Performer: Smashing Pumpkins
Songwriter: Billy Corgan
Original Release: Disarm Single
Definitive Version: None
Nearly every act among my favorites released something in 1994: The Who, Hendrix, Neil Young, Pearl Jam, Zeppelin (more or less), Nirvana, Soundgarden, Pink Floyd, Alice in Chains, Peter Gabriel, ELP. The lone exceptions were Rush, who put out Counterparts in the fall of 1993, and Genesis. From Smashing Pumpkins, of course, came the collection of B sides known as Pisces Iscariot, which was my introduction to this song.
When I would make a workout tape, I’d like to construct it like an album, with a musical flow throughout. Soothe is about as perfect a first song as you could find, being short and very spare. You could go in any direction that you wanted afterward. It’s perfect for when you first hit the gym floor for your stretching, so by the time it’s over and the heavy stuff comes on to amp you up, you’re ready to roll.
I was going to two gyms at the time through my membership at Bally’s. One was where I used to play racquetball when I was in high school. It was on the fringes of Upper Arlington and was nice, bright and spacious. The other was out near where Debbie lived and it too reflected the area. It was compact, dark and crowded. It had a one-eighth-mile track above the floor, and I called it the workout dungeon. Where I would go depended on whether I was going shopping on the Northwest side or seeing Debbie later.
Soothe puts me right back to that time every time I hear it. To me, it’s the sound of leaves falling.