May 10, 2003

Zwan "Mary, Star of the Sea'

Dear Billy Corgan,

I want to say thank you for brining Zwan into the world. It's a most impressive debut album, and it really shows that you've grown as a songwriter and as a person. At first, I was afraid that your record was going to be a rehash of Gish or Siamese Dream--good records, mind you, but not what I'd expect from a debut of a new band. I was also afraid that you'd do the exact opposite--make a record that distances you from your excellent past, and in the process, negating what your real talents are. Thankfully, that didn't happen, either. I'm also happy to hear that what you're doing now sounds a little like--but not really like--the Smashing Pumpkins.

In fact, you sound a heck of a lot happier now. Certainly, the angst and anger of the Pumpkin decade have dissipated. You sounded frustrated; angry, and after a while, what you were writing sounded forced. I really felt for you, Billy. Your frustrations made you angry; your anger made you unhappy, and your unhappiness reflected on your writing. But, you were younger, I was younger, times change, and you have to move on with your life.

And I'm happy that you've got a talented bunch of people helping you out, too. Matt Sweeny and Dave Pajo are certainly experienced foes, Jimmy's still got that powerful drummer's touch, and the girl in your band--sorry, I don't reememer her name right offhand--she's pretty good, too; I'd like to hear her singing more, but, you know, it's your band, I'm simply a fan, and it's just an opinion.

The songs, man--I swear, I can hear a big ol' grin on your face! I like that. I love your songwriting; I love the fact that you're having a good time with life. "Lyric" is a sing-along if I've heard one. And I really like "El Sol," too. It's almost Beach Boy-ish (and let's not forget the obvious reference by the title of "Endless Summer") and I really like this direction of your writing. It's almost as if you've come to realize that you've made a success of your life--now's the time to enjoy it. I mean, really! You sound so much more...alive! Just listen to you on "Yeah!" and "Baby Let's Rock!"--you're enjoying yourself! But I have to ask you a question--did you unintentionally steal the riff from Unrest's "Imperial" for "Settle Down?" And that big long rockfest of "Jesus I/Mary, Star of the Sea" shows that you've not gone all soft on us, either.

So, Billy, welcome back to the music world. You've made a great record. You've put together a great band. Don't listen to those who criticize you for not being the Smashing Pumpkins--let those who want to hear Siamese Dreamform a tribute band. After all, why would you want to remake the past? There's plenty of future, why waste it looking back?

Joseph Kyle

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