Back in late 2000, The Smashing Pumpkins were pretty much done giving a f*ck about their commercial prospects. Their dark, mellow 1998 masterpiece “Adore” had more than failed to live up to commercial expectations (though the multi-platinum worldwide numbers for that album would most certainly make it a blockbuster by today’s standards). While 2000’s “MACHINA: The Machines Of God” saw the band returning to a heavier sound, it was actually even more inaccessible. While the album contains some of the band’s very best songs (“Wound,” “The Imploding Voice,” “I Of The Mourning,” “Heavy Metal Machine”), it also features an uncharacteristically abrasive production job. It was harsh, brittle and compressed and the great experimental songs on the album’s 2nd half (“Blue Skies Bring Tears”) wouldn’t do much to get the band back into heavy radio rotation.
It’s interesting that the album was marketed as a return to the sounds of “Siamese Dream,” because it’s really anything but that. As a result, “Machina” only sold about half of what “Adore” did in its initial release. By the time the band got around to their 3rd single, “Try, Try, Try” they were well aware that there would be no righting of this ship. They had also decided to break up before the album’s release (even though they announced it much later) – so they really had nothing left to lose. Hence, hiring Jonas Akerlund to direct the Requiem For A Dream-esque video for the song.
I first saw this on the band’s official site back in 2000, and was shocked at its content. Beyond the video’s depictions of junkie life, prostitution and (perhaps) death… there was that dream sequence that comes about when the female protagonist flatlines. A psychedelic attack on the American Dream that had no hold-ups about getting gross, it’s a great subversive attack on the more passive members of the band’s audience.
Back in the day this segment was actually in the uncut online video, but I can’t find that anywhere. So instead I culled it from Akerlund’s longer short “Try.”
Check out the uncut dream sequence directly below and then watch the censored video under that to get a feel for where it used to be.