If you’re checking out this post, at the very least you enjoy Siamese Dream, or curiosity has piqued your interest. This is a relatively new series of articles and videos in which I share albums to check out if you like a particular release I have in my collection. The ones I recommend, similarly, are pulled from my collection. Today I’m looking at the 1993 LP Siamese Dream by alt-rock band The Smashing Pumpkins.
Before we jump too far into everything, if you’d rather watch me run down this list, you can do so on the FensePost YouTube Channel.
I’ve noted previously that The Smashing Pumpkins were formative for me as a young teen in around its release in 1993 and 1994. Siamese Dream was the reason. The album was seminal in cultivating my obsession for discovering new music–my obsession with new music really didn’t exist before my high school friend Justin introduced me to it.
“Today” was the big hit.
And, I gotta say, Billy Corgan looks mighty young in the video for the song:
But there were plenty of other great songs on the LP.
There have been a variety of pressings, and I was able to snag mine for about $40 closing on a decade ago now. It’s an original on purple marble vinyl.
The Influence of Siamese Dream
Siamese Dream is considered a true alternative rock masterpiece and features some of the band’s most iconic songs, including “Cherub Rock” and “Today” as well as personal favorites of mine like “Disarm” and “Mayonnaise.”
What’s fascinating is that “Disarm” has more plays on Spotify than any other song on the LP. Here’s the music video for that one:
If you like Smashing Pumpkins, and more specifically — if you like Siamese Dream — I’ve compiled a list of 5 albums from my collection that I think you should check out.
1. My Bloody Valentine – Loveless
Like The Smashing Pumpkins, this shoegaze band has a penchant for combining heavy guitar riffs with dreamy, ethereal vocals. In fact, I have actually seen some out there emphasize the shoegazier side of The Smashing Pumpkins when Siamese Dream is mentioned. There are definite parallels.
Loveless by My Bloody Valentine came out two years prior, in 1991. This album is often lauded as the definitive pinnacle of shoegaze, tops damn near every best of list when it comes to the sub-genre, and has influenced countless shoegaze resurgence and dream pop bands that followed.
It features dense layers of distorted guitar and ethereal vocals that create a dreamlike atmosphere, often deafening with noise. “Only Shallow,” “When You Sleep,” and “Soon” are the ones that I always seem to gravitate toward.
Here’s the music video for the first of that bunch:
2. Radiohead – Pablo Honey
Radiohead‘s debut album Pablo Honey introduced the world to the band, which at the time blended alternative rock with grunge influences.
While it lacks the experimental edge and sonic innovations of their later work from the 1990s like OK Computer, Pablo Honey features a handful of songs that drive just as hard as Siamese Dream. Tracks like “Creep” and “You.” While the former is what everyone and their mom talks about, the latter is my favorite from the LP.
Here’s the music video for “Creep.”
If you like The Smashing Pumpkins, you may appreciate the combination of heavy guitars and inward-looking lyrics found on Pablo Honey. These helped establish Radiohead as one of the most important bands of the 90s, just like Siamese Dream pushed The Smashing Pumpkins further into alt rock stardom.
3. Sonic Youth – Daydream Nation
With their experimental, noise-rock sound, Sonic Youth has been a huge influence on alternative rock, including the Smashing Pumpkins themselves. I’ve pulled Daydream Nation from 1988 out of my collection as the album to highlight.
This double LP is often cited as one of the best and most influential rock albums of all time. It features Sonic Youth’s signature experimental noise-rock, as well as some of their more accessible and melodic songs.
You can’t mention this album without talking about “Teen Age Riot” and the influence it had on alt rock. Here’s the music video for that one:
Like Siamese Dream, Daydream Nation tends to be a fan-favorite from Sonic Youth.
4. The Afghan Whigs – Do To The Beast
Alright, everything else on this list was either from the 1980s or 1990s, so I wanted to find a few post 2000 to throw into the mix. My first pick was Do to the Beast by The Afghan Whigs.
The album was released in 2014, and it showcases a sound that is both dark and seductive. It mixes rock, soul, and funk influences for a highly brooding and emotional output of sound. If you like The Smashing Pumpkins, you’ll likely appreciate The Afghan Whigs’ ability to combine heavy guitar riffs with dark lyrics and a flair for the dramatic. Do To The Beast pushes the boundaries of alt rock while delving deep into complex emotions.
Not convinced? Check out “Algiers” off the LP:
5. Nothing – Tired of Tomorrow
The distortion and even chord progression in the verse of “Curse the Sun” has a feeling of early work by The Smashing Pumpkins. There’s alt rock and shoegaze parallels here, and the sonic guitars and emotive vocals and lyrics seem to resonate with much of what you get on Siamese Dream.
The album is Tired of Tomorrow and the band is Nothing. This is classic shoegaze but modern; released in 2016, it’s hard to believe it didn’t drop in the early 90s.
Here’s the “A.C.D. (Abcessive Compulsive Disorder)” music video:
Siamese Dream: What’s Missing?
Alright, I hand picked these from my collection. That means there might be some better suited for this list. Either way, what would you add? Let me know in the comments below…