September 30, 2004

The Pretty Toney Column

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It looked like the musical lowlight of Billy Corgan”s career was going to be ‘Glass and the Ghost Children,’ the song from the Smashing Pumpkins” final album where he included recordings of one of his therapy sessions. Billy, the voices in your head are not holy edicts from God himself. I like MACHINA, but ‘Glass and the Ghost Children’ was pointless. Although Corgan had become a big, bald punching bag for critics, I was still crippled by the loss of my beloved Pumpkins, and I was bloodthirsty for any musical output from Corgan that I could find, so when I found out he had formed a new band called Zwan, I leapt for joy. Pumpkins drummer Jimmy Chamberlain was along for the ride, as well as those guys from Slint and Chavez that were supposedly going to restore Corgan”s badly damaged cred. Early on there were some live mp3s on Zwan”s website, and they were fairly promising, but the sound quality was so poor that it was hard to get a substantial feel for what the record would sound like. So all ten of us who cared eagerly awaited Zwan”s first single.

‘Honestly’ was by far the most crushing disappointment of my life. The first time I heard it I was both sobbing and vomiting uncontrollably. Well, that”s not true. I actually got so mad that I smashed my head against my dorm”s brick wall, and passed out, so I don”t remember what happened. Okay, that”s not true either. But I did find myself standing on the roof of Jameson Hall teetering like a stockbroker on Black Monday.

Billy Corgan”s pathetic attempt at a bouncy and uplifting pop song was my musical equivalent of a stock market crash. daze doesn”t allot me enough space to properly articulate how much I hate this song. In terms of lyrical quality, lines like ‘There”s no place I could be without you’ make the transcription from that stupid therapy session seem like something off of Blood on the Tracks.

I still bought the album and desperately tried to convince myself that I liked it, obviously to no avail. Two other songs were called ‘Baby Let”s Rock!’ and ‘Yeah!’ Looking back, I don”t remember any Pumpkins song titles having exclamation points. Zwan sucked. When they broke up, I was way happier than I was when I”d first heard of their creation. If Corgan ever stops giving sporadic poetry readings and finishes the new solo album that he”s supposedly working on, I”ll be greeting it with much more caution than I did Zwan, all thanks to ‘Honestly,’ my least favorite song.

Archived article by Ross McGowan