Smashing Pumpkins’ first double album shines on after 29 years

In the midst of today’s ever growing musical world, it can be hard to find anything; sometimes people don’t even know where to begin. While this may not show you every song, album or EP that you’d ever dream of hearing, let this inspire you to search and dive into the infinitely deep hole that is the modern music world.

Out from Chicago, The Smashing Pumpkins are an alt rock band that uses different genres like grunge, dream pop and heavy metal. The band consists of their frontman and guitarist Billy Corgan, bassist D’arcy Wretzky, guitarist James Iha and drummer Jimmy Chamberlin. The album on the chopping block this time is Melon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, no doubt one of the band’s most popular albums to date.

The album itself has a simple but very vast meaning. Mellon Collie, which is obviously a play on the word melancholy, which means a feeling of sadness, is about the ‘The human condition of mortal sorrow’ according to an interview with Corgan found on a Smashing Pumpkins fan website. Each song encapsulates the feeling of sadness, but also of anger and the hope that can rise from a feeling of sorrow.

The album starts out with the title track, “Melon Collie and the Infinite Sadness,” a beautiful piano melody that sets a somber tone that fits the rest of the album. “Tonight, Tonight” as described by Corgan again is “one of hope. To find the courage to lose oneself in the moment where all is possible.” 

Hope is always something important to have, even in dark and lonely moments. “Jellybelly” is purely about self-hatred, fitting for the album. One of my favorite songs, “Zero,” is about one of the worst feelings someone can have, though calling it a feeling would be wrong: apathy, a total lack of feeling, a “zero” if you will, not positive or even negative. 

Since this album is quite long and I cannot go through each and every song, I’ll point out the two most popular songs and their meanings. “Bullet with Butterfly Wings” is about the feeling of helplessness in a larger system, the chorus chanting “Despite all my rage, I am still just a rat in a cage.” After all, a bullet traveling with only butterfly wings doesn’t do much damage. “1979” is comparatively more positive; the entire song being about reminiscing about your better younger days, and as someone living in the high school days now, it’s important to make good memories that we can look back on later.

Taking a look at the cover, specifically the deluxe edition, it not only features the titular Mellon Collie, a girl coming out of a star, but other figures, such as what appears to be Brahma, the Hindu god often referred to as the creator in Hinduism. It also features cherubs, and a globe and telescope.The entire album cover is a collage of different pieces, meaning pieces of paper were cut out and combined to make the original piece, which gives it this distinct, antique look, as well with the  scratchy shading and wear on every piece makes it feel aged.

The sound of The Smashing Pumpkins has always stuck out to me, like the guitars are low revving chainsaws that slowly rip apart anything it touches, and Corgan’s singing makes parts very distinct, sometimes sounding like he’s groaning out. The riffs are for the most part pretty memorable and very catchy. 

Overall, I think this album is an obvious listen for anyone interested in what many would call Art Rock, much like its cover, the music is a collage of sounds, singing and relatable, real feelings that people most likely experience across their life. I have to give this album a 7.5/10

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