The Smashing Pumpkins: The Aeroplane Flies High – album review

The Smashing Pumpkins – The Aeroplane Flies High

Format: Limited Edition CD/DVD Set

Out Now

The legendary Smashing Pumpkins originally released the highly limited ‘The Aeroplane Flies High’  in 1996. The box set has been given the reissue treatment with many added extras for 2013. 

The Smashing Pumpkins have become a bit of an institution in the world of rock and alt. rock. Billy Corgan is rightly hailed as genius for his musical output over the years, since The Smashing Pumpkins inception.

In the early to mid nineties, along with Pearl Jam and Nirvana, The Smashing Pumpkins were one of the leading lights of the dying grunge era. With 1991’s ‘Gish’ and 1993’s ‘Siamese Dream,’ the band had already started to carve what would become a legendary legacy of releases. Granted, latter day releases haven’t hit the heights of the earlier discography, but the albums are still better than most bands could ever dream of.

The Aeroplane Flies High fits in with the bands discography after 1995’s epic, landmark release; ‘Mellon Collie & the Infinite Sadness.’ Contained herein are EP’s that are representative of the singles from the album. The single’s herein include such masterpieces as the charming pop of ‘1979’ the attitudinal ‘Bullet with Butterfly Wings’ and the majestic and epic ‘Tonight, Tonight.’ As well as re-mastered versions of these single cuts (the other singles being Zero and Thirty Three), the collection pulls together all the material from the original release of this box set in 1996, as well as additional live tracks from the era, demos, alternate versions of songs and cover versions.


An added bonus for this issue is a compilation of live material on CD and a live DVD disc recorded in France in 1997. The line up of Billy Corgan, Jimmy Chamberlain, James Iha and D’Arcy Wretzky was the definitive line up of The Smashing Pumpkins, so this disc will serve as a great document for a great band at a point in time when they were firing on all cylinders.

Across the CD’s there are the aforementioned singles as well as the b-sides from the singles. In addition to these the box set contains around 90 tracks in total. The alternate versions of songs and acoustic songs with Corgan in solo mode show the true genius of the man. The demo tracks also show the wealth of material that the band had at their disposal. Mellon Collie is chock full of great songs, so these extras really help to heighten the experience of an already great album.

Among the vast collection, particular highlights include the ‘Pistachio Medley’ (a 23 minute long collection of riffs written before the album was recorded), the title track of the box set, Corgan’s solo take on ‘1979’ and a sublimely heavy live version of ‘Where Boys Fear to Tread’ on the live disc.

Billy Corgan’s work ethic has never waned (bar a short hiatus between Machina/Machina II and Zeitgeist). Following Mellon Collie, the band ended up going down a slightly less fruitful road in terms of their output. Adore and Machina were very good albums, but problems within the band led to various members departing. Now, in 2013, Corgan is the sole remaining member of this (1996) legendary line up. With copies of the original release of this box set a huge collector’s item, this reissue is a welcome chance to own an excellent piece of musical history.

The Smashing Pumpkins website can be found here. They are also on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+ and MySpace.

All words by Dom Walsh. You can read more from Dom at his author’s archive here. Dom also tweets as @bwfcdom83.

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