Billy Corgan, one of alternative modern rock's most compelling artists, is set to release his debut solo album "TheFutureEmbrace" June 21 on Warner Bros. Records. Over shadowy guitar lines and beautifully lush cascades of sound, Corgan warmly and vividly delivers pure expressions of love and devotion in the face of uncertainty, doubt and sorrow. He'll bring these melodic and haunting songs — including "Walking Shade", the album's upcoming first track for radio — to audiences in intimate venues when he launches a world tour beginning in July (dates TBA).
Says the revered singer, songwriter and guitarist whose groundbreaking work with the SMASHING PUMPKINS and later ZWAN defined modern rock: "Many people assume when I do more progressive work that I am trying to move away from something, when honestly what I am trying to do is get closer to who I really am. I tried to sum up all my feelings about my life and the world around me in the most beautiful ways I could dream up. It is easy to be negative, and much harder to find that silver lining behind the clouds of modern society."
"TheFutureEmbrace" was produced by Corgan along with Bjorn Thorsrud and Bon Harris, mixed by Alan Moulder and recorded in Chicago. The sound is panoramic, and the songs have a push-and-pull emotional tension. The album contains 11 Corgan originals plus a cover of the early BEE GEES classic "To Love Somebody", which dovetails with Corgan's own themes of devotion and features Robert Smith of THE CURE on backing vocals. Elsewhere, former SMASHING PUMPKINS drummer Jimmy Chamberlin plays on "DIA".
What inspired the title "TheFutureEmbrace"?
"Album titles usually just come to me, I don't really give them much thought," explains Corgan. "'TheFutureEmbrace' just seemed to sum up the way I felt about my desire to move forward, in life, in love, and in music..."
Asked about the album's production, Corgan says, "I don't really think about production much...it's like saying, 'Why did you choose to wear that color?' Sound to me is the way I express the shades of emotion, and this album has a lot of smeared paint... like a child who doesn't color in between the lines..."
On "TheFutureEmbrace", Corgan aims to find innocence and purity as the world rages around him. His tone is questioning, his vocals are tender, and his lyrical flow is as seamless as the poetry in his book of poems "Blinking With Fists" (Faber & Faber, Oct. 2004). A noteworthy achievement, "Blinking With Fists" was the highest-debuting poetry book on the New York Times' best-seller list in over a decade.
The album opens with "All Things Change", in which Corgan looks at life on all fronts — "all things change/around/all is faith/unwound" — but is ultimately hopeful. The rhythmically propulsive "Mina Loy (M.O.H.)" contains images of apocalypse — "the siren calls outside/they want to kill us all/innocents, wounded souls/full of rage/nowhere to go" — but has the sincere, uplifting refrain, "Can I give my old heart to you?" Later, amid the pointed guitar lines of the upbeat "Walking Shade", Corgan sings, "I'm out walking shade/to brush these fires aside/to calm the rising fight/to build you a new life." The album concludes with "Strayz", a ballad about truth and love that's simple, pure and evocative, as Corgan relates: "you know I'm true/wasn't born to follow/you stay with me/you stay with me when I go."
In other news, April 5 marks the date that the entire SMASHING PUMPKINS catalog will be available in the digital domain for the first time. As one of the pre-eminent alternative groups in history, the band's prolific output of 227 songs in 10 years shed light on both their enormous success as a cult favorite and mega-platinum monster. All the official album releases are here in all their glory, as well as 114 non-album tracks, including rare imports, long out-of-print songs, obscure covers, soundtrack releases, vinyl only B-sides and limited editions.
The full track listing for "TheFutureEmbrace" is as follows:
01. All Things Change
02. Mina Loy (M.O.H.)
04. To Love Somebody
07. Now (And Then)
08. I'm Ready
09. Walking Shade
10. Sorrows (In Blue)
11. Pretty, Pretty Star