Arriving less than a year after Smashing Pumpkins played their final show and just prior to the Christmas shopping crunch, Rotten Apples feels equally premature and perfect in its timing.

Arriving less than a year after Smashing Pumpkins played their final show and just prior to the Christmas shopping crunch, Rotten Apples feels equally premature and perfect in its timing. What seems almost dead-on, though, is the anthology's track listing. Nearly every song that both hardcore and casual fans would expect to find is here—the dramatic "Disarm," the feel-good "1979," the blistering "Siva" (but, then, where's "Rocket"?). Wisely bundled with a collection of B-sides and rarities (including "Blissed and Gone," Billy Corgan's somewhat melodramatic, but sweet, farewell to Pumpkins fans), this two-disc package reminds that the band probably did well to quit when it did, just as its halo was beginning to tarnish. Like many great groups, the Chicago-bred act bowed out with a disappointing swan song (Machina: The Machines of God). Clearly, though, the band's legacy has retained much of its might, and Rotten Apples plainly illustrates that. Sweetening the punch is the inclusion of Corgan's jaw-dropping cover of Fleetwood Mac's "Landslide," the underappreciated Adore singles, and the wonderfully dynamic "Drown" from the Singles soundtrack, as well as rare photos by Lisa Johnson and others.—WO

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