While looking for music to review this week, I noticed one of my favorite albums had been re-issued back in December. It was an instant nostalgic moment for me because the double disc Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness was one of the first albums I ever bought. I also remember having a poster of The Smashing Pumpkins from their “Tonight, Tonight” video that really freaked out my best friend and that always strangely amused me.
I also remember being about 10 years old and was anxious to discover music on my own instead of only listening to what my parents or brother were pushing on me. How does a 10-year-old stumble upon The Smashing Pumpkins? By watching music videos on MTV (It’s true! They used to play videos!) and being captivated by the theatrics of the “Tonight, Tonight” video. The orchestra, the Titanic meets Aliens story line to the video and, most memorably, Billy Corgan himself. I was immediately drawn to that voice and to this day I still cannot find the right words to describe his sound. And then those haunting last words, “Believe in me as I believe in you,” still gives me chills.
I convinced my dad to take me to the music store where my aunt worked so that I could get this album. I remember the strange looks I got after picking it out, but I didn’t care. I remember being stunned to see a double disc CD case (ah how naive I was) and the excitement I felt to finally have it. Little did I know that this album would be one of the reasons I fell in love with music.
I may not have fully understood all the content of that album at my young age, but it would be an album that I would continue to listen to as I grew up. Those awkward and angst filled teen years had “Bullet with Butterfly Wings” as a soundtrack. “Despite all my rage I am still just a rat in a cage,” what angry teenager couldn’t relate to that? The driving guitars, the pounding drums, that song was full of all that bitter emotion that allowed me to have an escape from the outside world. The album also had a softer side for me.
I met someone who also loved The Smashing Pumpkins as much as I did and some of the songs on Mellon Collie became even more meaningful. There’s a song on the second disc called “Beautiful” that he said reminded him of me. “Beautiful, you’re beautiful, as beautiful as the sun. Wonderful, you’re wonderful, as wonderful as they come.” It may sound cheesy, but for a young girl it was exactly the right thing to say. The song was a sweet and soft like a lullaby. It’s almost shocking to hear Corgan sing a song like this after hearing some of his anger in other tracks.
Later on, that same boy would take me to prom and play “By Starlight” for me in the limo. I think it was in that limo that I felt my first inkling of real love, and I was able to feel it with my favorite album in the background. It was a simple song, really not a lot to it. Corgan sings with a prominent drum, and the strumming of a guitar in the background for the majority of the song. When the track builds up, the guitars have a distorted sound that sounds like it belongs in a dream; very light and whimsical. How can something so simple mean so much?
The re-issue is a two-disc set of 64 bonus tracks that includes previously unreleased songs, demos and alternate versions of songs. It also different mixes of songs that were featured on the original album and a DVD of concert footage of two different shows playing songs from the album.
What does my review have to do with the reissue? Nothing at all, but I really enjoyed the trip down memory lane that it sparked. I liked the reissue, but nothing will compare to the original and the memories I have made with it.
Written by: Katie Sperduti