Album Review: The Smashing Pumpkins – CYR

Harry Linley reviews The Smashing Pumpkins' latest LP, CYR.

Harry Linley
9th December 2020
CYR is a synth-pop marathon, but it does hide some gems in its long-winded stagger to Track 20.

“I’m gonna make a contemporary music record; I don’t care what it takes” Billy Corgan recently told NME. The album embodies this desperation. An ambition to be one of the occasional new singles outside of the same 50 songs played by Radio X. Each track adding to the sinking feeling that you can only stay relevant by surrendering entirely to the sound of The 1975.

The first saving grace of CYR is ‘The Colour Of Love’, sporting a memorable hook and glimpses of Corgan’s nightmare-land narrative. The single ‘Cyr’ also has charm; it's a song which lives up to the album’s intentions in that, if it had been released by a young new Indie band, it would have received more appreciation.

The next song with any flavour is ‘Ramona’. Before 2016, its name would have reminded me exclusively of Scott Pilgrim, but now it rings like a Brexit lament. An unfortunate coincidence in name, not helped by the repetitive nature of the chorus. ‘Wyttch’ is the only nod to The Smashing Pumpkins gothic alt-rock roots, but its solidarity makes it feel like a throwback for the fans, some sugar to help them swallow Corgan’s mission to be “contemporary”. It only serves to make the listener reminisce the band’s guitar-centred past.

CYR is like an essay that significantly flaunted the word count. It is probably most kindly judged if you only listen halfway. If you stop after ‘Wyttch’ and leave behind any expectations of being drawn into the creepy dreamscape of Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness and Siamese Dream, then CYR can be viewed not only as a significant improvement on SHINY AND OH SO BRIGHT, but as an enjoyable album.


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