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The Smashing Pumpkins, formed in Chicago in 1988, rose to fame in the early 1990s with their blend of alternative rock, heavy metal, and dream pop. With Billy Corgan at the helm as the band’s songwriter, vocalist, and guitarist, they became known for their intricate guitar work, powerful drumming, and poetic lyrics. The band’s discography spans over several decades, and they have produced some of the most beloved alternative rock songs of all time. In this article, we will be exploring the top 10 best Smashing Pumpkins songs of all time.
From the melancholic ballads to the frenzied rock anthems, the Smashing Pumpkins have left an indelible mark on the music industry. Their music resonated with a generation that was seeking something new and different, and their songs continue to inspire and captivate audiences to this day. Whether you’re a die-hard fan or a casual listener, this list of the band’s top 10 songs is sure to bring back memories and remind you why the Smashing Pumpkins are such an important band in the history of alternative rock.
“1979” is a song by the Smashing Pumpkins that was released as the second single from their 1995 album “Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness”. The song features a unique combination of electronic and alternative rock elements and has been praised for its catchy melodies and nostalgic lyrics. The song tells the story of suburban youth culture in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and the video, directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, captures the essence of teenage rebellion and angst with its scenes of cruising, partying, and fighting. The song became a commercial and critical success, reaching the top 20 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart and winning the MTV Video Music Award for Best Alternative Video. It remains one of the most recognizable and beloved songs in the Smashing Pumpkins’ discography.
2. “Tonight, Tonight”
“Tonight, Tonight” is a grandiose and sweeping orchestral ballad that showcases the Smashing Pumpkins at their most epic. The song features intricate string arrangements, soaring vocals, and an overall sense of grandeur that makes it a true classic. The lyrics speak of hope and possibility, urging the listener to never give up on their dreams despite the hardships they may face. The song’s music video is also a masterpiece, paying tribute to Georges Méliès’ classic silent film “A Trip to the Moon” and featuring stunning visuals and costumes that perfectly capture the song’s sense of magic and wonder. Overall, “Tonight, Tonight” remains one of the Smashing Pumpkins’ most iconic and beloved songs, and a shining example of their unique brand of alternative rock.
3. “Ava Adore”
“Ava Adore” is a haunting and atmospheric track from the Smashing Pumpkins. The song features a mix of electronic and rock elements, with a pulsating drum beat and layers of synth creating an eerie backdrop for Billy Corgan’s soaring vocals. The lyrics are cryptic and enigmatic, with references to a mysterious figure named Ava and themes of obsession and unrequited love. The chorus is particularly powerful, with Corgan singing, “It’s you that I adore, you’ll always be my whore,” in a mix of desperation and despair. The guitar solo is equally impressive, featuring a blend of distorted and clean tones that add to the song’s dynamic and emotional impact. Overall, “Ava Adore” showcases the Smashing Pumpkins’ ability to blend genres and create a unique sound that is both haunting and beautiful.
4. “Stand Inside Your Love”
“Stand Inside Your Love” is a classic Smashing Pumpkins song that features the band’s signature loud-soft dynamic, with Billy Corgan’s soaring vocals leading the way. Released in 2000 as part of the band’s album “Machina/The Machines of God,” the song has a memorable melody and catchy guitar riffs that make it a fan favorite. The lyrics are somewhat cryptic, but they seem to revolve around the idea of finding comfort and connection with someone else. The song’s emotional intensity builds to a climax with a powerful guitar solo, showcasing the band’s incredible musicianship. Overall, “Stand Inside Your Love” is a testament to the Smashing Pumpkins’ ability to create powerful and memorable rock songs that stand the test of time.
“Thirty-Three” is a mellow and introspective track from the Smashing Pumpkins’ album “Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness”. The song features acoustic guitar and piano, creating a dreamy and atmospheric sound that perfectly matches the nostalgic lyrics. The song is about looking back on memories and experiences, reflecting on the past and pondering the future. The lyrics are contemplative and introspective, with lines like “Speak to me in a language I can hear / Humour me before I have to go”. The chorus is simple and catchy, with the repeated line “I’m just a fool for you”. The song showcases the band’s ability to create a variety of sounds and styles, not just the heavy grunge that they are often associated with. It is a beautiful and melancholic track that captures a feeling of longing and wistfulness.
6. “Bullet With Butterfly Wings”
“Bullet with Butterfly Wings” is a song that is often regarded as one of the Smashing Pumpkins’ most iconic hits. Released in 1995 as a lead single from the band’s double album, “Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness,” the song features a combination of grunge, rock, and metal sounds that were popular in the mid-1990s. The song’s opening riff, followed by Billy Corgan’s angsty vocals, make it an instantly recognizable track. Lyrically, “Bullet with Butterfly Wings” is a commentary on the disillusionment and frustration felt by a generation of young people who were coming of age in the wake of the grunge movement. The song’s chorus, “Despite all my rage, I am still just a rat in a cage,” has become one of the most memorable and often-quoted lines in rock history. The track also won a Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock Performance in 1997. “Bullet with Butterfly Wings” remains a fan favorite and a staple in the Smashing Pumpkins’ live shows.
“Today” is one of the most iconic songs by the Smashing Pumpkins, released as a single from their album “Siamese Dream”. The song starts with a cheerful acoustic guitar riff and builds up gradually with distorted guitars, drums, and bass. The lyrics, written by Billy Corgan, depict a sense of loss, despair, and confusion. The chorus of “Today is the greatest day I’ve ever known” seems to be ironic, as the verses reveal the inner turmoil and pain that the narrator is going through. The song is a perfect example of the band’s ability to blend dark and melancholic themes with catchy and uplifting melodies. The music video, directed by Stéphane Sednaoui, features the band playing on a hill with a beautiful sunset in the background, while random objects and animals fly around them. The video, along with the song, has become a cultural landmark of the 90s alternative rock scene. “Today” has been covered by various artists and has been included in many “best songs of the 90s” lists.
“Disarm” is a ballad that showcases Billy Corgan’s poetic abilities as a lyricist. The song has a stripped-down, melancholic sound with acoustic guitar, piano, and strings. The lyrics are introspective, and deal with Corgan’s own childhood experiences with domestic violence. The chorus of the song, “The killer in me is the killer in you,” is haunting and memorable, and speaks to the idea that we all have the capacity for violence and harm. The song was a commercial success, reaching #11 on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart, and remains one of the Smashing Pumpkins’ most popular songs to this day.
“Zero” is a high-energy track from the Smashing Pumpkins’ 1995 album “Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness.” The song starts with a fast-paced guitar riff and driving drums, setting the tone for the rest of the track. Billy Corgan’s vocals are full of attitude and aggression, matching the intensity of the instrumentals. The chorus is catchy and anthemic, with Corgan shouting, “Emptiness is loneliness, and loneliness is cleanliness, and cleanliness is godliness, and God is empty just like me.” The song’s lyrics are known for their references to pop culture and societal issues, with lines like “With my fingernails I’ll dig a little deeper, I’ll make my own prison if I have to.” “Zero” became a hit for the band and is still a fan favorite, known for its explosive energy and powerful message.
“Muzzle” is a track from Smashing Pumpkins’ third studio album, Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. It is a melancholic and reflective ballad that showcases the band’s ability to write deeply emotional songs. The lyrics are introspective and explore themes of loneliness and finding meaning in life. The song opens with a soft guitar riff and builds up to a powerful chorus, where frontman Billy Corgan’s vocals soar over a wall of guitars and drums. The instrumentation is layered and complex, featuring a mix of acoustic and electric guitars, piano, and strings. The song’s structure is also notable for its shifts in tempo and dynamics, which add to the overall emotional impact of the track. Despite its heavy themes, “Muzzle” ends on a hopeful note, with the repeated refrain of “love is suicide” serving as a reminder that even in the darkest of times, there is still hope for love and connection. Overall, “Muzzle” is a powerful and memorable track that showcases Smashing Pumpkins’ ability to write emotionally resonant songs.