Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Music Reviews, Smashing Pumpkins and Justice

I've acquired a few very good albums recently. The first of which is the Smashing Pumpkins first new album in seven years titled Zeitgeist. It took me a few listens of this album for it to grow on me, but when it did, it really did.

This is Smashing Pumpkins mkII, sans D'arcy and James Iha however it sounds more like early era Pumpkins. If I didn't know better, I would have thought this one came out after Siamese Dream but before Melon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. That being said however, it still has a fresh never-before-heard side of the band that keeps them from sounding dated.

If you buy the Target edition (which I recommend) you get the bonus 13th track Zeitgeist that I'm disappointed wasn't included in the standard edition. The song delivers a nice closing 3 minutes to the album.

Other highlights of the album include the songs Doomsday Clock (which was in Transformers apparently), That's the Way My Love Is, Tarantula and Bring the Light. A track I didn't like was For God and Country. I was never sure if he was being sarcastic when he's says he'd die for it (god and country). If he was, or if it was a metaphor it wasn't very clearly conveyed. If he did mean it literally, it comes off as a little creepy.

The other album was Cross by Justice. I initially avoided this album due to the obvious Christian overture the band paints it's image (They also perform with a 3-story high light-up cross, so I've heard). But I decided to give it a shot and I'm glad I did.

I'll start of by saying that there's nothing Christian about the music, but also not to say that there's anything anti-Christian about it either. I quit listening to Gus-Gus for their Christy (thank you for that term, Bill Maher) lyrics. This begs the question of why they even bothered slapping Christian symbols all over their stage shows, albums and t-shirts. I understand that Christians think it's their job to spread Christianity, but you're not going to do it with secular music and a light up cross as a stage prop. If anything, they're alienating potential atheistic/agnostic/secular (or just non-Christian) fans. Trust me guys, you're not converting anyone, you're just making yourselves look like judgmental jerks.

All of that aside, I loved album. It very much picks up where Daft Punk left off at their height (pre-Human After All). It's no wonder either, since Justice is also a French group doing the disco-electro-house thing. Also present is Daft Punks' tendancy to uber compress the whole song seamingly pinching the music inward at the beats. It's a stylistic choice but it works well for this kind of music.

Another good album I recently heard was the latest from And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead. But that'll have to wait for another day.


  1. I love this post Trevor. I had no idea about Gus Gus going Christian. I was hugely into their first album 'Polydistortion'. I thought the song 'Is Jesus Your Pal' was their attempt at irony. Who Knew? Great review for 'Zeitgeist'. I haven't yet gotten around to this new SP release . I often times feel guilty listening to older bands. I'll have to check out Justice on, as I've never heard them.

  2. I know what you mean about feeling guilty listening to older bands. There's so much good new stuff out there I feel like I should spend my music listening time giving them a shot; and I do for the most part, but I also have my old favorites as well.