In July of 1998, The Smashing Pumpkins played a free show to an estimated 100,000 fans in downtown Minneapolis in support of their recently released fourth album Adore. One fan in attendance was a 17-year-old girl who had escaped from a Minnesotan correctional facility to catch the performance. She was apprehended after the show ended and not only is this story ridiculous and needs to be relayed to every Pumpkins fan, it goes to show just how mighty the band was when they released Adore-- a person fled her jail cell to see them.
After three hugely successful and influential records, The Smashing Pumpkins recorded and released Adore in 1998; an album that proved to be their most misunderstood and rests as their “black album” (either the end of their good or the beginning of their bad). The album’s title is even a play on words describing it as “a door” into their new style. Over 15 years after its release Billy Corgan returns to Adore with a deep catalog of lost recordings, b-sides, outtakes, demos and random goodies.
The deluxe edition runs over 100 songs and aptly confirms what mega-producer Rick Rubin (who at the time produced one song for the Pumpkins) said to NME in regards to the album back in 1998. “If you have a great song, you can make 20 different records out of it. This is one of the things I told Billy about the rest of the album. The songs are so good that there isn’t necessarily a right way to do them. There is no quintessential version, just the one you’re in the mood to make.” Corgan reacted positively to this advice and if “For Martha” is your favorite track you can hear its progression in three separate forms.
The most surprising nugget you can dig out of this reissue is the “Ava Adore” remix by Puff Daddy. He throws in some crisp acoustic guitar melodies and orchestral accompaniment into Adore’s lead single and completely revamps the gothic, dark track. It’s important to note that this rendition (though worth listening to) completely contradicts what Corgan was aiming to do with the album-- which was produce “arcane night music.”
Corgan’s liking to dark sounds came after a project with Shaquille O’neal fell through (this is surprisingly true). From the ashes of Shaq’s abandoned collaboration, came the electronic track “Eye” released in 1996 to critical acclaim and was featured in David Lynch’s film “Lost Highway.” In maintaining the track’s eerie and ominous atmosphere, Corgan approached recording songs for Adore in the same manner.
Following the Diddy remix the other track that earns notability is the Rubin-produced lost hit “Let Me Give the World to You My Love.” It’s a tight production and Corgan’s usual nasal cringe is substituted for a more baritone vocal approach. The chorus offers a delicious major-to-minor key transition that could have influenced a few 1,000 more listeners back in ‘98. Corgan said he left the song off Adore because he felt it didn’t fit well among the moody, bleak track list and he’s right. “Let Me Give the World to You My Love” wasn’t meant to be enjoyed in 1998 rather today when most of the fruits from The Smashing Pumpkins have fallen.
Adore will forever be characterized as The Smashing Pumpkin’s bastard child who was loved only by few, but that love was strong. Most fans didn’t give it a chance when it was released and Corgan (being the outspoken quote machine he is) blasted fans during a ‘98 Howard Stern interview. When David Fricke of Rolling Stone later followed up with Corgan about his comments, the bald-headed genie of youthful angst replied, “There’s definitely the moment where you go, ‘What happened?’ You have this feeling of desertion: Maybe they don’t love you anymore. But then you realize it’s not about that. It’s not a negative energy. You have not created the positive energy, whatever it takes-that kinetic connection.
“At the end of the day, if people do not connect with Adore, that is my responsibility. But in 15 years, if somebody pulls me over and says, ‘Adore is the best record you ever did,’ I’m gonna fall over laughing.”