You'd Prefer an Astronaut

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All Music Guide - Ned Raggett
Having partially created what many felt was a template for the Smashing Pumpkins to become successful, Hum found itself in an unenviable spot when the lead single from its major-label debut, "Stars," became a hit precisely because of that sound. There's certainly a similar connection at points, what with some fierce, chopping feedback and crisp drum slams, but the lyrical portrait is less solipsistic and somehow the whole song feels more inspirational and dreamy for it. Like the song itself, then, You'd Prefer An Astronaut is, for all the similar love of psychedelic volume in service of emotion, its own beast, most specifically because of the singing. Talbott's lead vocals ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Ned Raggett
Having partially created what many felt was a template for the Smashing Pumpkins to become successful, Hum found itself in an unenviable spot when the lead single from its major-label debut, "Stars," became a hit precisely because of that sound. There's certainly a similar connection at points, what with some fierce, chopping feedback and crisp drum slams, but the lyrical portrait is less solipsistic and somehow the whole song feels more inspirational and dreamy for it. Like the song itself, then, You'd Prefer An Astronaut is, for all the similar love of psychedelic volume in service of emotion, its own beast, most specifically because of the singing. Talbott's lead vocals are much more restrained than Billy Corgan's aggro screams, bearing more immediate comparison with, say, Mark Kozelek of the Red House Painters or Stephen Immerwahr of Codeine. Sounding crushed and regretful amid the surge and flow of the music, his singing generally feels very approachable, reflective rather than declarative. When he does let loose with screaming here and there, it's nowhere near as strained as Corgan, something which a lot of people might be terribly happy about. As for the music, the quartet can work up a thick head of steam without cloning Corgan or James Iha's metallic rampage, just that little more dreamier and muted around the corners. Songs like "The Pod" and "I'd Like Your Hair Long" certainly recall the chunkier punch of such Pumpkins numbers as "I Am One" and "Cherub Rock," but, again, they easily stand on their own. Elsewhere, the slow building shimmer and then release of "Why I Like the Robins" is very much the band's own individual creations, as is the soft, hurt drawl on "The Very Old Man" and the downbeat start of "I Hate It Too," for all things fire up towards the end.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 4/11/1995
  • Label: Rca
  • UPC: 078636657721
  • Catalog Number: 66577

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Hum Primary Artist
Technical Credits
Adam Schmitt Engineer
Keith Cleversley Producer, Engineer
Hum Producer
Jeff Van Steen Mastering
Matt Talbott Contributor
Tim Lash Contributor
Bryan St. Pere Contributor
Jeff Dimpsey Contributor
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    The pinnacle.

    This album is, in a word, perfect. It has been in my personal top ten for over ten years strong and will, I assume, remain nestled there forever. The general public somehow missed the dreamboat on this one- and it's utterly tragic. Successful circumstance would have most likely resulted in subsequent HUM releases aside from the singular follow up to this seminal work. They ended up lumped in with various doomed hipster music scenes- due to touring with only available options in the mid '90s- and unfortunately received guilty-by-association connotations. It's a terrible scenerio. This album is the very definition of my high school years. Mathematically and scientifically obsessed, HUM use other-wordly shimmers of noise and walls of guitar bombast combined with graceful and subtle vocals and interludes to elevate intellectual policy to spiritual experience. No other band before or since has captured the dreamy headiness of the intristic embellishent physics applies to simple day to day occurances. No one has, for myself atleast, been able to reduce me to an infantile version of myself- sitting in the backyard staring cluelessly into an eternal ether, wondering just how anything could be at all significant in such a vast pool of nothing. Fast foward 12 years, and you get a sloppy review by some random dude who can do no better than sideline them with comparisons to The Smashing Pumpkins and their Nosferatu-esque leader. What a shame.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 19, 2012

    A Silicone Wasteland They Left Inside My Mind

    Sadly,there will never be another band like Hum. They are, without doubt, the most underrated band of all time. Referring to Hum, a wise man once said, "Their guitar riffs are made of tiny explosions." How true that is.

    Note: Be sure to pick up the tribute album.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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