Smashing Pumpkins

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Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness

Smashing Pumpkins - Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness ©1995 Virgin
CD one:
1. Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness
2. Tonight, Tonight
3. Jellybelly
4. Zero
5. Here is No Why
6. Bullet With Butterfly Wings
7. To Forgive
8. Fuck You (An Ode to No One)
9. Love
10. Cupid de Locke
11. Galapogos
12. Muzzle
13. Porcelina of the Vast Oceans
14. Take Me Down
CD two:
1. Where Boys Fear to Tread
2. Bodies
3. Thirty-three
4. In the Arms of Sleep
5. 1979
6. Tales of a Scorched Earth
7. Thru the Eyes of Ruby
8. Stumbleine
9. X.Y.U.
10. We Only Come Out At Night
11. Beautiful
12. Lily (My One and Only)
13. By Starlight
14. Farewell and Goodnight

By the mid 90s, the definition of alternative rock had been so severely skewed that it was rendered entirely meaningless. In theory, "alternative" suggests a deviation from the mainstream, yet many acts pretending to be a true choice outside the mainstream were in fact as mainstream as you can get. Case in point is the Smashing Pumpkins, a mystifying darling of the alternative press and less discriminating record buying public. Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness is a sprawling, indulgent two hour ode to Billy Corgan's inflated sense of worth to rock music in general. The fact this album went platinum nine times over is a total condemnation of how the record industry elevates mediocrity to godhead status.

Back in 1995, the radio couldn't go more than fifteen minutes without playing "Bullet with Butterfly Wings", the hit single that began my revulsion towards this band. Although they had taken the pretend underground route with an "independent" release before establishing themselves on a major, corporate label. This astroturfing gave the band falsified street credibility where none was truly earned. Billy Corgan, above all else, understood how to work the industry and it certainly wasn't through exceptional talent or impressive songwriting ability. His thin, simpering voice unfortunately became the sound of a generation accustomed to entitlement and whining. I've never figured out how someone with such an awful, grating voice could ever sell this many records. In the 80s, David Lee Roth at least had charm and surfer attitude to draw the busty blondes onto his arm and help springboard Van Halen to success. Corgan has no charm or grace. He comes across as a pampered rock star who tries to connect with his audience by complaining and act ungrateful regarding his success. Worse, on a song like "X.Y.U.", he attempts to sound angry and comes across as a timid accountant practicing his confrontational face in the bathroom mirror. It doesn't matter what Corgan tries to sell on this album. I simply ain't buying it.

Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness is a sad reminder of how vapid much of the 90s became after Nirvana kicked the door down for non-traditional rock bands. It didn't take long for the industry to co-opt the angst of a petulant generation with the Smashing Pumpkins rushing to the forefront of a contrived musical movement. This album is a two hour exercise in fluffing Billy Corgan's ego and inflated sense of self-worth.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 11/2009

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