expressing what all of us feel, and
doing it better than most.