Disavowing the musical punk rock roots of many of their alt-rock contemporaries, the Pumpkins have a diverse, densely layered, and guitar-heavy sound which while adhering to a punk influenced philosophy in terms of musical delivery, contains elements of gothic rock, heavy metal, dream pop, psychedelic rock, progressive rock, shoegazing, and electronica in later recordings. Corgan is the group's primary songwriter—his grand musical ambitions and cathartic lyrics have shaped the band's albums and songs, which have been described as "anguished, bruised reports from Billy Corgan's nightmare-land".
The Smashing Pumpkins broke into the musical mainstream with their second album, 1993's Siamese Dream. The group built its audience with extensive touring and their 1995 follow-up, the double album Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, which debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 album chart. With 20 million albums sold in the United States alone, the Smashing Pumpkins were one of the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed bands of the 1990s. However, internal fighting, drug use, and diminishing record sales led to a 2000 break-up.
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