Smashing Pumpkins: Billy Corgan, James Iha, D'Arcy.
Additional personnel: Brad Wood (vocals, organ); Bon Harris (vocals, programming); Dennis Flemion, Jimmy Flemion (vocals); Joey Waronker, Matt Cameron, Matt Walker (drums).
Engineers include: Brad Wood, Bjorn Thorsrud, Howard C. Willing.
ADORE was nominated for the 1999 Grammy Award for Best Alternative Music Performance.
In the wake of drummer Jimmy Chamberlin's departure, the Pumpkins have taken a giant step away from the grunge-flavored, turbo-powered alt-rock anthems that made them famous. On ADORE, Billy Corgan and company opt instead for a more scaled-down approach that relies heavily on acoustic instruments and ballads of love and longing. Corgan may still be expressing angst here, but he does it in an understated, romantic way, addressing matters of the heart with subtlety and maturity on tunes like "Shame" and "To Sheila."
Don't take all this acoustic-based balladry (a path also explored by James Iha on his solo debut) as a sign that the band is out of touch with contemporary production trends, though. Bon Harris of Nitzer Ebb is on hand to add a sprinkling of electronica to the proceedings via his programming talents. His contributions, like much of ADORE itself, remains modestly unobtrusive, providing just the right underpinning for some of the tunes. As the album ends with a solo piano instrumental, we're reminded that Smashing Pumpkins are a band who refuse to ossify, constantly changing and evolving. ADORE is just one more leg of their continuing journey.
Rolling Stone (6/11/98, pp.115-116) - 3.5 Stars (out of 5) - "...a complete break with the past....dials down the volume to lullaby level....overflows with heartsick valentines. Corgan...sings with an almost androgynous delicacy, sometimes supported by little more than a piano or a guitar..."
Entertainment Weekly (6/5/98, pp.78-79) - "...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..." - Rating: B+