MELLON COLLIE AND THE INFINITE SADNESS
MCIS review 10-24-95 Madison Isthmus
(Transcribed by Eric Agnew)
Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness (Virgin) The moody string arrangement that opens this sprawling two-CD set doesn't bode well, but sometimes lead-off tracks are misleading. Fact is, Mellon Collie is an enormous improvement over the long-form whining that characterized the Smashing Pumpkins' earlier efforts. Head Pumpkin Billy Corgan no longer falls for the cheap psychedelia that brought the group fame, and his willingness to engage the rigors of adulthood in a musical mano a mano means that the self-satisfaction factor on Mellon Collie has been reduced to a tolerable level. Not surprisingly, grunge - and the late Kurt Cobain - are worked over during a couple catchy assaults on nihilism ("Jellybelly," "Bullet with Butterfly wings"), but the best tunes show a troubled man-child pleading for human contact, then pushing his comforters away.
Often, Corgan's balancing act between youth and maturity leads nowhere; on the other hand, the raging metal complaint "Fuck You (An Ode to No One)" is a stunning evocation of teen confusion. In a similar way, the more desperate "Bodies" ("No bodies felt like you/Nobodys/Love is suicide") freeze-frames Corgan's awkwardness and ambivalence about the future. These few well-crafted songs don't justify the CD's length; even so, with Corgan moving beyond childish things, Mellon Collie suggests that his band will outlive its noisier peers. -TOM LASKIN
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