Back before being Alternative only meant you wore either eye makeup or a flannel shirt, one band rose and fell and was, by definition, a 90's band. Releasing their first album in 1990 and breaking up in 2000, I am proud to welcome, at number seven...
One of the few college bands in music history that broke out of the dorms and beyond the draft-beer stink of the college scene, Smashing Pumpkins was not exactly like anything before them... or anything since.
You will never hear someone say, "I think this is a Pumpkins song". Billy Corgan's voice can never be confused for someone else. Their music can be layered and heavy on one track only to spin into melancholy and allegorical on the next track. When Pumpkins rocked it out, there was nobody that could do it with more of an edge or more of a finished sound. When Pumpkins slowed it down there was nobody that could drive a hook deeper in your brain and have you singing the main line for weeks.
Their debut, Gish was produced by the same man that helped Sonic Youth define their sound. The guitars are deep and crunch while still having a psychedelic feel.
It was Siamese Dream that really brought them from the small indie scene to many radio stations. As Cherub Rock floated through the FM air, it was Today and Disarm that found a home on MTV. Their destinctive visual style gave these gems heavy rotation on the video jukebox and brought the little band from Chicago much attention.
The Grammy judges gave their next album, Mellon Collie, a total of seven nominations including album of the year. After the album's release Corgan declared that "rock was dead" and that Mellon would be the last Pumpkin album of its kind. Their next album Adore was an electronica experiment that only die-hard Pumpkin fans can survive.
They popped out two more releases that walked back to their original sound but the fans had already moved on. The Pumpkins broke up soon after. When all of their other indie friends were reinventing and regurgitating punk, they had the guts to try something new. The groove and production of Pink Floyd slathered with unabashed heavy metal.
Welcome to the top ten most important artists (with debut albums released on or after 1990), Smashing Pumpkins. There are new rumors of a possible reunion and fingers are crossed.
The list so far:
7) Smashing Pumpkins
8) Tori Amos
The seven remaining to fill the six spots... one will not make it
Rage Against the Machine