From SPCodex, The Smashing Pumpkins wiki
Studio album by
ReleasedNovember 27, 2020
Studio sessionsApril-August 2019 – Pumpkinland II
LabelSumerian Records
ProducerBilly Corgan
The Smashing Pumpkins chronology
Shiny and Oh So Bright - Vol. 1 / LP: No Past. No Future. No Sun.
Live at the Viper Room 1.15.98
Singles from CYR
  1. "Cyr / The Colour of Love"
    Released: August 28, 2020
  2. "Confessions of a Dopamine Addict / Wrath"
    Released: September 25, 2020
  3. "Anno Satana / Birch Grove"
    Released: October 9, 2020
  4. "Ramona / Wyttch"
    Released: October 30, 2020
  5. "Purple Blood / Dulcet in E"
    Released: November 20, 2020

CYR is the eleventh studio album by The Smashing Pumpkins. The 20-track double album was released on November 27, 2020 through Sumerian Records. It is the second studio album of the band (after 1995's Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness) to be released as a double album. While it doesn't bear the name, the songs comprise what was intended as volume two of the Shiny series, following Shiny and Oh So Bright - Vol. 1 / LP: No Past. No Future. No Sun.[1]

Self-produced by vocalist and guitarist Billy Corgan, the album features a synth-pop sound and was preceded by the release of ten of its songs as double A-side singles. In additional support of the album, a five-part animated series called In Ashes was released that featured more music from the album. It was written by Billy Corgan and animated by Deep Sky Studios.

Background and recording[edit | edit source]

After the band's previous album, Shiny and Oh So Bright - Vol. 1 / LP: No Past. No Future. No Sun. was released, the band toured in support of it, while at the time subtly talking about their upcoming recording efforts via Billy Corgan's Instagram stories.[2] Corgan began writing in December 2018.[3] Drummer Jimmy Chamberlin notes that he and Corgan began planning the aesthetic of CYR come early 2019, with Corgan sending him up to 35 potential song options: "It’s hard when you start with, like, 35 songs. Then you just whittle them down, except the criteria for the record was pretty high. Billy started sending me sketches of stuff he was thinking about, and we started talking about the drum sound."[4]

In early 2020, Corgan confirmed that a sequel to Shiny Vol. 1 was in the process of being recorded. He also went back and forth on how many songs would be on the album, starting with 23 songs, and eventually settling on just 20 to be released. Recording was finished early in the year, and had been taking place during 2019 and 2020, with Chamberlin noting, "Once we got a beat on what the record was gonna be, we had this pile of songs and they either translated that to that architecture or they didn’t, and that’s kind of [how we got to] the 20 that we ended up with. They were the best of the best representation of that, ideologically."[5] While the writing and preparation of the aesthetics of the songs spanned many months, the lyrics were usually written the night before recording them in the studio.[3]

Unlike the previous album, produced by Rick Rubin, Corgan self-produced Cyr, pushing himself to record and work outside his comfort zone: "I was trying to bring myself into modernity. I got Logic, I got some beats going, but I just wasn’t feeling it. I started to feel like the Luddite who couldn’t evolve. But then I realized that when I first heard Siouxsie and the Banshees, Sisters of Mercy and Joy Division, they were making very modern music by using the technology that they had at hand. So I had to get inside the choices that they made."[6] The band members recorded parts on their typical instruments, with synthesizers being recorded by Corgan. However many of the synths and guitars are indistinguishable. "I think it’s fun to play around with guitars that sound like synths and synths that sound like guitars," Corgan told Premier Guitar.[7] Backing vocals were largely arranged by touring member Katie Cole, who sang them along with Sierra Swan.[8] The synths and bass synths were rarely sequenced and instead played by hand.[9] Chamberlin notes that the sound of his drums (which were all acoustic[10]) on the album were influenced by "early-seventies prog rock bands, that type of tight dry drum sound."[11]

Artwork[edit | edit source]

Corgan has said the artwork was inspired by the "naked pentagram guy" pictured in the liner notes of Rush's 1976 album, 2112.[12]

Release and promotion[edit | edit source]

The release of CYR had to be delayed multiple times due to the uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite this, Corgan insisted it be released before Christmas of 2020.[7] The album was ultimately released on November 27 on all digital platforms, as well as on CD and vinyl. After the band teased the upcoming project with their countdown timers on their official website, they released the lead single "Cyr", which was backed with "The Colour of Love", on August 28, 2020, with an accompanying music video for the titular track. Several weeks later, the band released another single, "Confessions of a Dopamine Addict" which was backed with "Wrath". This release also included two animated episodes of the band's short series In Ashes, which featured music from "The Colour of Love" and "Confessions of a Dopamine Addict".[13] On October 9, 2020, the band released the third single from the album, "Anno Satana" and "Birch Grove", as well as the third episode of In Ashes.[14] On October 30, 2020 the band released a fourth pair of songs as a single, "Ramona" and "Wyttch",[15] with the "Wytcch" music video premiering on November 13, 2020 as part of a Friday the 13th event through their label Sumerian Records.[16] The band released a final pair of songs, "Purple Blood" and "Dulcet in E" on November 20, 2020.[17]

The band was set to embark on the Rock Invasion 2 tour soon after recording wrapped up, but was forced to cancel due to the COVID-19 pandemic, while also led to the band having to remotely work on the music video for lead single "Cyr." [18][19]

The vinyl double LP is available in eight colors:[20]

  • Orchid: standard worldwide release
  • Pink haze: Smashing Pumpkins Store exclusive
  • Black ice: Smashing Pumpkins Store exclusive box set; includes photo book, poster, and foil inserts
  • Pearl marble: Sumerian Records exclusive
  • Baby pink: UK HMV exclusive
  • Ivory: Australian JB Hi-Fi exclusive
  • Purple blood: US indie record store exclusive
  • Love colour: Alliance exclusive

In February 2020, the band and Sumerian Records conducted a CYR fan cover contest, with the winner being a cover of "Wyttch".

On June 9, 2021, Sumerian released the CYR Singles box set of all five double A-side singles from CYR.

Critical reception[edit | edit source]

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4/5 stars[21]
Kerrang4/5 stars[22]
Clash Music7/10 stars[23]

The album earned generally positive reviews.[24] AllMusic gave the album 4/5 stars, declaring "another epic statement rife with troubled beauty, presented from a slightly different angle but true to the spirit of longing and restless wonder that has defined the Smashing Pumpkins for over 30 years."[21] NME stated that the album was "far better than anything Corgan produced when he was running with the Pumpkins name on his own",[25] while The Guardian called it "a synth-fuelled endurance test of an album."[26]

Chart performance[edit | edit source]

Chart (2020) Peak
Australian Albums (ARIA)[27] 36
Austrian Albums (Ö3 Austria)[28] 65
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders)[29] 154
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Wallonia)[30] 49
Canadian Albums (Billboard)[31] 66
French Albums (SNEP)[32] 104
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[33] 31
Irish Albums (IRMA)[34] 95
Italian Albums (FIMI)[35] 42
Scottish Albums (OCC)[36] 37
Swiss Albums (Swiss Hitparade)[37] 21
UK Albums (OCC)[38] 71
UK Independent Albums (OCC)[39] 13
US Billboard 200[40] 86
US Rock (Billboard)[41] 10

Track listing[edit | edit source]

Credits and times adapted from Apple Music.

All tracks are written by Billy Corgan.

1."The Colour of Love"4:23
2."Confessions of a Dopamine Addict"3:13
4."Dulcet in E"3:22
7."Anno Satana"3:50
8."Birch Grove"3:17
11."Purple Blood"3:19
12."Save Your Tears"3:31
14."Black Forest, Black Hills"4:42
17."The Hidden Sun"3:24
19."Tyger, Tyger"2:50
Total length:72:00

Release history[edit | edit source]

Released Label Catalog ID Format Country External sites
November 27, 2020 Sumerian Digital Worldwide MusicBrainz [1]
November 27, 2020 Sumerian SUM1377 2×LP US Discogs [1]
November 27, 2020 Sumerian SUM1398 CD US Discogs MusicBrainz [1]

More releases: DiscogsMusicBrainz

Personnel[edit | edit source]

The Smashing Pumpkins[edit | edit source]

Additional musicians[edit | edit source]

Production[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Corgan, Billy. "Where Rain Must Fall (with Adam Lehrer)". iHeartPodcasts. Retrieved December 8, 2022.
  2. Calum Slingerland (Jan 22, 2020). "Billy Corgan Says He Has 21 Songs for a "Pretty Different" Smashing Pumpkins Album". Exclaim!.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Billy Corgan. September 26, 2020 Instagram Q&A
  4. Aaronms, Ricky (November 26, 2017). "Jimmy Chamberlin – 'Smashing (Out New) Pumpkins Material'". Wall of Sound. Retrieved November 26, 2020.
  5. Aaronms, Ricky (November 26, 2017). "Jimmy Chamberlin – 'Smashing (Out New) Pumpkins Material'". Wall of Sound. Retrieved November 26, 2020.
  6. Exposito, Suzy (November 24, 2017). "Smashing Pumpkins' Billy Corgan has a lot to say about Spotify, Courtney Love and our 'dystopia'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 26, 2020.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Jeffers, Tessa. "Billy Corgan on Smashing Pumpkins' New Mellon Collie Sequel: "Now's the Time."". Premier Guitar. Retrieved December 15, 2020.
  8. Billy Corgan. November 27, 2020 Instagram Q&A
  9. Billy Corgan. November 29, 2020 Instagram Q&A
  10. Billy Corgan. November 29, 2020 Instagram Q&A
  11. Aaronms, Ricky (November 26, 2017). "Jimmy Chamberlin – 'Smashing (Out New) Pumpkins Material'". Wall of Sound. Retrieved November 26, 2020.
  12. Billy Corgan. CYR Q&A with Billy Corgan and Ash Avildsen
  13. Michael Broerman (September 25, 2020). "The Smashing Pumpkins Share First Two Episodes Of 'In Ashes' Animated Series, New Singles". Live For Live Music.
  14. Brenton Blanchet (October 9, 2020). "Smashing Pumpkins Unleash Two New Tracks, Third Episode of Animated Series". Spin.
  18. Daniel Kohn (June 8, 2020). "Smashing Pumpkins Cancel Rock Invasion 2 Tour". Spin.
  19. "Smashing Pumpkins return with black and white 'Cyr' music video". UPI. August 28, 2020.
  21. 21.0 21.1 Thomas, Fred. "Cyr - The Smashing Pumpkins review". AllMusic. Retrieved December 2, 2020.
  22. Russel, Nick. "Album Review: The Smashing Pumpkins – Cyr". Kerrang. Retrieved December 2, 2020.
  23. Gray, Josh. "Smashing Pumpkins - Cyr". Clash Music. Retrieved December 2, 2020.
  25. Damian Jones (Jan 25, 2020). "The Smashing Pumpkins – 'CYR' review: rock heroes reinvent themselves on poppiest record to date". NME.
  26. Phil Mongredien (Nov 22, 2020). "Smashing Pumpkins: Cyr review – infinite flatness". The Guardian.
  27. " – The Smashing Pumpkins – Cyr". Hung Medien. Retrieved December 5, 2020.
  28. " – The Smashing Pumpkins – Cyr" (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved December 11, 2020.
  29. " – The Smashing Pumpkins – Cyr" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved December 12, 2020.
  30. " – The Smashing Pumpkins – Cyr" (in French). Hung Medien. Retrieved December 4, 2020.
  31. "The Smashing Pumpkins Chart History (Canadian Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved December 8, 2020.
  32. " – The Smashing Pumpkins – {{{album}}}". Hung Medien.
  33. " – The Smashing Pumpkins – Cyr" (in German). w:GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved December 4, 2020.
  34. " – Discography The Smashing Pumpkins". Hung Medien. Retrieved December 5, 2020.
  35. " – The Smashing Pumpkins – Cyr". Hung Medien. Retrieved December 5, 2020.
  36. "Official Scottish Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved December 4, 2020.
  37. " – The Smashing Pumpkins – Cyr". Hung Medien. Retrieved December 8, 2020.
  38. "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved December 4, 2020.
  39. "Official Independent Albums Chart Top 50". Official Charts Company. Retrieved December 4, 2020.
  40. "The Smashing Pumpkins Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved December 8, 2020.
  41. "The Smashing Pumpkins Chart History (Top Rock Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved December 8, 2020.