Label: Warner Bros.
Sure, the Annie Lennox-referencing CD cover photo is excessively desperately, even severe, last year's poetry collection Blinking With Fists was ninth-grade dire, and supergroup Zwan fizzled before it could generate any real sparks. Yet none of those are reason enough to declare ex-Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan washed up. This solo debut is a celebration of the Lycra-loner, synth-full gloom pop he grew up on, minus the usual so-angsty-I-could-die wrist-slitting. Don't come expecting over-the-top screeching or guitar pyrotechnics. Rather, thrill to the smothering, swooning guitars-'n'-string-section break-up shrug "DIA," ancient synths pinging through and melting into a din you could cut with a knife. "Sorrows" is a reverbed-to-the-max milkshake-swirl howl, while Corgan duets with hero Robert Smith of The Cure on a chilling, minor-key cover of the Bee Gees' "To Love Somebody."