Zwan’s ‘Mary Star of the Sea’ at 20 – underrated classic or one of Billy Corgan’s missteps?
Zwan--the short-lived band fronted by The Smashing Pumpkins' Billy Corgan that also featured Pumpkins drummer Jimmy Chamberlin, guitarists David Pajo (Slint, Papa M) and Matt Sweeney (Chavez, Shunk), and bassist Paz Lenchantin (A Perfect Circle, now of Pixies)--released their sole album Mary Star of the Sea 20 years ago this Saturday (1/28). It's always been a divisive album in Billy Corgan's catalog (Pitchfork trashed it in a 4.8 review, whereas other contemporary reviews like SPIN and NME were more favorable), and this anniversary has a lot of people talking about the album, re-evaluating it, debating it. Stereogum and Uproxx both published retrospectives arguing that it's "probably better than you remember" and "Billy Corgan's lost classic," respectively, and a lot of other loud Zwan cheerleaders have since weighed in, while others have taken the opportunity to double down on their hatred. (Personally, I think the Zwan album is great!) It's also not on streaming services, but you can hear it on YouTube or break out your old CD player to revisit it for the occasion. We've rounded up some tweets weighing in on the Great Zwan Debate of 2023, along with the album's two music videos. Dive in below. Where do you stand on Zwan in 2023?