Pause for a moment to appreciate the fact that the title of “Monuments to an Elegy” is built around two words that both refer to commemorations of something once great that has died. Smashing Pumpkins long ago ceased to be the band that it will be forever remembered as — something cruelly underlined by Mötley Crüe’s Tommy Lee manning the drum chair with a fraction of the subtlety and momentum formerly provided by Jimmy Chamberlin. Billy Corgan’s musical gifts, much like his monomaniacal-perfectionist reputation, have soured over the years, and these songs are failed epics in miniature. The Asia-style synth-rock bombast of “Run to Me” should be right in the band’s wheelhouse, but it lacks the grandeur that the Pumpkins (or even Asia) could have effortlessly mustered in their heyday. Corgan’s tight yowl alone distinguishes “Anti-Hero,” “Tiberius,” and others from the updated hair-metal acts that opened concerts for Lee’s previous band in recent years, and the sludgy “Anaise”
goosesteps to nowhere. By contrast, “Being Beige” is merely flavorless. Time was, that would make it the worst song on a Pumpkins album. (Out Tuesday)
ESSENTIAL “Being Beige“Marc Hirsh can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @spacecitymarc.