Thursday, March 16, 2017

March (Music) Madness - Round One

This week my wife told me about something so awesome it actually made me miss Facebook. One of her Facebook groups for her favorite band Muse has made an NCAA basketball-style tournament out of the band's best tracks. Not sure who decided which songs should go where, but fans can vote on their favorite and decide the winner of March Muse Madness (incidentally, "Madness" is a Muse song...that was featured in a commercial for the NCAA Tournament a few years ago.) 

Unfortunately, because I'm not on Facebook I can't vote for my favorite Muse songs. So I decided to do some March Music Madness of my all-time favorite band, (The) Smashing Pumpkins. 

Here's how I did it: I made a list of 64 Pumpkins tracks, sorted them as objectively as possible by popularity, airplay, and general recognition... then matched them up tournament-style. I don't have brackets to illustrate the results, but here they are:

#1 seeds: 1979; Today; Tonight, Tonight; Bullet With Butterfly Wings
#16 seeds: Feelium; Depresso; Pulseczar; The Beginning Is The End Is The Beginning

#2 seeds: Disarm; Cherub Rock; Perfect; Zero
#15 seeds: Jennifer Ever; Sun; Nothing and Everything; Slunk

#3 seeds: Thirty-Three; I Am One; Siva; Ava Adore
#14 seeds: For Martha; Snail; Soothe; To Forgive
#4 seeds: Landslide; Tarantula; Rhinoceros; Rocket
#13 seeds: To Sheila; Tear; Frail & Bedazzled; Thru The Eyes of Ruby

#5 seeds: The End Is The Beginning Is The End; Drown; Eye; Mayonnaise
#12 seeds: The Aeroplane Flies High; Quasar; In The Arms of Sleep; Raindrops & Sunshowers

#6 seeds: Soma; Geek U.S.A.; Bodies; Starla
#11 seeds: Bleeding The Orchid; Hello Kitty Kat; Silverf*ck; Bury Me

#7 seeds: X.Y.U.; Muzzle; Tristessa; The Everlasting Gaze
#10 seeds: Pug; Porcelina of the Vast Oceans; Crestfallen; Love

#8 seeds: Doomsday Clock; 7 Shades of Black; Jellybelly; Apples & Oranjes
#9 seeds: Stand Inside Your Love; That's The Way (My Love Is); Heavy Metal Machine; Quiet

That was hard! The first five seeds are either singles or songs that had a fair amount of airplay. After that I went with songs that seem to be popular with fellow Pumpkinheads and/or songs that I felt were more significant. Many of the last two seeds are early SP demos that didn't appear on any of their albums. 

As if this wasn't hard enough - I then had to choose which songs to 'face off' against each other. I didn't want to put my thumb on the scale and choose an easy match-up for a certain song I wanted to 'win'.. but with no one to oversee this, I didn't have any other opinions but my own. And so it played out thusly:

All the #1 seeds advance: 1979; Today; Tonight, Tonight; Bullet With Butterfly Wings

The 8/9 match-ups: 
(9) Heavy Metal Machine def. (8) Doomsday Clock
(8) 7 Shades of Black def. (9) Quiet
(9) Stand Inside Your Love def. (8) Jellybelly
(8) Apples & Oranjes def. (9) That's The Way (My Love Is)

Quiet v. 7 Shades was very close. I really had to think about that one.

All the #2 seeds advance: Disarm; Cherub Rock; Perfect; Zero
Though I really like Jennifer Ever and Sun.. let's say one of them gave Perfect a fight

The 7/10 match-ups: 
(7) X.Y.U. def. (10) Love
(10) Crestfallen def. (7) Muzzle
(10) Pug def. (7) Tristessa
(10) Porcelina of the Vast Oceans def. (7) The Everlasting Gaze

Ouch. Only the gritty, heavy-metal X.Y.U. holds serve against some of my favorite album tracks.

The 3/14 match-ups:
(3) I Am One def. (14) Snail
(3) Siva def. (14) To Forgive
(14) For Martha def. (3) Ava Adore
(3) Thirty-Three def. (14) Soothe

The upset special! I like For Martha (and about five other tracks off Adore) a lot more than the album's title(ish) track, which was a moderately successful single. I Am One very nearly suffered the same fate.. but the Pumpkins' first single survived on a buzzer beater.

The 6/11 match-ups:
(6) Soma def. (11) Bury Me
(11) Hello Kitty Kat def. (6) Bodies
(6) Geek U.S.A. def. (11)
Bleeding The Orchid
(6) Starla def. (11) Silverf**k

When choosing which songs to match-up against each other I tried to pick two that sounded similar. I may have done that a little too well with the one upset; Bodies features one of my all-time favorite lyrics ("Love is suicide") .. yet it still loses to a b-side.

The 4/13 match-ups:
(13) To Sheila def. (4) Landslide
(4) Tarantula def. (13) Tear
(4) Rhinoceros def. (13) Thru The Eyes of Ruby
(4) Rocket def. (13)
Frail & Bedazzled

Landslide is a wild-card since it's a cover of a Fleetwood Mac song. It's probably an unfair result, but I feel more of an emotional attachment to the perfect summer night ballad that is To Sheila.

The 5/12 match-ups:
(5) The End Is The Beginning Is The End def. (12) The Aeroplane Flies High
(12) In The Arms of Sleep def. (5) Drown
(5) Eye def.
(12) Quasar
(12) Raindrops & Sunshowers def. (5) Mayonnaise

The first and last battles were very close; all the 12 seeds except Quasar had a legit chance of advancing.

Here are the match-ups for the second round:
(1) 1979 v. (8) Apples & Oranjes
(1) Today v. (8) 7 Shades of Black
(1) Tonight, Tonight v. (9) Stand Inside Your Love
(1) Bullet With Butterfly Wings v. (9) Heavy Metal Machine

(2) Disarm v. (10) Crestfallen
(2) Cherub Rock v. (10) Pug
(2) Perfect v. (10) Porcelina of the Vast Oceans
(2) Zero v. (7) X.Y.U.
(3) I Am One v. (11) Hello Kitty Kat
(3) Siva v. (6) Geek U.S.A.
(6) Soma v. (14) For Martha
(3) Thirty-Three v. (6) Starla
(12) In The Arms of Sleep v. (13) To Sheila
(4) Tarantula v. (5) The End Is The Beginning Is The End
(4) Rhinoceros v. (12) Raindrops & Sunshowers
(4) Rocket v. (5) Eye

If anyone is interested in this madness, I'll play out the rest of the tournament on Monday (and I'll embed the videos of the Final Four.)  Hope you all have a great weekend!



  1. Sorry; I don't follow any of this, but I know a few people who do.

  2. Wow! I didn't know Smashing Pumpkins had done that many songs.


  3. Holy cannoli. This is some great, detailed work, Chris. Nice job. Tonight, Tonight is my favorite Smashing Pumpkins song. Have a great weekend.