Tag Archives: smashing

Smashing Pumpkins – Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness

13 Feb

mellon-collie

After the release of their highly successful album and groundbreaking album Siamese Dream, the Smashing Pumpkins were on a roll musically, and decided that rehashing the same album wouldn’t cut it, and decided to expand their sound even more. Not only would the album feature a wider array of styles, but would be a monster sized double album with 28 tracks. After another string of hits, this album became another commercial success, being awarded with the Diamond Certification of 10 million copies shipped. Though technically it really only sold 5 million, as the RIAA counts both discs individually, a bit unfair. The success of this album gave us some more songs that are considered not only classic Smashing Pumpkins songs, but also considered classic rock, with some songs still considered radio staples. “Bullet with Butterfly Wings”, “1979”, and “Tonight Tonight” are still heard on today’s radio.

Even though Mellon Collie is a solid album with many great songs, it does have the problem many double albums have. It’s really long. With 28 tracks and two hours worth of music, to sit through its entirety is definitely reserved for someone who either has the patience, or for really long car rides. So it’s best that one listens to each disc separately. The album does have a focus on having a wide arrange of styles, and you can tell just by listening to the first three tracks that this album shows diversity. The first track, the title track, is a solo piano instrumental, then moves into the “Tonight Tonight” which features a string orchestra, and Jellybelly is an alternative metal track. There are a few songs that are psychedelic and dreamy, reminiscent of their Siamese Dream era, so coming from Siamese Dream, it won’t scare you away. There are also a couple songs that have aspects of electronic rock seeping in, with electronic drums, but the one that really shows the electronic aspect is their famous hit 1979.

Even though the album does focus on a variety of sounds, a good portion of the album does tend to fall under the typical 90’s style heavy alternative rock/alternative metal. Thanks to these types of songs, it causes the confusion for others that make them think the Pumpkins are a grunge band, especially with the Bullet With Butterfly Wings having the similar dynamic changes like Nirvana. Also with these songs, it does add some stability to the album, as sometimes having too much diversity can detract listeners, and feel either disjointed, or chaotic. It definitely tries to find a balance between being a heavily disjointed album, and from having all the songs sound too similar, as that can also be a drag for listeners.

Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness is definitely a monstrous album, and is definitely not short-changed in content. With its diversity, there is guarantee to find a track that will appeal to you. Though with its 28 songs and two hour run time, listening to its entirety is definitely not for the feint of heart.

rating 5/5

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Smashing Pumpkins – Siamese Dream

13 Apr

SMASHING PUMPKINS – SIAMESE DREAM

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Over the years, famous bands from the “Alternative Nation” like Tool, Soundgarden, Nirvana, and Pearl Jam have made their mark on rock history and have influenced many bands and created several copycat bands trying to emulate on their sound. It’s been over 20 years since the Smashing Pumpkins have started and yet, they are still in a realm of their own. Siamese Dream stands as an album unique from their contemporaries.This uniqueness is partially due to singer/guitarist Billy Corgan’s quirky voice, but it also has to do with their unique sound that combines several genres into a sound that clearly states “Smashing Pumpkins”. The fuzzy guitar sounds draws clear inspiration from Shoegaze music with Corgan deliberately choosing  Alan Moulder to mix the album after hearing his famed work mixing the Shoegaze masterpiece Loveless by My Bloody Valentine. Many of the softer sounds also draw clear influences from Dream Pop which is, in many ways, a  sort of “sister genre” to Shoegaze. The Pumpkins don’t just stop there to emulate their dreamy shoegazy heroes, they decide to change the game by adding in aspects of Classic Rock, Heavy Metal, and even  elements of Progressive Rock. This mashup creates sounds that make the journey through Siamese Dream quite a unique journey. With the guitar driven opener of Cherub Rock, to the dreamy relaxing melotron filled song of Luna, this is truly a journey no other band could make.The interesting combination of genres isn’t the only thing that makes this album stand out, the production quality is, to say the least, a landmark of its own. This album can be considered an “overdub masterpiece” with songs like Soma incorporating up to 40 overdubbed guitar parts. This gives songs like Geek USA an even heavier edge, and makes the dreamy sequences of Soma even more luscious.

Geek USA could be considered the centerpiece of the album. It incorporates everything that makes this album unique, from the strange mixture of genres, heavy guitar overdubs, and Jimmy Chamberlin’s fantastic drumming. It starts off as your typical fast rock piece that draws heavy inspiration from metal, but then in the bridge it goes through sort of a genre shift. It’s like they’re having you a slight relaxation in the song. Gone are the heavy guitars and now it’s become a psychedelic dream sequence. After they had you relax in the middle of the song, they bring back the heavy guitars and build up the intensity and finally explodes back to its original tempo with Corgan’s guitar solo that many consider his best.

All in all, Siamese Dream is an album that has stood the test of time with no copycat rivals to make it look cliche like all the Nirvana and Pearl Jam copycats.

Grungie’s rating: 5/5