Billy Corgan Defends Long Albums: "Have Some Sense of Proportionality"

"Just listen to the record one time — rag over the six or 10 songs you like and make your own [playlist]. Why is this such a strange concept?"

Photo: Kamara Morozuk

BY Megan LaPierrePublished Jun 3, 2024

Without fail, there's Billy Corgan. The Smashing Pumpkins frontman and wrestling reality show-haver has come to the defence of Taylor Swift, and long albums (and films?) in general, pleading with detractors to "have some sense of proportionality."

In a new wide-ranging interview with The Irish Times ahead of the band's European tour, Corgan discussed his persistent reverence for the late Sinéad O'Connor and her "bare-your-soul honesty," as well as the backlash he received for Smashing Pumpkins' turn toward hard rock and nu metal with the 2000 pair of albums, Machina and Machina II, even while the internet was still a fledgling thing. 

"Now that Sinéad's gone, would it be a bad thing if somebody turned up tomorrow and said, 'Hey, I just found this tape, and there's enough for 20 — or 30 or 50 — Sinéad songs.' Would that be a bad thing?" he mused. "Taylor Swift is one of the most gifted pop artists of all time. How is it a bad thing that she's releasing more music? I can't follow that … You can go on Spotify and just skip it."

Obviously, Corgan is referring to the line of criticism that Swift's surprise-released Anthology double-album version of The Tortured Poets Department, is too long, clocking in at 31 tracks and a runtime of over two hours.

"People complained about the length of my last album, ATUM," he pointed out. "I thought, Well, just go make your own playlist. Just listen to the record one time — rag over the six or 10 songs you like and make your own [playlist]. Why is this such a strange concept? Have some sense of proportionality." 

Corgan added, "This hyperbolic thing — 'They ruined Star Wars. My God, this is all too much for me to process' — it's all a bit childish."

Okay, true — but sir, some of us have the attention span of a goldfish! And for the record, I don't think people would be upset about Swift's album being that long if it was a little less same-y, or just generally better. Similar to Star Wars (and Marvel), it's all become more about the lore surrounding the art rather than the art itself.

Anyway, it's interesting food for thought. On the other hand, PinkPantheress recently brought forth the unsurprising claim that she doesn't think songs need to be longer than two and a half minutes

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