Thursday, July 12, 2007

"Zeitgeist" Re-review

OK, in addition to (and sometimes contrary to) my previous review, here's a further reaction to Zeitgeist. I've been listening to the album over and over (to get my money's worth, since I sure as hell didn't get my money's worth from Billy Corgan's TheFutureEmbrace). Last review (after one streaming listen from AOL's Spinner), I could only hear a little bit of Brian May guitar tone, as well as some Wyld Stallyns-approved riffage. Listening to the album over and over, with the speakers blasting and with my headphones on (during separate listens), there's a lot of Billy voice, more so than I had previously mentioned. It's everywhere. There are several ohs in the intro of "Starz" that I only heard with my headphones on. It's the Queen/Roy Thomas Baker treament - voices everywhere. Instead of a lead guitar overdub, it's a vocal chorus of Corgans.

Last week I said, "It's more of a guitar-and-drums album." I take that back. Vocals are everywhere, not in a screaming or crooning or look at me kind of way. The drums are there and the guitars too, but there's so much voice as an instrument (not necessarily as vocals)...and the fact it's Billy Corgan's tone attached to that new instrument...strange and rocking at the same time.

By the way, after listening to a record label-sponsored podcast called "Inside Zeitgeist," I have a newfound respect for the requisite epic "United States." Last time I wrote, "The requisite Corgan epic, 'United States' is in the same league as Machina's 'Glass and the Ghost Children,' which is to say it's not as strong as 'Porcelina of the Vast Oceans' or 'Mary Star of the Sea.'" I sort of take that back. While "Porcelina" and Zwan's "Mary" are high on my list of epic songs, "United States" is significantly better than "Glass." Why? In the interview, Jimmy Chamberlin said that he recorded the entire nine-minute drum track straight through, no click tracks, no pro tools (which I'm assuming means both the program Pro Tools and a generic term like xeroxing and photoshopping). Hell, it's Jimmy Chamberlin for crying out loud. The song is longer than nine minutes, it's essentially a drum solo (according to Chamberlin and I concur somewhat), and there are several tempo changes - musical movements.

That's my glowing re-review. I'm just glad I got my money's worth from buying the album.

To be fair, this is the dissenting opinion:

But the best lyric of the album has to be at the end of "7 Shades of Black," where Billy sings "as St. Patrick pipes on!"...which is probably a self-reference, seeing as Patrick is his middle name and that he was born on his middle-namesake's day (I think...).

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