‘Empires’ by The Smashing Pumpkins – Single Rating: 4/5 ★★★★☆
The Smashing Pumpkins latest body of work is so vast that it is coming out in three stages. Also, lead singer and head writer Billy Corgan dissect a track each week on a podcast called ‘Thirty Three’. (titled this as it’s the total number of new tracks the band are releasing).
The Smashing Pumpkins latest single ‘Empires’ resides on Act Two of their opus ‘ATUM’. This collection was released on the 31st January. ‘ATUM’ is apparently the sequel to the bands 1995 double album ‘Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness’. Also, their 2000 release ‘Machina’ – ‘The Machines Of God’.
Huge Guitar Riff
‘Empires’ is based around a huge guitar riff that provides the hook of the song. It’s a beauty of a riff panned across the speakers with two guitar tracks in the intro. Jimmy Chamberlain’s drumming is also a highlight in the intro playing wonderful fills.
The riff is the hook and remains a catchy constant throughout ‘Empires’. But, the rock opera feel really comes across through the haunting female backing vocals delivered by Katie Cole and Sierra Swan. These vocals really make the track different and interesting, and their presence gel the whole song together. They bring a Meat loaf ‘Bat Out Of Hell II – Back Into Hell’ vibe to it, (a weird comparison I know).
Lyrically, Billy Corgan is at his best delivering brilliantly crafted lines such as ‘the fascist face of faith’ and ‘kiss the brutal fist of hate’ – wonderful writing.
The Smashing Pumpkins first debuted ‘Empires’ back in September last year, incorporating into one of their setlists at a gig in Chicago. ‘Empires’ will no doubt become a live staple, and arguably it has the potential to become the bands biggest hit since 1996’s ‘Tonight, Tonight’. A brilliant return to form.
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