5’49 The Smashing Pumpkins – Window Paine (1991)

Window paine
Around my heart
Shadows streak
Around my heart

Do what you got to do
And say what you got to say
Do what you got to do
Yes, start today

There was a short period of time when I thought Billy Corgan and his Smashing Pumpkins were the greatest band on earth. The reason for this slightly exaggerated evaluation was their first album Gish. An amazing debut fusing heavy metal, psychedelic rock, goth rock, prog rock and something else hard to pin down. You could call it mystic. Additionally there is a lot of quiet-loud dynamics on this album – less on this song which stays pretty disciplined all the way through. Tracks are usually hardly audible in the beginning, get louder slowly and peak later. A little like post-rock though there is a hardcore element here. I used to listen to this album after having drunk and smoked with a friend. I always listened on my own on headphones. And each time it was an expedition into some weird continent which I somehow associate with snakes and magic. As I read just before starting this entry Billy says that Gish is a spiritual album. And other people think it was made under the influence of LSD. All that makes a lot of sense to me. The paine in „window paine“ seems to be an amalgam of pane and pain. At the same time the window is an object made of glass to look through and something which causes pain, maybe when the glass is broken. The quoted verse also reminds me of my favourite line by Blixa Bargeld of the Einstürzenden Neubauten.

Nagel mein Herz ans Fensterkreuz
(Nail my heart onto the crossbar)

I still think this song has hold up quite well against the ravages of time. Especially Billy’s voice is still bearable, later on his high-pitch singing (a typical heavy metal trait I abhor) became totally insufferable.

(The list of all 349 selections since 1st February 2010 is here)

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