Smashing Pumpkins: an appropriate fall activity. Also a band that I listened to today. I have Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness (how depressing) which is a two disc set. I listened to Dawn to Dusk yesterday and Twilight to Starlight today. Long album, long blog. Get comfy.
Track 1: Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. Piano. Lots of piano. After a minute, some strings pick up. I hate to hate this song, since it is the first one on the album and also the TITLE of the album, but I am getting a little bored. I really keep waiting for Elton John to start belting out Piano Man or that song about the yellow rose. Maybe if I was in a gloomy mood I would appreciate it more. But it is drizzly, overcast and gray outside, I think if I was going to like this song, it would be now. Sorry, Pumpkins.
I get to Jellybean… don’t like it. Just seems like a bunch of noise. Bullet with Butterfly Wings is up next. I remember seeing this video on MTV, all of the muddy people trying to climb out of the hole in the rain. I only remembered that “rat in a cage bit” and I wanted to know more about who these Smashing Pumpkins were! If google would have been around, I would have just googled the lyrics to see their owner. But, alas, I had to do my detective work the old fashioned way, by asking my cooler friends. Bullet is my favorite track of the entire 28 song set, and it skips! This is only the beginning of the skipping. The next two songs are unlistenable to and every song after is interrupted over and over by the repetition of the same word or phrase. I am forced to skip ahead, which is a real bummer because they sounded like winners.
Tonight, Tonight! Who doesn’t love this song? This is one of those songs that I only know one word to (which is, uh, “tonight”), and then just make up “musical sounds” (whining or gruntint) to the rest of it. I also really liked Love. It seems ahead of its time. It is something that would fit in well with the music of today. On the other hand, Take Me Down sounds like it belongs in the 70’s, right next to that Age of Aquarius song. This ends disc one.
Let’s talk about the Album insert for a bit, shall we? I understand that the band needs to be all cool and edgy and randomly weird, but really? We have rabbits playing baseball with an audience entirely made up of babies, rats and rabbits smoking a bong (A note to my mother: I can only assume it is a bong, having never smoked one nor even held one for that matter…look at this face? Would I lie?), two little kids in a field, one holding a heart and the other a sheep, and two cats getting married, complete with wedding gown and tux. Anyone else notice a weird animal-with-human-traits theme happening?
One thing I LOVE about this CD set? The awesome little lyric booklet inside. The outside cover has a nice, old papery feel and each page contains one set of lyrics, set in the middle with a picture to one side. They are easy to read and aesthetically pleasing. While these so-called perks may seem hum drum to you, after trying to read the romanticized fonts or scraggly handwriting (or worse… nothing at all!) of other bands, a clear and concise set of words are greatly appreciated. Now I can learn more than one word to Tonight.
Disc two: Billy Corgan has such a whiney, distinctive voice, you could pick him out of a whole choir of radom people. With other artists, this may lead to all of the songs sort of blending into each other and sounding the same, but with the Pumpkins each song is unique. The best part of their songs is the instruments in the background. The strings, the drums, the arrangements. They are really quite good. Though after back to back to back 28 songs, Corgan’s voice does start to take a toll on your nerves.
1979! Another song I love but only know one word too! Well, really two words. Wait – does seventy-nine count as one word or two? Pending verification, I might know three words. I read the lyrics… kind of… haunting. Stumbleine is good, very mellow. We Only Come Out At Night would fit well on the Twilight soundtracks, not only does the musical element line up with others like Muse on the soundtracks, but the words are pretty perfect for vampires, as the title would suggest.
I like the second disc more than the first. It’s a little more mellow. Where’s that Pineapple Express, James? My favorite song on this CD is called Lily. It really cracked me up. The sound is a little circus-y and fun. Check out the lyrics here.
Some random SP facts:
This album was certified nine times platinum and is the best selling album of that decade.
In 96, a fan (17 year old Bernadette O’Brien) was crushed to death in a moshing pit at their concert.
Here is an excerpt from another site “ The band suffered a personal tragedy on the night of July 11, 1996, when touring keyboardist Jonathan Melvoin and Chamberlin overdosed on heroin in a hotel room in New York City. Melvoin died, and Chamberlin was arrested for drug possession. A few days later, the band announced that Chamberlin had been fired as a result of the incident. (They then toured with a new member). Corgan later said the decision to continue touring was the worst the band had ever made, damaging both their music and their reputation.”
The band split up in 2003 (?) from lack of sales, drugs and fighting. Later, Corgan and Chamberlain briefly reunited, but went their separate ways before too long.
In honor if this album, I will be smashing our carved JackOLantern this evening.
I’ve been using my tape recorder as a staple source for this blog, since I am mostly in the car while listened to the CDs. I talk into the little silver box while driving with me left hand, pretending to be very Carrie Bradshaw-esque. “I couldn’t help but wonder…” do the other drivers at traffic lights think I am crazy? Or worse, do they think I am some kind of a crazed secretary? Or a stalker? Better don my sunglasses and put down my camera, just in case.
“Corner of fifth and Broadway. Subject is approaching Brookshire’s in a blue Toyota Matrix. Subject unsuspecting of me. Subject crosses intersection while… abort! Abort! Subject made aware of my position! ABORT MISSION!!!”