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MACHINA/The Machines of God

From Academic Kids

Template:Album infoboxMACHINA/The Machines of God is The Smashing Pumpkins' fifth and final studio album, released on February 29, 2000. It is a concept album, albeit very loosely.

Although Machina is the band's final official LP release and is generally considered to be the band's final album, a sequel to the album was released independently via the Internet which contained rough recordings of other songs that were left off Machina and Adore. Technically, Machina II is the final Smashing Pumpkins album.

Machina is generally considered to be among The Smashing Pumpkins' least successful releases. Entering the U.S. charts at #3, the album quickly slid down the charts, barely going gold. As of May 2005, U.S. sales currently stand at 582,000 units.

Contents

The Arising! Tour

In March 1999, The Pumpkins announced that they would be embarking on an 8 date tour of small clubs across the United States. No details were released but the related promotional material indicated an image change. The band's logo was written in the form of a heavy metal band, and featured detailed dark artwork, a massive contrast to the band's Adore-era image. It was speculated that this tour was planned to test new material and to welcome former drummer Jimmy Chamberlin back into the band, as rumours at the time were persisting at his return.

The rumours were correct. April 10 marked Chamberlin's official return into the band with a set that included songs from all the Pumpkins albums, including Adore, as well as a set of new songs. Fans were more than pleased with the new songs that contained a heavier hard rock edge than their recent output on Adore.

New songs played on the tour were:

  • "Glass' Theme"
  • "Virex"
  • "Dross"
  • "Speed Kills"
  • "Blue Skies Bring Tears"
  • "Stand Inside Your Love"
  • "Glass and the Ghost Children"
  • "Wound"
  • "Cash Car Star"
  • "Home"
  • "If There Is a God"
  • "With Every Light"

The Arising! tour was also the last time original bassist D'arcy appeared with the band. According to the band, she handled all the bass duties on Machina before departing (the exception being Age of Innocence which was written and recorded after all other tracks). She was replaced by former Hole bassist Melissa Auf der Maur. The Arising! tour served to be the last time the 4 original Pumpkins appeared together live.

Recording

The recording of Machina was unusually secretive compared to the documentaries that were filmed for Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness and Adore. Much like Mellon Collie the songs were first tracked acoustically at Sadlands in late 1998 and completed at Pumpkinland and the Chicago Recording Company from November 1998 to October 1999 with Brad Wood and Flood. The exception, however, is the song Age of Innocence which was recorded at the Village Recorder in November 1999 without D'arcy.

The album

Fans were surprised when the Machina tracklist was released with only five tracks from The Arising! featuring (it was later discovered that The Imploding Voice was a reworking of Virex). Corgan also mentioned in an interview that all but 3 of the songs were re-written, and were added to a huge list of 40 that had been written for the album. After the dissolution of the band, the remaining tracks were released on Machina II and Corgan revealed that it was originally his intention to release a second album, purposely leaving those tracks behind.

Many of the songs on the album refer to relationships (both romantic and otherwise) ending, most of them obvious references to the band themselves. Frontman and songwriter Billy Corgan has asserted that Machina was always intended to be the band's final album, and was the reason for recruiting Jimmy Chamberlin back into the band. Corgan has also said it was meant to be a double album (with MACHINA II/The Friends & Enemies of Modern Music being the second disc) but that idea was not approved by Virgin Records as they didn't want to release another double album so soon after 1995's Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness.

Machina as a concept album

Machina is generally known as a concept album. Although the concept may not be apparent on listening to the album, the connecting themes and stories are revealed with the aid of several stories written by Corgan and posted to the (now extinct) band's official website in a section called "chards of glass". A competition was also held, the winner would be the person who could most accurately describe the story and theme of Machina. The story and theme is wide and complicated with many different characters and is open to interpretation.

Conclusion

Much the same as with Adore, Machina was just as unsuccessful in the commercial market despite a huge image and sound change. It was these bad sales that prompted Corgan to announce that the band would in fact disband before the end of 2000. It is assumed that he had originally wanted to record and release Machina II before the breakup as a final album, but was unable to due to Machina's already lagging sales.

However, the band's tours for Machina were highly successful, even before the break-up announcement. The tours (Resume the Pose and The Sacred + Profane) were extremely popular as many fans were eager to see the band reunited with Chamberlin, and the slew of old songs added back into their set....

Tracks

  1. "The Everlasting Gaze" - 4:00
  2. "Raindrops + Sunshowers" - 4:39
  3. "Stand Inside Your Love" - 4:14
  4. "I of the Mourning" - 4:37
  5. "The Sacred and Profane" - 4:22
  6. "Try, Try, Try" - 5:09
  7. "Heavy Metal Machine" - 5:52
  8. "This Time" - 4:43
  9. "The Imploding Voice" - 4:24
  10. "Glass and the Ghost Children" - 9:56
  11. "Wound" - 3:58
  12. "The Crying Tree of Mercury" - 3:43
  13. "With Every Light" - 3:56
  14. "Blue Skies Bring Tears" - 5:45
  15. "Age of Innocence" - 3:55

Some European releases, i.e. those under Hut Records and those on vinyl, have an added track, "Speed Kills".

Outtakes

  • The following songs are those that were written and/or recorded for Machina but did not make the final cut, were not complete or did not get past the demo stage. Most were released on Machina II:
  • "Speed Kills" (released on the Stand Inside Your Love single as a b-side, and as a bonus track on the album)
  • "Cash Car Star" (also recorded for Adore)
  • "Disco King" (an early version of The Everlasting Gaze)
  • "Dross"
  • "Glass' Theme"
  • "Go"
  • "Here's to the Atom Bomb"
  • "Home"
  • "Let Me Give the World to You" (also recorded for Adore)
  • "Real Love"
  • "Death Boogie"
  • "In My Body"
  • "If There is a God"
  • "Le Deux Machina"
  • "Saturnine" (also recorded for Adore)

Personnel

  • Bill Douglas - Mixing
  • Mike Garson - Piano
  • Jimmy Chamberlin - Drums
  • Billy Corgan - Producer, Art Direction, Mixing, Guitar, Vocals, Bass
  • Flood - Producer, Mixing
  • James Iha - Guitar
  • D'arcy - Bass
  • Alan Moulder - Mixing
  • Bjorn Thorsrud - Programming, Engineer, Compilation, Editing, Mixing
  • Howie Weinberg - Mastering
  • Howard Willing - Recorder, Mixing
  • Greg Sylvester - Art Direction
  • Tommy Lipnick - Technical Assistance
  • Yelena Yemchuk - Art Direction
  • Thomas Wolfe - Art Direction
  • Mike Zainer - Mixing Assistant
  • Bill Douglass - Mixing
  • Jef Moll - Mixing Assistant
  • Andrew Nicholls - Mixing Assistant

Chart positions

Album

2000   Machina/The Machines Of God     The Billboard 200          No. 3
2000   Machina/The Machines Of God     Top Internet Albums        No. 3
2000   Machina/The Machines Of God     Top Canadian Albums        No. 2

Singles

2000   Stand Inside Your Love          Mainstream Rock Tracks     No. 11
2000   The Everlasting Gaze            Mainstream Rock Tracks     No. 14
2000   Stand Inside Your Love          Modern Rock Tracks         No. 2
2000   The Everlasting Gaze            Modern Rock Tracks         No. 4

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