The Smashing Pumpkins: In Honor of "Oceania" June 19, An ARTISTdirect.com Retrospective on "Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness"
Thu, 07 Jun 2012 10:01:26
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With the impending release of Oceania [Pre-order here!] on June 19, 2012, ARTISTdirect.com decided to take a look back at not only of the greatest releases from The Smashing Pumpkins, but one of alternative rock's finest hours, Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness.
Given that Oceania has the potential to change the face of rock, editor in chief Rick Florino wanted to share some thoughts and feelings about Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness.
The sprawling two-disc masterpiece galvanized '90s rock 'n' roll and brought it to the big leagues. Of their contemporaries—Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Jane's Addiction, Alice In Chains, Tool, and Soundgarden—The Smashing Pumpkins were the only one to make a double album. However, it isn't simply 28 songs. It's a ride on par with The Who's Tommy and Pink Floyd's The Wall.
Released October 24, 1995, the band—Billy Corgan, James Iha, Darcy Wretzky, and Jimmy Chamberlain—had been firing on all cylinders. Siamese Dream and Gish proved to be classics in their own right, nevertheless, there's a decisive magic to the band's third full-length that's almost tough to put into words. The somber, yet invigorating piano of the title track opens the doors to the world the band created. "Tonight, Tonight" sails past the heavens with sprawling orchestral elegance and one of the group's most ethereal hooks, "Jellybelly" glides on a guttural grin and chug of distortion.
"Zero", also emblazoned on Corgan's black t-shirt at the time, proclaimed the nihilistic gen-X war cry of "God is empty, just like me". "Here is No Why" boasted a rhythmic bombast courtesy of Wretzky's unwavering bass and Chamberlain's immortal drumming.
"Bullet with Butterfly Wings" is a quintessential rock anthem that anyone, anywhere can sing by heart, at the same time, it also sees Corgan at his most exposed and raw.
Speaking of vulnerable "To Forgive" rises from the ashes of an acoustic hum into a dreamy song of acceptance. "Fuck You (An Ode to No One)" raises a middle finger like only this band can—because they're that good and have the right to tell everyone else to fuck off. "Love" embraced electronic sounds long before this whole craze the world has fallen prey to now. To this day, "Muzzle" remains an uplifting celebration of life. That's just disc 1, mind you.
Which brings us to the second movement of this opus, "Where Boys Fear to Tread" remains an elegantly tough blast of alternative metal driven by Corgan and Iha's deft riffage. "Bodies" sees the sound creep from isolation to insurrection, while "Thirty-Three" is still one of the most beautiful songs to come out of the '90s.
Who can forget that idyllic and invigorating music video for "1979"? It's like your favorite film but better.
"Thru the Eyes of Ruby" could be the most intricate and progressive love song ever, while "X.Y.U." proves heavier than all hell, especially when proceeded by the fairy tale "Stumbleine".
"We Only Come Out At Night" should be the main song for vampires throughout cinematic history, and it goes on and on. At the end of those days, it's one of those albums that if someone asked me what rock 'n' roll was I could hand it to them and Corgan and Co. would do the rest.
I still listen to Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness on a regular basis, and I have since I was 11-years-old and bought it at Bradlees department store in Revere, MA. It also means different things to me now, and I feel I've grown to understand it even more. I can't wait to see where I go next with this album.
What's your favorite song from Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness? Share it below in the comments!