July 20th, 2012 1:00am
Two Of Us, That’s Dangerous
The most basic appeal of the Smashing Pumpkins comes from the way Billy Corgan strips out the dull machismo from hard rock and replaces it with sensitive androgyny and ecstatic spirituality. Like a majority of the rock stars of the early ’90s, Corgan rebelled against the dude-ness of his own genre, but thanks to the unavoidable femininity of his voice and his soft baby face, he was able to depart from tradition more dramatically than the more obviously masculine likes of Kurt Cobain and Eddie Vedder. Unsurprisingly, one of the most dramatic, joyous, and definitive moments in the entire sprawling Pumpkins catalog comes on “Frail and Bedazzled” when he declares “all I wanted was to be a man / but since I gave up / I FEEL FREE! / I FEEL FREE! / I FEEL FREE! / I FEEL FREE!,” which each iteration of those last three words seeming increasingly emphatic and liberating.