Album Review: The Smashing Pumpkins – “Earphoria”

Earphoria was originally a promotional CD released in 1994, as a kind of “soundtrack” for the Vieuphoria videotape. This CD was finally made commercially available in 2002.

This disc contains both live performances and previously unreleased studio material. Overall, the sound quality for the live material is rather decent; however, “Geek USA” and “Silverf***” are the exceptions, because both of these recordings have a more “hollow” sound to them. The vast majority of the live material focuses on the Siamese Dream era, but there is one live recording of a song from the Gish era that is also included. Two of the live songs are acoustic versions: “Today” and “Mayonaise.”

Most of the studio material is pretty good, except for “Why Am I So Tired.” This is a 15-minute long instrumental that starts out promising, but it never really progresses and becomes redundant and boring rather quickly. Personally, my favorite of the new songs would have to be “Bugg Superstar.” At the time the Earphoria promo CD was released, the more synth-based “Bugg Superstar” would have seemed like an odd track to come from Smashing Pumpkins; however, as time has gone on, “Bugg Superstar” has come to fit in with the Pumpkins’ later material, most notably the Adore era.

The tracks on the CD are arranged in the same order that they appeared in Vieuphoria. Unfortunately, this means that the two longest tracks appear back-to-back on the disc, and it makes the last half hour of the disc very tedious to listen to. The nice thing about this arrangement, however, is the fact that the new songs are interspersed amongst all the live material, rather than having all of the live material clustered together and all of the new material clustered together.

Overall, this is a decent CD and should be in the collection of any die-hard Smashing Pumpkins fan or collector in order to have official CD copies of the live performances and studio tracks from Vieuphoria. However, it’s unlikely that a more casual fan of the band would get very much out of this CD.

I wrote this review after listening to a copy of Earphoria that my husband and I purchased.

(written by Lesley Aeschliman on February 28, 2003)


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