The Smashing Pumpkins are anti-pack rats, clearing out their accumulated music with compulsive frequency: The band has released only three regular albums, and with "Aeroplane" it now has two odds-and-ends collections.
This box of five CD singles is designed as a limited-edition treat for hard-core fans--a premise that gives Billy Corgan and company a self-issued license to be indulgent. How indulgent? How about "Pistachio Medley," which sounds like someone channel-surfing through a bunch of instrumental riffs for 22 minutes.
Of course, this kind of project doesn't offer the intentions and expectations of a normal album. And "Aeroplane"--which supplements the five singles from "Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness" with an assortment of B-sides--delivers on the premise, with tracks ranging from casual-sounding takes to fully formed, album-worthy productions and moods swinging from tender to tortured.
There are also previously unreleased versions of songs by Alice Cooper, the Cars, Blondie, Missing Persons and the Cure--acts the Pumpkins would have absorbed as '70s kids coming of musical age in the '80s. It all ends with a plaintive interpretation of "My Blue Heaven" by rock's quintessential melancholy baby. (The band plays at the Pond of Anaheim on Dec. 9 and 10, at the San Diego Sports Arena on Dec. 12, and at the Forum on Dec. 18.)
Albums are rated on a scale of one star (poor), two stars (fair), three stars (good) and four stars (excellent).
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