In these reflective settings, Corgan sifts through relationships broken by alienation, death, and other mysteries, searching for strength and purpose to help make sense of a disordered but essentially appealing world.
As personal as all this is, Adore is rarely intimate.... When Corgan heaves a sigh, he wants it to be a sigh that can shake the world, and with Adore, he makes a strong case for his epic brand of introspection. -- The Los Angeles Times
The intimacy and restraint of "To Sheila" set the tone for the most low-key album the Pumpkins have ever made. Everything, from the tempos to the rhythms to Corgan's wail, has been taken down a notch. Ballads and mid-tempo songs prevail, many of them exceedingly delicate and pretty, nudged along by ticktocking drum machines and fragile pianos. The album should carry a new style of advisory sticker: "Warning: Explicitly Lyrical...."
None of this means either Corgan or his fellow Pumpkins have mellowed. Corgan barely raises his voice to the angsty caterwaul that makes people either love him or hate him, but his voice and lyrics remain unsettled, and unsettling. Pretty on the outside, the album is dark and obsessive beneath; let's call it passive-aggressive rock. -- Entertainment Weekly
, Smashing Pumpkins return to the forefront of rock to do a dance with a new partner. Trading white-noise vocals and guitars for caramel crooning and dense synthesizers, frontman Billy Corgan drives bandmates James Iha and D'Arcy to a lush aural plateau. The darkness is still there--evidenced in the techno throb of the single "Ava Adore"--but the Pumpkins also tinker with Lennonesque lullabyes ("Behold! The Night Mare"), midtempo electronica ("Appels and Oranjes"), and tender calliope music ("Once Upon a Time"). Smartly, Corgan rarely upstages the watery sounds going on behind him; the trademark midsong blowouts are almost completely absent. Adore
will strike your ears and heart in a way you didn't think the Smashing Pumpkins could. --Jason Josephes