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Smashing Pumpkins

ALMOST AS FRIGHTENING as Billy Corgan's perfectly orb-shaped head is his band's ability to take lemons, make lemonade, and then turn the lemonade stand into a Fortune 500 company. Since the Pumpkins' success from Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness in 1996, the group has endured a myriad of rockstar fiascos including the heroin death of keyboardist Jonathon Melvoin and then the firing (and rehiring in 1999) of partner in crime and drummer Jimmy Chamberlain. Even after 1998's commercial failure Adore, the Pumpkins have managed to produce what may be their most viable and musically solid album since Siamese Dreams. Brace yourself for the singles, because rest assured the airwaves will supply enough Pumpkins for everyone. Sounds of Gish and Siamese Dreams resonate in "I of the Morning," while "This Time" 's "for every chemical you trade a piece of your soul," suggests Corgan is enjoying some retrospective clarity now that he's weathered the troubles once plaguing the band. Machina grows with each listen, like a good idea, mesmerizing and addictive.

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