WHFS Press 1995 Issue #5
Smashing Pumpkins: Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness
By Bob Waugh, Late mornings on HFS
Everyone can say they knew the Pumpkins were poised for greatness after Gish came out in 1991, but on one could have predicted the staggering 4 million+ success of Siamese Dream. Some fans screamed 'sell-out' while others wondered if commercial success would be the final blow to the psyche of a band that was fragile at best to begin with.
Not only has the band survived, but reports out of Chicago said the Pumpkins actually got along rather well with each other while recording Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, their new 28-song double album. Billy Corgan has certainly not been placated by success, and manages to grapple with familiar themes from a fresh perspective. On "Zero" he screams, "I'm in love with my sadness," and throughout the album he relentlessly hammers home the notion of just how tough it is to be Billy Corgan. In "Stumbleine," he claims "Nobody nowhere understands anything about me," and Corgan's fondness for touring is addressed on "Bullet with Butterfly Wings", with the line, "Can you fake it for one more show ?" (Smashing Pumpkins have no immediate plans to tour this album).
Mellon Collie is, nevertheless, an astonishing achievement in the growth of the Smashing Pumpkins. While it's a long, and sometimes lyrically depressing album, the music can be uplifting at the same time. "1979" and "33" are my two favorite ballads; and for guitar assault I'll take "Tales of a Scorched Earth", "Zero", "X.Y.U.", and "Where Boys Fear to Tread". I'll even take Billy Corgan's whining; he's the coolest nerd in the history of Rock and Roll.
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