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Review of the Album "Gish" by Alternative Rock Band the Smashing Pumpkins

Updated on June 10, 2020
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Ara is a Journalism graduate from California State University Northridge who is always looking to explore his writing opportunities.

The Significance of the Album Gish

Chicago area band The Smashing Pumpkins released their debut album called Gish in 1991. The album is described as being a very spiritual kind of album. It is optimistic to believe that we can grow spiritually by the power of music. Although Gish is over 26 years old, a review is deserved because of the album’s spiritual lyrical themes, the guitar work and the musical variety which was rare for alternative rock albums back in this period. Gish was released in the same year as Nirvana’s Nevermind and this review is not meant to compare that album to this one but to show that even 28 years later, Gish is still worth listening to. Just briefly checking out this album again is more than just nostalgia. I feel myself thinking that I may like this album more than Siamese Dream.

A Photo of the CD Gish


The Songs I Am One and Siva

The first song called I Am One is a sort of call for someone to turn to a guiding light when their lives are in total disarray. That same lyrical theme continues in the second song called Siva. Sometimes deep within our hearts our souls are torn apart and we are looking for a way to heal our souls that have been badly hurt.

Why Is Rhinoceros a Significant Song In the Band's Career?

Rhinoceros is the song that is picked by some fans as being one of the band’s best songs ever. The song has this slower, sort of dreamy quality to it which is something that other alternative bands at the time did not really experiment with. But then the messy distorted guitar kicks in.


The Song Called "Crush"

Who Plays on Gish and Why Should We Give it Credit?

This band is famous for guitarist and vocalist Billy Corgan. Jimmy Chamberlain plays the drums while James Iha, a second-generation Japanese American plays guitar as well. The bass guitars for this album and up until 1999 are handled by D’arcy Wretzky. The song Bury Me has a heavy emphasis on bass lines that are pretty loud for these guys. The song also has a weird, shrieking kind of sound like an amplifier that has feedback in it. Credit must be given to this album for having so many different kinds of musical experimentation and the soft contrast that we hear in Gish.

The Song Called Suffer

Gish: the Rest of the Album

Crush is a song that has this sort of atmospheric feel to it and it has this slow kind of guitar playing. The song addresses love, a subject that has been covered in so many books, magazines, and songs. Sometimes, all that matters is love. Love others as much as you can because love is one of the most powerful feelings in the world and it can also be a major way to transform our lives. Corgan had written this song for his then future wife. The next song called Suffer continues in the tradition or style of atmospheric, doom style alternative rock. When we have suffered so much as a result of our actions and mistakes, we must rise up from our darkest moments and become a sort of agent for change. The weakest song in Gish is the one called I Am One. The next song Window Paine (yes that is the way the song’s title is spelled), is a song about doing what you want to do today and right now and to not wait until tomorrow to do and say what you wanted to say. The song is really slow with D’arcy’s bass lines contributing again. Speaking of D’arcy, she does the lead vocals for the first of two double songs called Daydream. The second part of this song is called I’m Going Crazy. Both songs are about doing what we can to find love yet we are driven crazy to the point where there is insanity in our minds as we become worn out and frustrated chasing what seems to elude us.

"Daydream & I'm Going Crazy"

© 2017 Ara Vahanian


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