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Future Embrace

The Future Embrace

5.0 3
by Billy Corgan
Billy Corgan has grown less and less shy about wearing his heart on his sleeve as he's moved through his various musical stages, but the onetime Smashing Pumpkins leader has taken a quantum leap on that front on this, his first solo album. He pretty much admits such an intention with the album-opening "All Things Change," an


Billy Corgan has grown less and less shy about wearing his heart on his sleeve as he's moved through his various musical stages, but the onetime Smashing Pumpkins leader has taken a quantum leap on that front on this, his first solo album. He pretty much admits such an intention with the album-opening "All Things Change," an unabashedly pretty paean to positivity that seems to channel George Harrison with its mantra-like insistence that "we can change the world." Corgan's in a decidedly spiritual -- even downright religious -- place these days, as evidenced by the wide-eyed "Mina Loy," which uses a sinuous bass line to buoy its message of corporeal divestiture. While there's certainly a smattering of guitar on the disc, Corgan doesn't go out of his way to kick out the jams. Most of the songs rest on a bed of synthesizer and other keyboards -- with the odd string section thrown into the mix. For the most part, that's a good idea, but on a cover of the Bee Gees' "To Love Somebody" -- which features a cameo by Cure frontman Robert Smith -- the syrup tends to get uncomfortably sticky. It's hard to carp too much, however, because Corgan is clearly trying so hard to be understood -- even, on songs like the hand-wringing "The Camera Eye," when such revelations might cast him in less-than-flattering light. And while Corgan spends plenty of time pondering the results of his past actions, The Future Embrace ultimately sounds like exactly what its title might indicate -- the first steps of a man eager to experience (and share) what's around the next corner.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Billy Corgan sounded happy, relaxed, and refreshed on Mary Star of the Sea, the 2003 debut from his first post-Smashing Pumpkins project, Zwan, which just goes to show that art doesn't always reflect the mindset of the artist. Zwan imploded in a matter of months after the release of Mary, and ever since then Corgan was on mission to let the world know that his time in the band was the worst time of his life, telling the world how perfectly awful and nasty the rest of the group was every time he spoke to reporters. Not only did he purge himself of the band in the press, but he bared his soul in a starkly confessional blog on Myspace, where he revealed more than most needed to know about everything from his childhood to the heyday of the Pumpkins. It was all part of a spiritual and creative rebirth that continued with 2005's The Future Embrace, his first solo album. Abandoning the bright, fuzzy guitars of Zwan and never returning to the dense, heavy neo-psychedelia of the Pumpkins at their peak, Corgan constructs The Future Embrace with drum machines, synthesizers, and brittle, heavily treated guitars that echo into infinity on each track. Musically, it's closest to Adore, yet it's a distant cousin: if that album hinted at '80s synth rock and goth, this re-creates the spirit and sound of 1986, right down to the robotic pulse of the rhythms, the cold, slick surface of the production, and the brooding, self-absorbed atmosphere. It's not so much a progression as it an attempt to hit the restart button and begin all over again. Corgan not only returns to the music of his teenage years here, but his dramatic, emotive lyrics, which articulate his feelings far more directly than they have in the past, are terminally adolescent (and seem even more so when printed in the liner notes, where certain phrases are grandly emphasized via all capital letters). While the music mirrors the roiling emotions of his lyrics quite well -- "The Cameraeye" is tense and restless, "Pretty, Pretty Star" is a gentle sigh -- Corgan is more interested in texture than craft here, sacrificing hooks for mood music. Which is a roundabout way of saying that there aren't too many memorable songs here (and it's the reason why his cover of the Bee Gees' "To Love Somebody" works: it's the only song here that not only has a strong melody, but the only one that has forward momentum; all the other cuts sustain one mood from beginning to end). But, to criticize The Future Embrace for not being chock-full of hits and hooks, the way Siamese Dream or Mellon Collie were, is to miss the point: like his confessional blogs, this album is a way for Corgan to sort things out and start again. Consequently, it's for those fans who want to follow his journey, either out of empathy, curiosity, sympathy, or perhaps because they can also relate. Such a small-scale record seems a little odd coming from a rocker who was intent on conquering the world in the early '90s -- and surely there will be many who liked Smashing Pumpkins yet will never warm to this, either because of its electro-goth sound or because, like Trent Reznor on With Teeth, Corgan doesn't quite seem able to break out of an angst-ridden lyrical rut -- but he's no longer concerned with being the biggest or the best. Corgan's exploring his own little world, one that may have a more selective appeal than either Smashing Pumpkins or Zwan, but will nevertheless resonate to those who bother to regularly check in on his Myspace page.

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Reprise / Wea

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The Future Embrace 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This album shows what can achevied when searching for a new path in life.The Future Embrace shows us the range of which Corgan is willing to experiment to keep creating music that will not fall into the norms of everyday rock.Though the album seems a bad collection of songs off the hat it is a challenge issued by Corgan to his fans, music lovers and even people who hated his old bands.This album makes points,feelings,thoughts and suggestions about Corgan's new path in life this virtually shows corgan bearing his heart in his swirl of music.The Future Embrace has a slight Cure feel about it as it features it frontman in one of the songs but also in the way this album builds its atmosphere.Many people find this record hard to bear because they reckon its because the music is terrible but probably because they are scared of music that could show them who they truly are inside for this music can bring up feelings from deep inside a person which tends to make people who live a lie feel uncomfortable.This album makes 40 something minutes of soul searching for both artist and the listener worthwhile for those who find music spiritually healing and not just something to bang your head to beat of. All in all this album is worth buying for those who love music.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am a big fan of the Smashing Pumpkins and my favorite album is Machina and the Machines of God. I read some bad reviews about this album before I bought it from people comparing it to past Smashing Pumpkins albums. This album may not have the past grunge that some may want, but it is a very good melodic album and I believe that Billy Corgan as a solo artist can be just as big as the Smashing Pumpkins were because in my opinion he made that band the unique band it was.I think this is a great change, people grow older and think differently every passing day, and if everything stayed the same forever people would grow tired of it. Nobody else sounds like Billy Corgan and if you enjoyed Machina, Adore and songs like Tonight Tonight, you will not be dissapointed at all with this album.
Guest More than 1 year ago
From one of the greatest bands in the 90's comes a great solo album. Every song, comes from the heart, and bleeds, with emotion.