Billy Corgan - The Future Embrace

Billy Corgan
The Future Embrace

(Reprise)

First Appeared in The Music Box, July 2005, Volume 12, #7

Written by John Metzger

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The bright and joyous pop-oriented musings of Zwan have vanished. Gone, too, is the raging pulse of Smashing Pumpkins. Instead, Billy Corgan travels inward on his solo debut The Future Embrace, and in doing so, he immerses himself within an ambient suite of songs that allows him to get in touch with the fan of The Cure that always has lurked beneath the surface of his material. Given this, it isnít such a surprise to learn that Robert Smith contributed his idiosyncratic vocals to a gloom-and-doom cover of the Bee Geesí To Love Somebody, which undoubtedly is one of the albumís highlights.

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Nevertheless, The Future Embrace isnít an entirely successful gambit, and its problems lie in the fact that without a surrounding set of bandmates and collaborators to tug at Corganís vision and force him to adopt a larger worldview, much of the effort suffers, at least initially, from a single-mindedness that threatens, at times, to derail the proceedings. Indeed, whether by design or by accident, much of the outing trades melody for atmosphere, and as a result, many of its tracks take awhile to find both traction and resonance. Sure, DIA is faintly reminiscent of Tonight, Tonight, if only the latter tune had appeared on Adore rather than Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. Similarly, the circular rhythmic groove of The Cameraeye as well as the shimmering guitars, electronic beats, and swirling synthesizers of Mina Loy (M.O.H.) strike an ominous and edgy pose ó even if their soundscapes are plucked directly from the mid-í80s. Yet, thereís a detached sense of isolation that also pervades the collection, and although this mood isnít one that is entirely new to Corganís work, the lack of a driving sense of urgency means that thereís less fuel to propel his songs forward. To his credit, Corgan successfully avoided turning The Future Embrace into an outing that sounds derivative, but its cold, synthetic fragility also makes the affair a daunting challenge ó even for his most ardent fans. starstarstar

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Ratings

1 Star:   Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!

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Copyright © 2005 The Music Box