Billy Corgan of Smashing Pumpkins fame has had a lot of hits in the past, but he’s had his equal share of misses as well. He’s been lauded and adored by fans, but he’s been jeered, hated on, called the biggest douche in the universe, et al. Even recently he’s hit a lot of nerves pissing off the progressive left (not sure what’s so progressive about them anymore) and the politically correct thought police by speaking his mind on a number of subjects, including going on the record with Alex Jones, of all people, comparing social justice warriors to the KKK. This of course has caused a backlash and Corgan is now deemed a racist among certain folks, but isn’t everything and everyone racist these days? Then Corgan got involved in professional wrestling, nothing wrong with that, that’s just something he seems to love, but it gave his critics something else to mock him over. Corgan, to many, had finally lost it, he was officially off the reservation, he was washed up and completely out of his mind.
Then along comes Ogilala. It’s Billy Corgan’s first solo album in over a decade and it’s great. It’s easy to listen to. It’s not annoying. It’s stripped down and raw. The lyrics are real and from the heart. Every song is consistent all the way through from front to back. The arrangements are impeccable, some of the most beautiful string arrangements I’ve heard in some time. Corgan’s voice, although not for everyone, is at least real, no super-fake effects are used on this record to hide any flaws that might be there. What you hear is what you get. Oh, did I mention Rick Rubin produced the record? Rick fucking Rubin produced Ogilala. Yes, the guy that turned Johnny Cash into a jukebox right before he died produced this record. He’s the master of bringing out the best in artists with the stripped-down style, and Corgan shines this way. No fluff or filler here, just pure artistry. This is a comeback record for Corgan.
In modern rock ‘n’ roll journalism it’s nearly all left wingers writing things, so because of Billy Corgan’s behavior and what he’s said in the recent past, which are all mostly non-issues blown way out of proportion, he’ll be written off, this record will be written off. These folks won’t give him or this record much of a chance, they won’t listen to it, or they’ll listen to it with their biases on. However, I suggest that you remove your own biases, if you have any, and try your best to remove any negativity you feel toward Billy Corgan and just judge this record on the music alone. Give this record a chance. It’s a pretty damned impressive work.
William Patrick Corgan