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Silverfuck: The Smashing Pumpkins



I've posted a couple of contemporary American alt-rock band Smashing Pumpkins' videos on the Wasteland before: 'Quiet' and 'Cherub Rock' as I recall, both excellent songs from the band's breakthrough (and in my opinion, best) album, Siamese Dream, released in 1993. The video above is a live version of 'Silverfuck', an epic near-9 minuter taken from the same album. Though a strong recorded track in itself, this live version demonstrates why the Pumpkins are perhaps one of the most important and influential rock bands of the 90s, alongside the likes of Nirvana, R.E.M and Radiohead.

For one, the song has a punk aesthetic - the ear-ripping speed of the opening sustained riff combined with the heavily distorted, wailing guitar pieces further in - but at the same time it is sparing and deftly composed. Where punk was about aggressive excess and a certain haphazardness, 'Silverfuck' achieves this feeling whilst also revealing a taut concision, particularly in the middle section, where the glitteringly improvised looping guitar provides a dream-like juxtaposition to Corgan's piercing, anguished vocals. In such a musical onslaught, and particularly before the deconstructive - and ultimately destructive - crescendo and breakdown of the song, it is apt that Corgan repeats the opening refrain of 'Over the Rainbow', just one of the Pumpkins live 'additions' that reveals their sense of humour, as well their skill as entertainers.

Unfortunately, this particular live version of the song cuts out slightly early, but for those who are interested, there are numerous other versions available online, from various eras of the band's career.

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About the Author

Welcome to the website of the English poet and critic, Ben Wilkinson.
Ben was born in Staffordshire and now lives in Sheffield, South Yorkshire. He received his first degree from the University of Sheffield, and holds an MA and PhD from Sheffield Hallam University. He has won numerous awards for his poetry, including the Poetry Business Competition and a 2014 Northern Writers' Award
His debut full collection of poems, Way More Than Luck, appeared from Seren Books in February 2018.
He is a keen distance runner, lifelong Liverpool Football Club fan, and among other things he works as poetry critic for The Guardian and the Times Literary Supplement. You can find many of his reviews on this site.
To contact Ben about readings, workshops, or for any other enquiries, you can drop him a line at benwilko(at sign)gmail.com. Unfortunately, I am not able to consider unsolicited requests from authors for book reviews.

You can follow Ben on Twitter - @BenWilko85 - and on Facebook.

You can find B…

Way More Than Luck (Seren Books, 2018)

From the thumping heartbeat of the distance runner to the roar of football terraces across the decades, Ben Wilkinson’s debut confronts the struggles and passions that come to shape a life. Beginning with an interrogation of experiences of clinical depression and the redemptive power of art and running, the collection centres on a series of vivid character portraits, giving life to some of football's legends. By turns frank, comic, sinister and meditative – ‘the trouble with you, son, is that all your brains are in your head’ – these poems uncover the beautiful game’s magic and absurdity, hopes and disappointments, as striking metaphors for our everyday dramas. Elsewhere there are tender love poems, political satire and strange dream worlds, in an urgently lyrical book of poems that take many forms and modes of address: pantoum, sonnet, sestina; epistle, confession, dramatic monologue. All are united by a desire to speak with searching clarity about matters of the heart. Way More …