The Smashing Pumpkins :: My Top 10

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The Smashing Pumpkins :: My Top 10 Favorite Songs

Of all the bands that now reside in my “music I love” collections, The Smashing Pumpkins is the band that I have the most tumultuous relationship with. The Smiths are a close second, but it is definitely The Smashing Pumpkins that I have gone through the biggest shift in emotions about. I suppose that is what happens when someone who you once loved, loved a band, and after a bad break-up that band gets scarred from the heartache, sometimes for always, because it is so near impossible to separate the band, or artist, from the person who hurt you.

Don’t get me wrong, the person in question is still the first person who comes to mind when I listen to the Pumpkins’ music, but the years have a way of healing over wounds, and though I can still trace all the scars (even the invisible ones), I have gotten to the letting go place and within that, I’ve been able to (re)discover the band for myself.

Over the past few years I have given each album a listen, taken the songs in, one-by-one, and found my own feelings and spaces and recollections in many of them. And, in places tucked in a lyric, or two, there are good memories of the person who used to be nothing but painful to remember. In some ways, reuniting myself with the band and their music has helped me make peace with the memories, and I like the way that feels, a lot.

I’ve started to make my own memories to some of the songs, too. So, to celebrate that fact, and because someone requested awhile back that I put this list together, this week’s “Top 10 Music” post is for The Smashing Pumpkins.

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Following are my Top 10 favorite songs from The Smashing Pumpkins:

1. Mayonaise
from the album, Siamese Dream

Pick your pockets full of sorrow,
and run away with me tomorrow.”

I am writing a story that takes place in a nowhere desert town, and for each one of the characters I am putting together playlists for. This song is so very much Jack, one of my main characters, that I can close my eyes, listen to this song wash over me, and I can see him perfectly. This is his song now.

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2. Disarm
from the album, Siamese Dream

Disarm you with a smile,
and leave you like they left me here,
to wither in denial,
the bitterness of one who’s left alone;
ooh, the years burn.”

This one is too hard to shake the old memories from, but sometimes you need to feel them. We were disjointed in the way we joined together, trying to sew together a family out of misguided expectations, scarred hearts, and deep-seeded insecurities. We never had much of a choice, really, but we probably gave it up and left sooner than we should have.

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3. 1979
from the album, Mellon Collie & the Infinite Sadness

We don’t even care,
as restless as we are.
We feel the pull,
in the land of a thousand guilts,
and poured cement,
lamented and assured
to the lights and towns below.”

We loved this song, the both of us, and it came right before the both of us were no more. You would play it on your acoustic guitar, and I would sit there, listening, singing-a-long in my head, wishing you would finally get around to teaching me to play. I was too self-conscious to sing out loud with you, funny, as I could sing around just about everyone else.

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4. Landslide
from the album, Pisces Iscariot

Well, I’ve been afraid of changing,
’cause I’ve built my life around you,
time makes you bolder,
even children get older,
I’m getting older.”

If we did anything right together it was making a beautiful baby girl. We were too young, too new to each other, and too rough around the edges, but still, we created something amazing together. I will always remember that early morning in San Francisco, the three of us, for one brief moment we were something close to perfect – like this cover of one of my favorite Fleetwood Mac songs is.

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5. Ugly
from the album, Rarities & B-Sides

I don’t look in the mirror,
I don’t like what I see staring back at me.
Everything is clearer.
I’ll never see what you see,
It’s not me.

I let you guide the paths we took, I let you direct and dictate everything we did, yet I was the one pouring the emotion into us, and working myself to exhaustion trying to keep us going. You wanted a strength in me that you craved, but I wanted the same from you. My sense of self kept diminishing, every day a little more, as I saw the me you saw slowly fading away.

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6. Today
from the album, Siamese Dream

Today is the greatest day.”

Years later, yet their songs still stung to hear, this one, though, it was the first to receive a reboot of emotions. We met by chance, and though we connected quickly, life would have us going in separate ways. Third time spent together, a late afternoon into evening on the beach of Malibu, with this song soaring out of your car stereo as we sat, side-by-side, on the hood of your car and you kissed me softly (even now, when I see photographs of you, or your face on the screen, I remember that kiss and this song).

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7. Tonight, Tonight
from the album, Mellon Collie & the Infinite Sadness

And our lives are forever changed,
we will never be the same,
the more you change the less you feel.”

First of all, I love the video and the steampunk feel to it. Secondly, this reminds me of a long Sunday driving from Silverlake to Santa Barbara, unsaid words on the tip of my tongue, and unlived life pumping through my veins. She let me use her camera, to snap the world that day, and in many ways, to hide myself behind.

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8. Crush
from the album, Gish

And this feeling shivers down your spine,
love comes in colors I can’t deny.
All that matters is love, love, your love.”

That guitar, you would grab a hold of it, pulling it across you as I lie in bed next to you, eyes hazy and mind fading into dreamland. You sang this song to me as the night took me under, and for the moment I felt like you were home. When you made music, and when you painted and drew, you came alive in a way that I could never replicate; you felt most mine when you were lost in making music or creating art.

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9. Rhinoceros
from the album, Gish

Colors show,
after the moon.
I should go,
see you in June,
your way.”

That same day in Malibu, with the kissed boy on the car’s hood, would mark our last time spent together. You were off to some movie set across the country, and we made promises to keep in touch, but I knew even then that I’d never see you again. That night, in that decaying motel by the beach, with the salty air breezing in through the half-cracked window, and this song playing from a tape you made for me, we made memories together that were better than any promise we would whisper, and later break.

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10. Bullet With Butterfly Wings
from the album, Mellon Collie & the Infinite Sadness

And what do I get,
for my pain?”

This one was the hardest to shake the memories from, the roughest to remove the pain from. This was too much his song, too much a part of those days leading up to the final break-up, too much stapled to the memory of my grabbing as much of my stuff as I could, leaving a ring and regrets behind. But then my best friend went and sang it one night at a dive karaoke bar and she was amazing, and now that song belongs to her in my memory.

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11 Comments

  1. Great post-glad you could mend your relationship with their music and make *new* memories with their songs. I completely get how listening to certain songs or even the artist at all can trigger pain or anxiety or on the flip side bring on a beaming smile out of a nowhere.
    I love the idea of replacing bad memories with happy memories and not letting people own music for you or how it makes you feel.

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    1. Thank you. You were the reason I wrote it. You had asked me about it, if I’d done one of these before, and I had to work up to it, but I wanted to do one. It was cathartic at points, and comforting at other times when I realized I’d created new memories to many of their songs that I love.

      There is always time to make new memories, and reunite with music.

      What are your favorite SP songs?

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      1. Yeah I didn’t realize your history with their music or I wouldn’t have been so “do iiiitt”. But it’s cool that you did and maybe it will introduce some readers to more of their songs.
        I really like “Apples + Oranjes” from Adore and “Perfect”, “To Forgive” from Mellon Collie, just about everything you listed, “Violet Rays” from Oceania, their Blondie “Dreaming” cover from Aeroplane and ummm “Daydream” from Gish. That’s off the top of my head I’m probably forgetting something MAJOR!

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