The Smashing Pumpkins - Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness
In the days of vinyl only you knew you'd only be subjected to 85 minutes or so of music on a double album and usually a lot less. But with each CD now capable of holding around 75 minutes of music, the term "double album" has taken on a whole new meaning. Most double albums in the CD age I have are extended editions where the second CD is a bonus of off-cuts, remixes, b-sides, demos and the like. But at over two hours long Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness is your full-blown throw-everything-in-there-including-the-kitchen-sink album. Even contemplating it is a struggle.
For every adjective you can throw at this album in a positive light, you can find another - its complete opposite - waiting to ambush you. At the same time this album is ambitious and overblown; subtle and bombastic; restrained and pompous; soaring and turgid; self-contained and florid; thoughtful and pretentious; artful and arty. At the root of it all lies Billy Corgan's inability to recognise that he did not have the capacity to rise above average and mediocre.
The breadth of conception is vast, but the result is ultimately a disappointment. The conception is simply too huge for someone of Corgan's limitations to take on with any success. It is alright having vision, but if you can't get out of your prison cell, what's the point in planning your holiday on the beach. This is what happens when you try to get a bunch of pub rockers to play opera. As a musical vision, it simply doesn't work.
The Smashing Pumpkins seem to have adopted the principle that if they try everything in the course of the album, then there will something, no matter how small, in it for everyone. That is a pretty poor philosophy on which to base two hours of music. Therefore you get a mixture of pleasant pianos which go nowhere ("Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness"); simple hooklines which nonetheless fail to catch you ("Zero"); stupid pub chants ("We Only Come out at Night"); and tuggers of emotional heartstrings ("Tonight, Tonight"). But in the end, it doesn't deliver. And by the time you reach "Farwell and Goodnight" the overwhelming sensation is one of relief.
It is not all bad, but to find the pearl amongst the swine you have to look long and hard, and ensure that you take it out of context in able to appreciate it. Songs such as "Tonight Tonight" and (surprisingly) "Porcelina of the Vast Ocean" actually stand on their own merit. But, like a rose in a sewer, whose fragrance is only special when you remove it from the environment in which you found it, the individual songs can only be truly appreciated when they are listened to as separate entities apart from the rest of the album.
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on 2012-02-22 hstisgod Said:
Couldn't agree with you more gutterseed, but it's more like, by the time I had enjoyed Siamese dream, my tastes had started to develop more finely and that whiny pitch of coragans gets on my nerves
on 2012-02-22 gutterseed Said:
I never was a big pumpkins fan, and it's kinda hard to follow "Siamese Dream"
on 2012-02-22 SolitaryMan Said:
I can't say I'm offended, but certainly surprised. I would suggest listening again if all you can remember is two songs, but if you didn't like it way back when, there probably isn't any point. Ah well. It meant more to me once upon a time, in my youth, and it's carried over into adulthood fairly well. Maybe not 10/10 anymore, 8/10 seems about right.
on 2012-02-21 gutterseed Said:
I disliked this album. They should have never made it a double album. It was an awful album. The only song I really cared for was zero, and I really only thought it was good because it's intensity reflected that of a mentally volitale relationship between Kurt Cobain and Courtney love. I thought Corrigan was high on smack for most of the album. I hated the arrogance, the aroma, and even the artwork for this piece of garbage. I can't really review the album because I haven't heard it in years and won't subject myself to anything on it, but when you say "rose in a sewer", that pretty much describes my feelings about "zero". I didn't like Tonight Tonight, and I don't really remember any of the other songs on the album. I wish they'd have done Rock Opera a favor and left it to Iron Maiden. This album was as bland as a bowl of dry 3 day old white rice, but I still wouldn't feed it to a dying dog.
on 2007-08-04 SolitaryMan Said:
I've reviewed this album before, and I've probably listened to it more than any in my collection. It will always be a top-5 selection for me, and if I had to listen to any one record and one record only for the rest of eternity, Mellon Collie would come damn close. When trying to sum this one up, I've read many people explain it as a rock opera without the opera, a classic that puts the band up there with the greatest of the greats, and more often than not just an amazing 2-disc masterpiece, perfect in nearly every way. What I think is simply this; The Pumpkins wanted to recreate, musically, the entire palette of human emotion. Each album before and after was either slightly effective or ineffective at this; "Mellon Collie" nailed it. We all know how many great radio hits came from this album, and we all know it made the Pumpkins bigger than big. But, what few of us will stop to recognize is that they made a statement of such boldness and profound vision here that they really do belong named alongside the best rock has ever had to offer. It never grows old, it still to this day can offer me something new and exciting, and all those old feelings of my youth come rushing back. Yes, you've guessed it by now; I am in love with this record, and it's always loved me back.
on 2007-06-09 mschmitt Said:
Where Siamese Dream secured a spot for the Pumpkins in the current music scene, this blockbuster two-disc album placed them in a spot among the rock greats of all time. 28 tracks cover almost every human emotion possible, from rage/relationship woes (“Tales of a Scorched Earth,” “An Ode To No One (Fuck You),” “x.y.u.”), to youthful nostalgia (“1979”), to stalker-tendencies (“Lily (My One And Only)”), to simple melancholy (“Galapagos,” “Thirty-Three,” “Muzzle,” “Porcelina of the Vast Oceans”). Led by singles “Bullet With Butterfly Wings,” “Zero,” “Tonight, Tonight,” and “1979,” this removed all doubt as to the Smashing Pumpkins’ importance, and made a fan out of me. Track Picks: Everything I’ve mentioned, plus “Cupid de Locke,” “Bodies,” “Love,” and “Here Is No Why.”