The Smashing Pumpkins announced the release of their 11th studio album, Cyr, set to release Friday, November 27th. In anticipation of the double-album drop, two singles, “The Colour of Love” and “Confessions of a Dopamine Addict” released on August 28 and September 25th, respectively. Introduced with the latter, a 5-part animated series to accompany both songs and the new album. Cyr looks promising, and the series even more so.
New Singles, New Sound
The Smashing Pumpkins are taking on a retro-futuristic approach to their new singles. “The Colour of Love” and “Confessions of a Dopamine Addict” are both incredibly similar in sound, creating a sense of uniformity that works well with their animated episodes. Beginning with “The Colour of Love” is upbeat and easy, reminiscent of a 1980s dance-rock track. Synthesizers and strong drums overpower the instrumentals for the track, adding to the New Wave feel. In the context of the band’s prior work, “The Colour of Love” feels distinctly different from the band’s previous work, but not in a bad way. The track feels like a much-needed breath of upbeat indie-alternative in a time of despair. Frontman Billy Corgan explained Cyr in a similar manner: “to me, it stands as both hopeful and dismissive of what is and isn’t possible with faith.”
Similarly, “Confessions of a Dopamine Addict” follows through with the synth-pop sound. While the influence of synthesizers and electronic pop is still heavy, this track leans more on guitar and drums. The track, however, has an air of whimsy that “The Colour of Love” lacks. “Confessions of a Dopamine Addict” feels more like the sound The Smashing Pumpkins are known for because of this. Even though it’s slower in nature than “The Colour of Love,” the band’s latest single builds on the mysterious retro feeling of Cyr thus far. It also provides an excellent soundtrack to “Inspirations, Aspirations,” its animated music video.
In Ashes: What’s It All About?
In Ashes is the name of the larger animated series accompanying Cyr‘s release. Episode one, “As The Crow Flies,” corresponds to “The Colour of Love,” and episode two, “Inspirations, Aspirations,” is set to “Confessions of a Dopamine Addict.”
Episode one introduces a funky, dystopian cast of characters who explore radioactive graveyards and traffic-jammed highways, all in a seemingly futuristic version of Earth. The action and characters contained in the first episode bleed into the second. Episode two literally begins on the same frame episode one ends with, adding a level of cohesion to the story The Smashing Pumpkins are building. Subtle imagery and complex themes adorn both episodes, leading fans to wonder where all of this is heading. While the videos don’t necessarily relate to the messages of their corresponding singles, they don’t have to. The sound of the Pumpkins’ songs alone is enough to add fullness to In Ashes and make their dystopia feel real.
In summary, In Ashes is mysterious, bizarre and even creepy at points, reflecting the quality of The Smashing Pumpkins’ music. With the singles and music videos released, it’s clear that Cyr is a work of creative genius. The multimedia approaches to marketing signify the everlasting creativity of the band. It’s obvious their level of artistry is, as always, at the top. Personally, I’m beyond excited to watch the outcome of In Ashes and Cyr. It’s going to be good.
Pre-Order Cyr here. Out everywhere November 27.
Featured Image via The Smashing Pumpkins