Dan Snierson
May 23, 2005 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Before he moved forward on TheFutureEmbrace, Billy Corgan went backward…into his record collection for inspiration. ”It’s not imitation — it’s like an homage,” he says. ”You’re very much putting your own stamp on it.” Here are four records that helped Corgan embrace the future.

David Bowie Low (1977)
”The touchstone of what I would call the modern futurism in rock — and a feeling and a sound that is yet to be fully realized. It’s still emerging in the years to come. A watershed moment.”

Joy Division Unknown Pleasures (1979)
”It made me feel feelings I didn’t know I had and at the same time seemed to exactly sum up what was going on around me, which scared me. Because that meant there were other people that were thinking and feeling like me.”

Echo and the Bunnymen Crocodiles (1980)
”Often overlooked. An incredible album from one of the most underrated bands in rock history. The real deal — and, yes, a band U2 ripped off.”

The Sisters of Mercy First and Last and Always (1985)
”It doesn’t get any more smoke-machine messianic-pose than this. If you really want to go there, this is the place to go.”

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