100 Best Albums of the '90s

From Moby to Nirvana, the records that defined a decade

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The Smashing Pumpkins, 'Siamese Dream'

23. The Smashing Pumpkins, 'Siamese Dream'

Chief pumpkin Billy Corgan took the idea of quality control to its obsessive conclusion by playing most of this album's guitar and bass parts himself — a rough deal for guitarist James Iha and bassist D'Arcy. But Siamese Dream — co-produced with Butch Vig, fresh from Nirvana's Nevermind — is Corgan's idealized, super-hands-on version of the full band's soaring, angst-spiked psychedelia. (The Pumpkins' glorious onstage expansions of "Silverfuck" were proof enough that Corgan couldn't do it all on his own.) That the album remains one of alt-rock's most enduring documents is down to Corgan's acute commercial vision — the way he dolled up the confessional indulgence of "Today" and "Disarm" in heavy-Seventies pop lace — and the sheer power of the playing. No matter who did what.

Rolling Stone's Original 1993 Review

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