Smashing Pumpkins

Earphoria (Virgin)

Now that they've busted up, like Pumpkins smashed on curbs the night after Halloween, it's time to admit most everything post-Siamese Dream was way overrated by the kids who found much meaning in bald Billy's dreary fart-rock; look, when the words don't say nothin', they don't mean nothin'. (Yeah, yeah--God is dead, God's alive, God's everywhere in everything and everyone. Dude, seriously, what else ya got?) Tried giving Greatest Hits a spin to make sure there was some muscle on that beat meat, only to (re)discover that, yup, from Melon Collie on this was a band that could bore you to death no matter how loud it played or how far (from sense) it strayed. Then, there are people out there still listening to ELO, and better this than that, but just friggin' barely.

This comp, the audio portion of the long-forgotten Vieuphoria VHS resurrected for a new DVD, is what I'll play when I can't find Gish or Siamese Dream, the two smashing albums among a handful worth trashing. Consisting of in-concert recordings made in 1993 and '94, Earphoria's as messy as a teen-ager's room, which is part (OK, most) of its charm: Songs end abruptly, fade for no good reason, get buried beneath blankets of distortion, play way short (some under a minute) and way too long (a bruising "Why Am I So Tired" answers its own question by clocking in at 15:13) and, in general, do little to convince the unconverted that the Pumpkins were best after Billy C. started shaving his head down to the cerebellum. Highlights: acoustic "Cherub Rock," which still kills; "I Am One," bad motherfucker that is; "Slunk," taken from Japanese TV, which makes it super happy good fun; "Geek U.S.A.," someone's national anthem; and "Silverfuck," just because. Lowlights: worst packaging ever.

 
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