Billy Corgan is not an easy guy to root for. Between firing his entire band but keeping up the Smashing Pumpkins name, pompously mouthing off about everything and everyone and "abandoning" the album format only to return with Oceania, Corgan seems to be actively destroying any goodwill he might still have had since the band's run of seminal classics in the early to mid-90s.
So I was fully expecting to hate Oceania (billed as an album "within" the incrementally released 44-song epic Teargarden By Kaleidyscope), but I just can't. Despite playing with a band of young scabs, Corgan has recaptured the old Pumpkins magic barely seen since their pre-reunion, pre-Zwan, pre-Machina heyday. Guitars soar with the same distinctive psychedelic/shoegaze tone of Siamese Dream, and even the ballads recall alt-radio classics like Disarm. Sure, it's bloated and loaded with overreaching, pretentious lyrics, but it wouldn't be the Pumpkins otherwise.
Top track: Quasar