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4.52 | 30 ratings | 1 review
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Album · 1995


Disc one – Dawn to Dusk

1. Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness (2:52)
2. Tonight, Tonight (4:14)
3. Jellybelly (3:01)
4. Zero (2:41)
5. Here Is No Why (3:45)
6. Bullet with Butterfly Wings (4:18)
7. To Forgive (4:17)
8. Fuck You (An Ode to No One) (4:51)
9. Love (4:21)
10. Cupid de Locke (2:50)
11. Galapogos (4:47)
12. Muzzle (3:44)
13. Porcelina of the Vast Oceans (9:21)
14. Take Me Down (2:52)

Disc two – Twilight to Starlight

1. Where Boys Fear to Tread (4:22)
2. Bodies (4:12)
3. Thirty-Three (4:10)
4. In the Arms of Sleep (4:12)
5. 1979 (4:25)
6. Tales of a Scorched Earth (3:46)
7. Thru the Eyes of Ruby (7:38)
8. Stumbleine (2:54)
9. X.Y.U. (7:07)
10. We Only Come Out at Night (4:05)
11. Beautiful (4:18)
12. Lily (My One and Only) (3:31)
13. By Starlight (4:48)
14. Farewell and Goodnight (4:22)

Total time: 121:39


- Jimmy Chamberlin / drums, vocals on "Farewell and Goodnight"
- Billy Corgan / lead vocals, lead guitar, piano, production, mixing, string arrangement on "Tonight, Tonight", art direction and design
- James Iha / rhythm guitar; backing vocals, mixing, and additional production on "Take Me Down" and "Farewell and Goodnight"
- D'arcy Wretzky / bass guitar, vocals on "Beautiful" and "Farewell and Goodnight"

Additional musicians

Chicago Symphony Orchestra – orchestra in "Tonight, Tonight"
Greg Leisz – pedal and lap steel guitar on "Take Me Down"
Carrie Shiner - keyboards, backing vocals[citation needed]

Technical staff

Roger Carpenter – technical assistance
John Craig – illustration
Flood – production, mixer
Andrea Giacobbe – photograph
Barry Goldberg – additional vocal recording, mixing assistance
Adam Green – technical assistance
Dave Kresl – string recording assistance
Tim "Gooch" Lougee – technical assistance
Guitar Dave Mannet – technical assistance
Jeff Moleski – technical assistance
Alan Moulder – production, mixer
Frank Olinsky – art direction and design
Claudine Pontier – recording assistance
Audrey Riley – string arrangement on "Tonight, Tonight"
Chris Shepard – recording
Russ Spice – technical assistance
Howie Weinberg – mastering

About this release

October 24, 1995. Virgin records

Thanks to colt for the addition and Unitron for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

One of the best traits Billy Corgan has always had as a songwriter is that he’s incredibly skilled at making mountains out of molehills. Much like Bruce Springsteen, he has the ability to take the mundane and transform it into the most grand and sweeping thing you’ve ever heard. Back in the 90s, he took the genre of alternative rock and injected it with a sense of artistry and grace that immediately set The Smashing Pumpkins apart from the majority of their grungy, down-to-earth peers. And let’s be clear here: it’s not like the band were strangers to grunge or alternative metal themselves. Songs like “Cherub Rock,” “Zero,” and “Quiet” are all infused with a murky, dirty tone and downtuned guitar work that act as a piledriver to the ears. However, as pretentious as Corgan might have been (let’s be fair here, he was… and still is), he knew that adding a heightened level of grandeur to his chosen genre would make his band stand out. Gish and Siamese Dream were already building up to the peak of this evolution, especially the latter which would become known as a classic in its own right. And even through the group’s inner turmoil, the classic lineup remained (Billy Corgan, Jimmy Chamberlain, James Iha, and D’arcy Wretzky) to cut their second - and arguably their final - classic. But back then, was anybody really prepared for a full-blown 2-hour double disc by these guys?

I’d imagine not. Even as double albums go, 2 straight hours is a lot to ask of someone’s time - especially when hearing Billy Corgan’s nasally whine throughout that duration. So it’s quite astonishing, then, that nearly every moment has an important place in Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. Granted, it should probably go without saying that - with a duration as long as this - there’s really no stone left unturned. Alternative rock, progressive rock, symphonic rock, art rock, shoegaze, psychedelia, grunge, and heavy metal are all fairly represented at different times, altogether sculpting one of the most eclectic works of the 90s. But the artistic growth of the band (or more specifically, Billy Corgan, considering he wrote the vast majority of the record) doesn’t stop there. Much like a play or a film laced with intermissions, Mellon Collie is separated by two different acts: Dawn to Dusk and Twilight to Starlight. A number of songs play into this concept as well, such as “We Only Come Out at Night” naturally appearing in the second disc to represent the twilight or the beautiful piano-driven opening title track lifting the figurative curtains to signify the coming of dawn. As for the lyrics themselves, each song acts as a specific little vignette or a small puzzle piece; this isn’t really a concept album in the traditional sense (there’s no actual arc or storyline), but rather a grand jigsaw puzzle composed of miniature stories that correlate in some way to their respective discs.

As such, the relationship between tension and release is one of the biggest draws of Mellon Collie. Because of the wildly varying dynamics, the album constantly goes back and forth with its bipolar nature like a seesaw as it traverses through every facet of the band’s experimental tendencies. “Porcelina of the Vast Oceans” and “Thru the Eyes of Ruby” like to swell and build their dynamics to satisfying conclusions in a progressive rock fashion, while tunes like “Tales of a Scorched Earth” and “X.Y.U.” present the band in its ugliest form with pummeling metal riffs and furious blasts of guitar feedback. Likewise, there are plenty of delicate ballads that help mitigate the intensity of the propulsive rockers, as one might expect on such a long-winded journey. Notably, two of these are the only songs not written by Billy Corgan himself: guitarist James Iha wrote the album’s closers, “Take Me Down” and “Farewell and Goodnight,” both of which close out their respective sides in a serene manner. But that’s not to say they’re the best ballads on offer; in my mind, the gorgeously layered dream pop number “By Starlight” easily wins in that regard. “Cupid De Locke” is another highlight, using unorthodox percussion in the form of saltshakers to propel its easygoing rhythms and flighty tempo. As I mentioned before, tension and release is what makes Mellon Collie so consistently fun to listen to. It’s all about the different yins and yangs of volume and style, all countering each other in fresh new ways. If you want the best showing of this, listen to “X.Y.U.” and “We Only Come Out at Night,” which play back-to-back and yet contrast each other in every way. The former is a brutal Melvins-esque jab of sludgy alternative metal, and the latter is a quaint ballad with a light swing rhythm. How the latter follows up the former so well, I’ll never know.

I’ll be completely blunt about this: I’m not normally a fan of double albums. With so much content to pack into one recording, it almost seems like a guarantee that you’ll encounter something that should have stayed on the cutting room floor. It’s a problem that’s plagued quite a few albums in the past, including (in my opinion, at least) The Beatles’ self-titled White Album and Genesis’ The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway. This is the way I see things: if you’re going to stuff your record with more than one disc full of material, you’d better make sure to bring your A-game and take special care in every track to make sure it has a purpose. There might be a few weaker cuts on Mellon Collie (“Love” and “Beautiful” come to mind), but there was never a time that I thought they actually crippled the album in any severe way. Considering this is a 28-track record with 121 minutes to its runtime, it’s insane to think that even the throwaways are still as well-written as they are. If you gave “Love” and “Beautiful” to an album from a lower-tier alternative rock band from that era, they might have been considered highlights; think about that.

There was once a time when I thought Siamese Dream was The Smashing Pumpkins’ true peak, with Mellon Collie at a close second. However, that opinion has been slowly reversing with the passage of time. The more time I’ve given this album to grow and cultivate in my eardrums, the more its phenomenal consistency and emotional potency have also grown. Moreover, Mellon Collie just feels important. Alternative rock needed something this grandiose and diverse, whether the practitioners or listeners of the genre wanted to dispute that or not. Such a fully-realized masterwork only comes around once in a lifetime, and you’d be wise to lend an ear to its timeless tunes if you haven’t already.

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