The Smashing Pumpkins have never been the best visual artists. None of their videos are particularly cool. “Rocket” is one of my favorites because it is whimsical and kind of strange. “Tonight Tonight” gained all the acclaim and it does look pretty good, but its not my favorite song. “Stand Inside Your Love” is most visually exciting and artistic interpretation of an SP song to date. “Bullet,” “Zero,” “That’s the Way,” “Tarantula,” “Today,” and most others are just an excuse for me to listen to the music, but fall short as visual companions. For me, besides “Stand Inside Your Love,” the best video might be Jonas Akerlund’s “The Everlasting Gaze” because it is intense and showcases the band actually playing music without an overarching story line. They are so technically fierce at times that I just want to see Billy play guitar and Jimmy (or Mike) play the frenetic drum patterns heard in the songs as in the unofficial video for “Ode to No One.”
The Pumpkins just released a short film directed by Robby Starbuck for “Owata” – the first since Akerland’s second video and short film about derelict youth addicted to heroin in “Try, Try, Try” – a video that synchs up better with the music. This is such a sweet and dynamic little song – one of the Teargarden by Kaleidyscope releases – that the film detracts from it. I know Billy is a big wrestling fan and this movie is part fan boy love letter, part symbolic tale of the Pumpkins starting over after being shafted by management and fans, but the subject matter would have been better suited for the “G.L.O.W” video. It works because A) it is also the acronym for the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling and B) the power and heaviness of the song flows better with the elbow-dropping, body slamming action of wrestling. The condensed music video version soon to be released may fare better as a companion to the song than the short film.
Either way I’m holding tight for the album-within-an-album, “Oceania,” a component of the ongoing TBK effort that has the blogosphere alight with stories of Billy breaking out the big, old-school Pumpkin guitar tricks, all 4 members of the band working together to write and record, and the return to the loud and pretty sound that they do so well.