Deep Cuts is a new feature in which we look past the hits and dig into the buried gems of our favorite back catalogs.
Few modern rock bands have a discography that can match the scope and quality of the The Smashing Pumpkins’ catalog. Since the outset of the ’90s, William Patrick “Billy” Corgan Jr. has repeatedly emerged as more than just one of the most prolific and versatile songwriters around. His role as a self-proclaimed “auteur of data” for the band’s music has yielded some of the most vital musical statements of a generation.
That the Pumpkins have almost as many official compilations as studio albums (seven and ten, including the newly released Shiny and Oh So Bright Vol. 1/LP: No Past. No Future. No Sun.) should come as no surprise. Try to quickly tally up the total tracks from their LPs to date without a calculator and you might find yourself in some trouble. But it’s more than sheer number of songs. While Corgan’s — and to a lesser, but no less crucial, extent James Iha’s – creative potency hasn’t always produced pure gold (or even “silvery” output), the band have rarely, if ever, had to favor quantity over quality to pad out a record.
Iffier eras and incarnations notwithstanding, for the Pumpkins, it’s always come down to the transformative power of great standalone songs. As Corgan himself put it back in 2012: “At the risk of self-aggrandizement, I’m a pretty good songwriter.” In truth, he could be accused of underselling himself there. To coincide with the release of their 10th album, we delve deep to whittle the resurgent alternative rock heroes’ lesser-known gems — from heart-stung lullabies to life-changing anthems with face-melting guitar solos — down to an all-killer top 10.
These are the very best of the band’s deep cuts.