TheFutureEmbrace is the debut solo album by American musician Billy Corgan, frontman of the alternative rock band The Smashing Pumpkins. Released in June 2005, the album's sound was markedly different from most of Corgan's earlier work, eschewing his characteristic "drums, bass, (and) big-guitars sound" in favor of an electronic sound punctuated with heavily distorted guitar parts reminiscent of shoegazing.
|Studio album by|
|Released||June 21, 2005|
|Recorded||October 2004 – March 2005|
|Billy Corgan chronology|
Background and productionEdit
After the dissolution of Zwan in late 2003, Corgan set to work on a solo album of songs based on the history of his hometown, Chicago. This project was shelved and Corgan began work on TheFutureEmbrace in late 2004 in his Chicago studio, Pumpkinland. Rather than repeat the sonic territory of his earlier bands, Corgan decided on an electronic sound with shoegaze influences. Regarding the atypical sound of the album, Corgan remarked,
|“||I chose to not use the conventional drums, bass, big-guitars sound both because I'm so identified with it and I felt that there's sort of a corner there that I didn't want to paint myself in, plus it reminds people of the Pumpkins, and I think for a solo record, having your solo work be reminiscent of your past work, particularly with the band you're known for, gets into a trickiness because it makes people sentimental for the old band, and makes them hate you because you're not in the band.||”|
The sound of the album is almost entirely synthesized, with the exception of Corgan's voice and guitar playing. Corgan has an extensive collection of vintage analog synthesizers and drum machines that were employed on the album. The synths were largely programmed by Bon Harris of Nitzer Ebb.
Arrangements on the album followed an unusual process: for each song, Corgan would write the basic structure, and the song's melody was then split into four sections based on the bass, tenor, alto, and soprano voicings of the chord structure. The production team – Corgan, Harris, producer Bjorn Thorsrud, and programmers Matt Walker and Brian Liesegang – would then program different synth melodies in each voicing, and combine them into a multitrack recording. Drums were added, mostly from pre-1985 drum machines. At this point, Corgan would rework vocal parts and record vocals, as well as recording his guitar part. Each song contains a single take of guitar, in stark contrast to the Boston-style multitracking employed on Smashing Pumpkins albums. Despite the challenge of this approach, it was employed for all album tracks as well as an additional 8 outtakes.
The album features backing vocals and a guitar solo by The Cure frontman Robert Smith on a cover of the Bee Gees' song "To Love Somebody", while "DIA" features electronic drums played by Corgan's longtime collaborator, drummer Jimmy Chamberlin, as well as the violin and backing voice of Emilie Autumn.
In the lead-up to the album, Corgan generated considerable attention when he started publishing an autobiography, The Confessions of Billy Corgan, on his website, piece-by-piece. The postings are notable for Corgan's candor regarding his family, personal relationships, and activity during different eras of The Smashing Pumpkins. Corgan updated the Confessions on a frequent basis, but after posting an entry titled "Following the Moon (1974)" on July 1, 2005, the entries stopped.
The album was preceded by the release of a single and music video release of "Walking Shade". Corgan, with his touring band, performed "Mina Loy (M.O.H.)" on Late Show with David Letterman the day before the album's release. Corgan also appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and played "To Love Somebody."
Those who pre-ordered the album from the iTunes store received a bonus track from the TheFutureEmbrace recording sessions, "Tilt". "Tilt" was also included on the Target retail stores exclusive release, Red Room Vol. 4.
Release and aftermathEdit
|Christgau's Consumer Guide|||
TheFutureEmbrace was released on June 21, 2005. On the day of its release, Corgan took out an ad and wrote that the album "picks up the thread of the as-yet-unfinished work and charter of The Smashing Pumpkins", and also announced plans to reform that band.
TheFutureEmbrace received a mixed response from critics. Jim DeRogatis of the Chicago Sun-Times said the album represented Corgan's "most distinctive and consistent music." Performing well below Smashing Pumpkins releases, it charted at number 89 in the UK and peaked at number 31 in the United States. As of February 2006, the album's domestic sales were a mere 69,000 units sold.
Billy Corgan, with Matt Walker, Brian Liesegang and Linda Strawberry, embarked on an international club tour in support of the album in the summer[when?][ambiguous] of 2005. Beginning in 2015, TheFutureEmbrace songs began appearing in Smashing Pumpkins concert sets.
All songs written by Billy Corgan, except as noted.
- "All Things Change" – 3:59
- "Mina Loy (M.O.H.)" – 3:53
- "The CameraEye" – 3:04
- "ToLoveSomebody" (Barry Gibb/Robin Gibb) – 4:00
- "A100" (Billy Corgan/Bon Harris) – 4:23
- "DIA" – 4:20
- "Now (And Then)" – 4:43
- "I'm Ready" – 3:44
- "Walking Shade" – 3:14
- "Sorrows (In Blue)" – 2:48
- "Pretty, Pretty Star" – 3:46
- "Strayz" – 3:31
- Bonus track
- "Tilt" (iTunes exclusive)
- Billy Corgan – vocals, guitar, drum machine, synth, programming, production, mixing
- Bon Harris – programming, production
- Brian Liesegang – additional programming
- Bjorn Thorsrud – production, mixing, engineering
- Matt Walker – additional programming
- Guest musicians
- Emilie Autumn – vocals and violin on "DIA"
- Jimmy Chamberlin – drums on "DIA"
- Robert Smith – vocals and guitar on "ToLoveSomebody"
- Todd Brodie – engineering assistance
- P. R. Brown – sleeve photography and design
- Nikola Dokic – engineering assistance
- Roger Lian – final digital editing
- Ron Lowe – mix engineering
- John Maschoff – engineering assistance
- Alan Moulder – mixing
- Dave Rieley – engineering assistance
- Paul PDub Walton – recording of Robert Smith's parts
- Howie Weinberg – mastering
|2005||The Future Embrace||New Zealand Albums Chart||25|
|The Billboard 200||31|
|UK Albums Chart||89|
- "Album Reviews: Billy Corgan: The Future Embrace". Pitchfork. 2005-06-19. Retrieved 2011-07-06.
- Rivera, Daniel. "Billy Corgan: The Future Embrace < PopMatters". Popmatters.com. Retrieved 2011-07-06.
- "Tail between legs: 27 solo albums that sent musicians scurrying back to their main bands". The A.V. Club. April 3, 2013. Retrieved July 24, 2015.
- Leas, Ryan (October 28, 2013). "Smashing Pumpkins Albums From Worst To Best: Zeitgeist". Stereogum. Retrieved March 20, 2016.
- Corgan, Billy. "Blue Room Interview, Part I." Recorded 2005. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=neC8TzeR0tg
- Liesegang, Brian. Q&A on Gearslutz.com forum under username "LesterMagneto". https://www.gearslutz.com/board/electronic-music-instruments-electronic-music-production/581048-billy-corgan-future-embrace.html 2011-02-13.
- Tour history: 2005. Smashing Pumpkins Fan Collaborative. Accessed on 2015-02-03.
- "Reviews for TheFutureEmbrace by Billy Corgan – Metacritic". Metacritic. Retrieved July 25, 2016.
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- "CG: Billy Corgan". Robert Christgau. Retrieved 2011-07-06.
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- A Message to Chicago from Billy Corgan. Full page ad in Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times. 2005-06-21.
- DeRogatis, Jim. "Ready for love on 'Embrace'" Chicago Sun-Times: 19 June 2005. Showcase, Page 6.
- "Smashing Pumpkins Reunite... Sort Of". Pitchfork Media. Archived from the original (http) on 2008-01-18. Retrieved 2007-05-14.
- "Chartbitz: Wednesday, July 18, 2007". RIANZ.com. Retrieved 2007-07-18.
- "Billy Corgan Album & Song Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved 2011-06-21.
- "Billy Corgan | Full Official Chart History | Official Charts Company". Official Charts Company. Retrieved July 25, 2016.