Along with Nirvana's Nevermind marked the high-tide line of the alternative rock wave of the early nineties. Siamese Dream was the Smashing Pumpkins second album and launched them from relative obscurity to being one of the biggest bands in the world.
The album's stellar commercial success was complimented by widespread critical acclaim. Although it is not quite true that frontman Billy Corgan played every guitar part (the introduction to the song Mayonnaise was written and played by James Iha, for instance) he did run the band in a rather dictatorial manner. The album was recorded at a stressful time for the Pumpkins who were under immense pressure to be the next big thing; Corgan was also suffering from depression which provided bountiful angst for songwriting.
Commercial radio listeners would be most familiar with Siamese Dream through the album's hit singles. Cherub Rock was a condemnation of the state of alternative rock. The deceptively uplifting Today concerned Corgan's decision not to commit suicide. Disarm was one of the album's few tracks not to use a large amount of distortion and Rocket was a rock song done as only the Pumpkins know how.
The album was produced by Butch Vig, who also worked with Nirvana and Sonic Youth and went on to form Garbage, for whom he is the drummer. It also sparked a 'Nirvana v Smashing Pumpkins feud' which was always more alive in the popular music press than in reality. Critically, Siamese Dream was the Pumpkins zenith, and it is still regarded as one of the all-time great rock albums. The success of the album and Corgan's perverse nature meant that the band was immediately pushed in a new artistic direction by the acclaim that was heaped upon it, culminating in the two-disc opus Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. Billy Corgan was never one to shy away from greatness though, and when considering the Siamese Dream's success remarked "I feel in my heart that I can obscure Siamese Dream with what comes next."