Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Review: Smashing Pumpkins - Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness

 I made allusions to this album in my Stadium Arcadium review, and as it turns out I happen to have a review of this one, too. It's an older review, made before I established a better formula, but still pretty decent. Also, I can't seem to turn italics off, so that's a nice little obstacle to overcome. I wanted to make a nice long playlist for a double album, but has only two of the songs I wanted, so I've resorted to YouTube. Sorry about that. Since I AM doing YouTube videos, I'm going to experiment with the way I put them in the post. Please give feedback on whether or not you like it.

Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness is an alternative double album released in 1995 by Smashing Pumpkins. Let me just get this out of the way now and say that it is an incredible, fantastic, wonderful, (insert 100 more positive adjectives here) album. 

One of the most marvelous things to behold on this album is how easily the writing sways between pristine beauty to hardcore thrashes akin to heavy metal and back again, an example being the very beginning of the album, where they go from something as wonderfully beautiful as "Tonight, Tonight" to one of the hardest songs on the disc, "Jellybelly" and darker song "Zero." Billy Corgan's voice flows along with the songs, citing the example of "Tonight, Tonight" to "Jellybelly" again, where he goes from crystal clarity to what I like to call pleasurable irritation. It's hard to explain, really. Whiny, somewhat screamy, dark.

The album is divided into two discs, being a double album. The first disc, Dawn to Dusk, leans more towards the harder and darker side of the Pumpkins, with songs like "Jellybelly," "Zero," "Here Is No Why," "Bullet With Butterfly Wings" and "An Ode To No One," but it's not afraid to show its softer side with songs like "Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness," "To Forgive," "Cupid De Locke," "Galapogos" and "Take Me Down." "Tonight, Tonight" acts like a way between the two sides, shifting wildly from both hard and soft, but through the chaos is the star that shines the brightest on the first disc.

The second disc, Twilight to Starlight, tends to lean more to their softer side, with songs like "Thirty-Three," "In the Arms of Sleep," "Stumblein," "Beautiful" and "Lily (My One and Only)" though it too is unafraid of showing a dark side with songs like "Where Boys Fear to Tread," "Bodies" and "Tales of a Scorched Earth." "1979" is upbeat and spacey, dark and slow all at the same time, creating the product that shines the brightest on the second disc and might just make you cry if you have the heart for it. Neither disc is short of epics, either, with "Porcelina of the Vast Oceans" at 9:21, "Thru the Eyes of Ruby" at 7:38 and "X.Y.U." at 7:07.
The album ends with the fitting "Farewell and Goodnight," a sort of a goodnight blessing set to a tune and acoustic guitar to send the album off and bid farewell to the listener as their journey through glee, wonder, terror and remorse finally comes to a satisfying, happy ending. The song ends with the same solo piano that the album opens with on "Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness," wrapping it all up.

The best part is that every single one of the 28 songs on the album stands out on its own. Each one is just as special as the last, and each one is fantastic at the very least. So far, no double album has matched up to the experience this one provides.

Overall, that something so wonderfully crafted exists brings a tear to my eye. Every time I listen to this album I am left speechless. If you can't find at least one thing on this album to fall in love with, then you must hate music.

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