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4.7 out of 5 stars
Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on 3 March 2004
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.
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
on 28 June 2005
This has become a very personal album to me. I can remember the day i bought it and coming home and playing it for the first time and being blown away. I'd never heard an album like it and i don't think i have since.
The first song (the title track)is a gorgeous opener and will seduce you right away with its beautiful piano melody. It's then followed by tonight, tonight, again a beautiful song and then just as you've started getting comfortable you're greeted with the crushing heaviness of the opening riff from jellybelly.Of course Corgan never just relies on heavy riffage alone, the chorus in jellybelly (particularly the last one) soars and confirms what a brilliant and ambitious songwriter he is. Probably the best of his generation at the time he wrote this album.
This whole album is about balance, for every hard riff there is a beautiful melody. There is so much depth to this album, no emotion seems to be left out and it really is a journey of many ups and downs. I personally love the way that at the end of the album as the dying chords of the last song begin to melt away you hear a similar piano melody to the one at the beginning of the album so that you feel you've come full circle, only this time you have this whole journey behind you, and all the emotions you have felt from listening to these songs, from this journey. Somehow it all sounds different now.
This is truly an album, rather than a collection of songs. Although each song is individually enjoyable it is the overall impression this album leaves you with. Every track is very different, varying in pace, style and sound and yet there seems to be a common thread that links them all. a common message. what that is I dont know. The only think i can link it to is life itself, all the different moods and the journey that this album seems to evoke only to end up at the beginning again. but thats just me. I get the feeling that billy corgan would want this album to mean something specific to whoever hears it as i'm sure it all means something specific to him.
I love this album and it astounds me everytime i think about it and everytime i hear it. This is what music is supposed to do, tap into your soul and make you feel something beautiful inside of yourself, something thats too wonderul to describe in this review but i hope i have at least given you a glimpse.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on 29 April 2000
This is one of the greatest albums of the 90s and only a couple of others come close. When this was released, the UK was in the middle of the Britpop explosion and this album was entirely out of step with the current scene. Despite the grunge origins of the band, this is closer in spirit to Black Sabbath or even early Genesis (check out the ultra-prog artwork and the title track) than to Nirvana, though there are plenty of trashy tracks in there.
The reason this is a masterpiece is because it is so multidimensional. On first listen it is a sprawling confusing mess and it took me many listens to appreciate exactly how good it is. In fact every time you play it you notice something new and interesting. How many albums can you say that about?
This album has everything - delicacy (the title track), full on metal attack (Jellybelly, XYU), rock (Tonight, Tonight), prog rock (Porcelina of the Vast Oceans, Thru the eyes of Ruby) and even Beatles style pop (Lily). Smashing Pumpkins' White Album? - oh yes.
The sad thing is how few bands have been inspired by this album to make innovative, risk taking music of their own. Perhaps only Radiohead come close to making this kind of adventurous rock music these days.
All the other Pumpkins albums are worth getting. The most accessible one is probably Siamese Dream, though Adore is underrated and excellent in an entirely different way to this.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on 27 August 2000
MCIS is one of the finer works of rock. It's a double CD album, and in every respects could (should?) be two seperate albums.
The first CD is the most immediatly accesible of the two. It contains a good mix of heavy rock (Jellybelly, Zero, Bullet with Butterfly Wings), a couple of beautifully mellow tracks (To Forgive, Cupid de locke, Porcelina) and some great rock tracks (Here is no why, galapogos and my fav Muzzle). Overall this CD has great balace, and most people just love it.
The second CD (titled Twilight to Starlight) is slightly different. Maybe it got overwhelmed by the first CD, but I didn't like this CD until recently, when I gave it a good listening. It is actually very, very, very good. The tracks Bodies, 33, 1979, thru the eyes of ruby, stumbleine and by starlight are all top draw, but the real gem is the last - Farewell and Goodnight. This is a great track, all the band sing on it.. it's really a great farewell track.. If you like the Pumpkins, this album is a must-have. You may not like the second CD at first - but give it time, and you'll realise the beauty of it.
Suggestion #1- Buy Adore if you like the second CD (it's not as lound or passionate as other Pumpkins work, but it's beautiful in other ways).
Suggestion #2 - If you havent got it yet, get Siamese Dream, you _won't_ regret it...
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
I adore Mellon Collie. It's utterly bonkers, especially in today's sanitised modern download age. The Smashing Pumpkins' finest hour, Mellon Collie shows the talent of Billy Corgan at it's creative peak, churning out brilliant alternative rock songs for fun. Most of the Pumpkins' classics are to be found on this album, showcasing their vast range of stylistic talents. "Bullet With Butterfly Wings", "Tonight, Tonight", "Jellybelly", "Zero", "Bodies", "1979", "Stumbleine", "Here is No Why" all of them are crammed onto the two discs of Mellon Collie.

It's 28 tracks aren't all perfect, as you'd have to expect with an album of this size. If anything, this adds to the character of the album. There isn't much filler, but what filler there is generally showcases over-ambition, a character trait that is rare in today's rock scene (or the entire music world in my opinion.) Personally, I find the second disc (Twilight to Starlight) to be marginally stronger than the first, feeling more focused but the more famous songs, by and large are to be found on disc one (Dawn to Dusk).

Albums like this prove the naysayers that the 90's were a Limp Bizkit filled dirge, awash with boybands, girlbands and shiny, autotuned pop. Along with Nirvana's "Nevermind", "Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness" is the joint finest rock album of the 1990's and one of the very greatest ever produced. It's ambition should be applauded, the guts of including acoustic ballads alongside piano led instrumentals to fit around the blistering riff driven rock. The artwork and inserts are beautifully unique in their softly painted style, as is the designs adorning each disc.

Perhaps when those who decide trends set upon a nineties revival, this album will be elevated to the status it deserves. It should be in the top ten of any magazine or website's best album lists. Sadly I've yet to see it mentioned. Embrace ambition, embrace talent at it's most precocious, bombastic and gutsy. Buy and love Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on 6 August 2001
I stumbled across the Smashing Pumpkins. I was at Reading Festival in 1995 the year that this album was released. Seeing a band live without knowing a single bar of any song has the potential to be taxing but I was amazed by them
I brought this CD on my return and it has not been far from my CD player since over the next six years. I have since added just about every song they have ever released but this double album stands out for me as defining what makes them what they are....and that is impossible to label !
It is impossible to pin the Smashing Pumpkins down and this album shows why. The range of songs is incredible. From the twinkling piano that opens the album into the soaring "Tonight Tonight" complete with string orchestra you are off and running on a musical journey that will include just about anything.
To comment on every song becomes impossible. The contradictions and ironies abound - every song is so different yet each compliments the next so perfectly. Huge choruses as in "Here is no why", powerful guitars in "Zero", haunting melodies in "To Forgive", you live each track, almost impossible to pick a favourite or to skip a track.
Where I disagree slightly with some of the other reviews is over the second CD. While some feel it is not as strong, I think it is if anything even stronger.
The tracks "Bodies" which will unfortunately leaving you singing "love is suicide", "33" , In the arms of sleep" and "1979" follow, one gem after the other. Again all are so different, with "33" and in the arms of sleep" combining beautiful lyrics and haunting vocals into simply wonderful songs, while 1979 is as close as the Pumpkins come to writing a pop song !
After those four your mellowness is blown away by a beast of a track "Tales of a scorched earth" which sounds as angry and desparate as anything I've heard.
The album never settles into a rut or a pattern. The waves roll you on through the whimsical "We only come out at night" to the touching and aptly named "Beautiful".
Into the close of the album you can start to relax....."Lily", "By Starlight" and "Farewell and Goodnight" wind down the album, being as far removed from some of the hard rock songs as you could imagine.
Corgan was called many unpleasant things for putting out an album with 28 songs that stretch over two hours. Quite simply though there is no such thing as a filler on this, from track one to track 28 you will be delighted.
If you want a place to start with the Pumpkins I suggest this.....then if you prefer the melodies head in Adore's direction.....if you prefer the rock head for Siamese Dream and Machina. You like all of it as I do and you'll buy the lot !
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 11 September 2003
For anyone who is a long timne rock fan, or if you are just getting into rock music, The Smashing Pumpkins have got to be one of the most influential bands ever! If not THE influential band of 90's rock.
This album leaves no stoine unturned, experimenting with many of the rock genres, from "Tonight Tonight", to "Zero", from "Bullet With Butterfly Wings" to "1979", this album portrays a side to Corgan and his band that runs in parallel to the songs in The Joshua Tree by U2.
There are insights into pretty much everything in this album, and Corgan's amazing sense of tone and musical writing is equalled only by his amazing lyrics. The sensational guitar of James Iha, complements his rhythm section, and the absolutely awe inspiring percussion provided by quite frankly one of the best drummers in the world Jimmy Chamberlain provides an exhillerating way to listen to music. The bass lines however are extremely unimpressive, and leavde no impression, but they do thier job and some songs such as 1979 would feel thin without them.
This album has got to be one of the best albums ever written, not just because of its scale, but because of the amazing melody that will blast from your speakers. It is truly an amazing album.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 29 August 2002
From the hauntingly beautiful opening instrumental title track to the gentle fadings of Take Me Down, I hardly dared to breathe listening to the first CD. For about a month and a half it was not out of my CD player, and the great thing is, every time I listened to it, I noticed another song that inevitably roared into my playlists. So good was the first CD, I was afraid to tarnish it by daring to try the second. I did, and although not as good (imo) as the first, it certainly grows on you. Sure, people say Corgan sounds like a whining vermin, but the sheer range of musical styles, genres and sounds explored in this album ensure that there certainly is at least something for everyone. Sure, you may not love the whole, but if you don't buy it, at least borrow it long enough to catch the fever. "If anyone doesn't find at least something to love on this album, they either have a problem with the essential elements of rock and roll, or cloth ears."
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 28 September 2001
Gish was an accomplished debut. Siamese Dream was a masterclass in guitar riffs, intriguing lyrics and rock-out moments. Mellon Collie is simply outstanding as an all-round musical rollercoaster of styles, tempo and emotions, and for me is the best album released in the 1990's. For over two hours, the Pumpkins put their hearts on their sleaves and play some of the most visceral and contrasting songs that have ever been heard. A lot has been said of the contrast between the two parts of the album, with the first 14 tracks, "Dawn to dusk" gaining the plaudits over the latter half, "Twilight to starlight". And for sure, each half has its own character, but the album must be appreciated as a whole to understand why it is placed in such esteem. The album mixes styles, both musically and lyrically, from great heavy rock songs such as "Zero" and "Bodies" to melodic rock/pop tunes like the immortal "1979", right through to (gasp at the thought) the odd love song and acoustic masterpiece (think "33" and "Beautiful"). The only bad track on the album is the pathetic "Take me down" (track 14), which I think was a sympathy vote to putting some James Iha material on the album. The real magic lies in the mere 27 tracks which surround it, collectively encapsulating everything that made you enjoy good music in the first place.
Mellon Collie is a must in any music lovers collection. To me it is the best single collection of music ever made. Others may enjoy some songs, but not others. But I will guarantee that among those 28 tracks, there will be more than enough to keep anyone who has a soul and a heart mesmerised while the Pumpkins do what they did best - pure, rasping, emotional music.
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
"Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness" avoids the pitfalls of many double albums -- too much filler, too few good songs, not enough of the good stuff. Instead, this is in the spirit of the Beatles' "White Album" or Pink Floyd's "The Wall." Billy Corgan's tight writing and the Smashing Pumpkins's brilliant instrumentation make this sweeping double album a must-have.
The first disc, "Dawn to Dusk," builds up slowly with a mournful piano song, only to bounce into the sweeping "Tonight Tonight." Forming the rest are sizzling rockers ("Jellybelly," "Zero"), sparkling softer songs ("Cupid De Locke"), and quiet alt-rock ("Galapagos") and a few songs that stray into unknown musical turf (the sweeping ten minute "Porcelina of the Vast Oceans"). "Take Me Down" ends the first disc on the same quiet note that it began on.
Second disc "Twilight To Starlight" starts off on a very different foot. Jerky guitar riffs and drumming start off, sounding like a warm up, before exploding into the solid "Where Boys Fear To Tread." Having gotten that over with, Corgan and Co. switch into a somewhat quieter collection: gentle acoustics ("Thirty-Three," "Stumbleine," the sweet "In the Arms of Sleep"), catchy alt-rock (new-wavey "1979," "Thru The Eyes of Ruby"), blistering hard rock ("Tales of a Scorched Earth," "XYU"). The gentle "Farewell and Goodnight" rounds off the double album on a quiet note.
"Mellon Collie" has just about every kind of music you can hope to find -- ballads, prog, metal, alt-rock, and so on. A handful of songs feel superfluous, but the vast majority of them just feel like a musical quilt. That is, two musical quilts. The tone of each disc is quite different, with "Dawn to Dusk" being a rockier album more in tune with the past Pumpkins releases. "Twilight To Starlight" has a more experimental, sad feel.
Billy Corgan's reedy voice weaves seamlessly into the complex music, singing songs about loneliness, pessimism and longing for love. His songwriting is exceptional here ("breathing under water, and living under glass..."); his style is best described as poetry set to music. James Iha also dips into songwriting with "Take Me Down" and cowritten "Farewell and Goodnight." Guitar riffs both furious and gentle, sweeping strings, piano, Chamberlin's percussion and D'arcy's good bass work move up and down the scale, from soft to scathing.
With its epic music and tight lyrics, "Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness" is madly brilliant and among the best work that the Smashing Pumpkins did. Dark, sweet, sad, and angry, this is a modern classic.
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