In honor of this week’s Rock Band DLC (“Zero”) I present you with The Smashing Pumpkin’s ambitious double-album Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness.
Released in the depressing October of 1995, Mellon Collie is the follow-up to the band’s hit Siamese Dream. It quickly became a success, despite its $20+ price, and the best-selling double album of the decade at that point in time.
The scope of this release is rather daunting, Billy Corgan and company give us quite the audio assault. We have the explosive power of tracks like “Bullet with Butterfly Wings” and “Tales of a Scorched Earth,” juxtaposed with the elegance and beauty of tracks like “Tonight, Tonight” and “1979” (both of which became renowned for their music videos). They utilize everything from pianos to string orchestration to video games sound effects to “grunge-tuned” guitars and synthesizers.
The end result is 28 tracks that are all tired together around the concept of the cycle of life and death. While some criticize the lyrics, which I think work pretty well for Corgan, no one can deny the greatness of the music accompanying the words. The three-star Rolling Stone review said the album, “may even match The Wall in it sonic accomplishments.”
Mellon Collie is essential Nineties listening, and is among the best albums to come out of that wonderful decade.
Favorite Tracks: “Tonight, Tonight,” “1979”