Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness

4MellonCollieHighResWhere do I begin with Mellon Collie and the Infinite? Also what better way to celebrate Music, Movies, General Life and Such’s first anniversary than with a review than with a review of one of the defining albums of my life? I hope to come to you with the answer to both of these difficult conundrums. In the height of the Smashing Pumpkins glory days, hot off the heels of 1993’s Siamese Dream and the surprise success of the Pisces Iscariot mix-tape, the band dropped a behemoth double-album that amped up the scale of the groups, already huge, output. Mellon Collie, spanning across 28 tracks, was an album that not only set the bands career as one of grunge rocks pioneering sound in stone but also gave the world one of, simply, the greatest albums of all time and one that is still to this day underrated.

The records detractors would have that the Pumpkins were always a band whose ambitions was to be a stadium band and for that reason that this album, and all its predecessors, think they’re greater than they actually are. While it would be impossible to argue there’s a slight arrogance in the whole of the Pumpkins aura and that it shines through especially in Mellon Collie, it’s actually quite unfair to claim that said arrogance is misplaced. While the SP’s remain a band that sit just underneath the radar of the mainstream they cannot be denied as one of the most influential groups of all time. This record is a glowing example of a band at their peak of their, musical, song-writing and performing abilities, a group completely unafraid of just doing what they want. It rises and drops as record, flowing from the heaviest rock of any Pumpkins record to the calmest and most minimalistic music the band has ever recorded. Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness really is one of the most diverse albums out there. And despite the records arrogance what also comes trough is a sensitive honesty on display of a band really wearing their hearts on their sleeves emotionally as well as musically through this collection of songs. For every, ‘I don’t need your love to disco dance’ there is a ‘Forgotten and absorbed into the Earth below’ to counteract it. And its clear to see that, as well as, wanting to show off they were also releasing a part of their lives.

The answer, then, to my first question at the beginning of this review is that it’s near impossible to know where to start when looking at this beast of an album. But the reason for that is that there’s so much great stuff about it while you try to explain you end up getting up in another. Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness could well be, for me, the most perfectly complete album in the world. It remains, and will always remain, a record that I will never stop listening to regularly and will never stop loving.

P.S. In answer to my second question, no.

 

Pisces Iscariot

Smashing_Pumpkins_-_Pisces_Iscariot_-_frontMy next Pumpkins review takes me to the unusual grounds of Pisces Iscariot. The album that isn’t really an album. Pisces Iscariot was actually just a mix tape of some b-sides and covers and things that was put together for the die hard fans at the time. But the record ended up earning platinum status. When listening to the album its not hard to figure out why. It was made during the bands prime, released in between their two biggest and best albums and captured more of the magic of a band who, in my opinion, are on of the greatest of all time.

The album never feels as though it’s a collection of songs, it holds its own sounds like an album that was made to be an album. It features a number of favourite tracks the Pumpkins have ever done. A Girl Named Sandoz is a cover but has become one of my favourite Pumpkins tracks, also their cover of Fleetwood Mac’s Landslide gives the original a run for its money. In terms of original material on the record the versatility of the tracks go some way to showing you how diverse a band the Pumpkins were flowing from the calming Soothe into the distorted grunge of Frail and Bedazzled is just the beginning of an unpredictable collection none of which disappoints.

The 2012 re-release and re-master of the album has come under a bit of criticism as there apparently some sound quality issues on some of the tracks, to my untrained ears I didn’t notice anything though to be honest. And with the box set you are also treated to a DVD of the groups first ever TV performance which includes a  number of early tracks I’d never heard before and are actually awesome. Overall Pisces Iscariot is very close to being my favourite Pumpkins record there is, an amazing achievement for a mix tape.