The genius of Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness is its sheer scope. It establishes the Pumpkins as a genre in their own right and, thus is like no other album. The name of the album and tracks and the sleeve artwork set the tone for what I've always considered a melodrama in musical form. The songs deal with love, despair and anger in equal measures, whilst there are enough life-affirming moments ("you're not same you're different tonight/and you can make it last forever") to ensure that not everything is doom and gloom.
By and large however, Mellon Collie is a dark album - either it breaks your heart - e.g. the beautiful Stumbleine or desparate In the Arms of Sleep; or it tears it out in a maelstrom of raging distortion (this album is at times the sonic representation of the brutality of warfare) - e.g. Tales of a Scorched Earth or XYU - sometimes it does both at the same time - e.g. Bodies.
The lyrics are some of the greatest ever to have been written, proof of that fact evident in the evocative 1979, Muzzle and Thirty three - there's even some dark humour in the quirky Lily (my one and only) Incidentally, I've read a lot of reviews that regard the first disc to be superior to the second. In my opinion this is not the case - Bodies, Thirty-three, Arms of sleep, 1979 - and I could go on - combined with the subtle Beautiful and delicate Farewell and Goodnight make Twighlight to Starlight a superb album in its own right.
If you like intelligent, skillfully performed rock, Mellon Collie is for you. It is music for the soul, an album that transports you to its own world and sets you adrift in a sea of raw emotion. Buy it now, avail yourself of everything else the Pumpkins have produced, and keep an eye out for Billy Corgan's new solo album in the hopefully not too distant future.