Monuments to an Elegy marks Billy Corgan’s return to 90s styled rock, and yes, let’s be honest here, Billy Corgan IS Smashing Pumpkins, no-one else gets creative input in the band. Album number nine sounds like the 90s iconic alt-grunge-rock sound without the grunge and is ready for your aural pleasure in the form of tracks like Tiberius, Monuments and One and All. Dorian feels like a track that fell off the back of Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, and that is not a bad thing.
One and All stands out as my favourite track from the album, mainly due to the driving, grungy guitarwork that still comes across with the full force of its emotion. Run2Me follows, and it sounds like a strange track from Muse’s The 2nd Law, complete with synth based pop progressions and a minimalistic drumbeat that underpins the hooks. Billy Corgan even seemed to get into the spirit of the pop track with his vocals being the most commercially viable since the release of 1979. Drum + Fife is the acoustic based track of the album and even though I much prefer the heavier tracks on this album, the song ranks quite highly for me, mainly due to the explosive drums and the mass of instruments used throughout.
We need to be fair to Smashing Pumpkins. Everyone wants to hear a repeat performance of Mellon Collie and Siamese Dream, however bands that stay the same get crucified for having no progression (see: AC/DC). Billy Corgan turned 47 this year. People change, and I think this album is a great release from a band that has managed to maintain a large fanbase over three distinct decades.