#23: Black Uhuru, ‘Red’ (1981) vs. The Smashing Pumpkins, ‘Siamese Dream’ (1993)

This one might be the toughest one for me. These albums took a while to take hold. Also, it’s hard to find a through line connection for comparison between them. The quintessential 90s shoe-gazer vs. the blueprint for 80s reggae. To me they both felt sorta ho-hum. I know better grunge and I know better reggae.

After repeated listening, that opinion changed for me with one album at least. I didn’t want to like Siamese Dream; and this was working out fine for me until I finally let the album play past the first 5 tracks. The album starts off okay but it feels very superficial. A bit empty and one note. Little did I know the depth that was to come. I think the term ‘Burying the lead’ applies very well to Siamese Dream. This album gets better as it progresses. It gets more complex. It gets more melodic. It gets way more emotional.

Billy Corgan knew what he was doing and I didn’t give him enough credit. I thought he was (1) a crybaby adolescent who made angsty music in the comfort of his bedroom; (2) luckily tapping into the angsty zeitgeist of the 90s by going out of his bedroom; and (3) rocking with a kick ass band that was better than he deserved. I was ever so wrong. My quick judgement was unwarranted.

So, in my desire to get past this battle. A quick decision is in order.

The Crybaby wins! And I learned a little something about being too hard on Billy Corgan.


P.S. I eventually did warm up to Red too. It was actually really great.

WINNER: The Smashing Pumpkins, Siamese Dream (3 points)


80s: 11

90s: 17

80s: 20
90s: 34

Next week’s battle – #22: The Smiths, The Smiths (1984) vs. Jeff Buckley, Grace (1994)


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