Billy Corgan’s former band, The Smashing Pumpkins, are known mostly for their contribution to mainstream alt-rock of the mid-90s. Although garnered with success after the release of their albums Siamese Dream (1993) and the double-album epic Mellon Collie & the Infinite Sadness (1995), drug problems, among members, led to the deterioration of the band. Since then Corgan has struggled with music, having previously disbanded from the alt-rock ‘super group Zwan after only one album and a short tour. TheFutureEmbrace marks the beginning of Corgan?s solo career.
Corgan, influenced strongly by Low-era David Bowie, Echo and the Bunnymen, and The Sisters of Mercy, crafts a distinct soundscape for TheFutureEmbrace. Using plentiful layers of distorted guitars, synths, simple drum beats, and high-pitched vocals, he creates a hauntingly beautiful array of tracks. Corgan’s lyrics are also more introspective than his previous work, delving into more personal outlooks on life and love. The album’s opening track “All Things Change” displays this with a catchy guitar line and melody.
The album’s most prominent moment is probably Corgan’s cover of the Bee Gees’ “To Love Somebody”, featuring back-up from The Cure’s Robert Smith. “Mina Loy (M.O.H.)”, “A100”, and “Walking Shade” are also brilliant tracks, each standing out with catchy hooks and wonderful compositions. Fans of The Smashing Pumpkins and Zwan might not appreciate this album much, as it has a mellower and subdued mood to it than Corgan’s previous work.
All in all, TheFutureEmbrace is an intriguing listen. The majority of the songs stand out, with the exception of a few. Many had speculated as to if Corgan would ever be able to write music as lucid as Siamese Dream-era Pumpkins, but with TheFutureEmbrace he surprises all with a fascinating display of synth-driven alt-rock.