Oct 16

Smashing Pumpkins: “Crush”


Billy Corgan would like to show you his Mardi Gras beads.

There was this band that I was thinking about for an October post — it seemed so appropriate, but I can’t quite remember now. What was it? The Drinking Eggnogs? The Stuffing Turkeys? No, that’s November. The Eating Candies? Oh, so close. The Dumb Jokes? Ah yes, that’s more like it.

Yes, a Smashing Pumpkins song does make an appropriate choice for an October post, in the most obvious sense. And to be honest, they did come to mind for this post thanks to thinking about Halloween pumpkins, but beyond that I simply realized that I’d never featured them here, so why not? In a way, name aside, they’re a very Fall season sort of band: even on their more upbeat songs, there’s a hint of darkness and melancholy (or, yes, “Mellon Collie”) that brings to mind the shortening days of Fall and Winter. Billy Corgan tinges the songs with sadness in a way that would make them seem antithetical to spring and summer listening.

And so it is with the beautiful “Crush,” the song that ends the first side (on vinyl, of course) of their 1991 debut album, Gish. It gently strums and pulses its way along, atmospheric but not overwrought. The singing here proved that Corgan’s unusual voice could work as well in a softer setting as it does on the heavier tracks. Lyrically, “Crush” is a surprisingly straightforward love song from Corgan, and the aforementioned sadness really only comes into play in the song’s melody, as though, despite never really saying so via the lyrics, it’s either the memory of a love that eventually went wrong or a current one that he foresees an impending end to. Despite generally being an odd duck, Corgan is a romantic at heart, and here shows us his soft side, without venturing into sappy-dom. Recommended listening for a chilly Fall day with the wind whistling its way past your windows.

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