National Album Day: Siamese Dream by Smashing Pumpkins

Siamese Dream by The Smashing Pumpkins; the album that gave me the power to get through my teenage chaos years and forever find other ‘Pumpkin heads’ in life, making life long friends out of them.

Back from the times when you actually listened to an entire album, from start to finish over and over, reading and learning every lyric, knowing every lick and key change, Siamese Dream starts and finishes in the perfect way an album should.

Siamese Dream brought to my teenage soul and ears sounds that had been swirling around inside me before I ever knew they could be created. The layered guitar sounds from Billy Corgan and James Iha soothed my angst ridden soul like nothing else. The way The Smashing Pumpkins crept into my young ears atop my bunk bed in the afternoon sun as I poured over the CD booklet of gorgeous artwork with the best lyrics I’d ever read will forever be a deeply cherished memory in my heart.

I’ll never forget the day I bought it, I was only 15 and there was change left over from the grocery shopping. I thought I’d take a chance by sneaking into the CD shop before going back to meet my mother, praying she wouldn’t notice the $16.49 or so was missing… thank goodness she didn’t or chose not to!

Today was the first single from this second album by Smashing Pumpkins and it became an anthem for all of us guitar loving grungers back then. The hope in that track was something we needed; bursting guitar filled awe for new love found in hot summers and excited adventures to my first live music festivals wearing my grape converse hi-top runners with pink corduroy mini skirt and old 70s floral shirt!

Mayonnaise will always be my favourite track from the album because it captures the desperate pain of being young, feeling misunderstood and being so inexplicably sensitive to all that’s going on around you but not having the wisdom of age to deal with it properly. The visuals the lyrics convey also contribute to the perfection of the album. Billy’s lyric writing back in the 90s was truly at it’s peak; ‘While the harlots of my perils, Scream’ is a sublime snippet. Ending the track with the perfect grunge wail of ‘I just want to beeeeee meee’ carved a place in many a young person’s being back then and forever.

The coming together of the magic four: Billy Corgan, James Iha, Darcy Wretzky and Jimmy Chamberlain for this album, with these specific songs was a magnificent moment in music history and I am forever grateful it came to me when it did.

Siamese Dream by The Smashing Pumpkins, 1993. Chosen by DJ & Photographer Belle Piec

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