Smashing Pumpkins albums ranked from worst to best

“I have tried to do something indescribable,” Billy Corgan told MTV in 1998, where you could see the rebuilt sound of Splitting pumpkins‘ polarizing fourth LP, Adore.

A noble mission – but also a difficult one: the album’s folky-pregnant and pleasant electronics didn’t fit the Pumpkins mold of the previous seven years, leaving behind the proggy guitar solos, virtuosic drumming and impossibly layered production. The title, he later revealed, was a play on “a door” – teasing a new era of the band’s career. But everything is cyclical in Corgan’s world, no entrance is ever completely closed. As a wise man once sang, “The end is the beginning is the end.”

And so Smashing Pumpkins have continued to evolve over the years: reacting against fans’ and critics’ preconceptions (the artful synth-pop of the 2020s Cyr), which occasionally evokes the renewed psych-metal or gothic dream pop (2012’s Oceania) of their history.

Meanwhile, the band, as a physical entity, has also changed dramatically. Although it is now beyond cliché to describe Corgan himself like Smashing Pumpkins, his supporting cast often influences the music they make, at least in the spirit of maximizing talent. (The most notable example is Jimmy Chamberlin, whose signature combination of jazziness and heaviness anchors every album he’s played on. Well, almost—we’ll get to that later.)

They can’t all be Siamese dreambut every Smashing Pumpkins project is at least interesting — a reflection of Corgan’s constant urge to make big statements. Below, we review the entire journey and rank all of the band’s studio albums (not including compilations).

Smashing Pumpkins Albums Classified

Everything is cyclical is Billy Corgan’s world, no entrance is ever completely closed. As a wise man once sang, “The End Is the Beginning Is the End.”

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