The Smashing Pumpkins
Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness


5.0
classic

Review

by mikefromPTF USER (1 Reviews)
August 10th, 2005 | 46 replies | 8,920 views


Release Date: 1995 | Tracklist


Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, released in 1995, was the peak of Smashing Pumpkins' success. It was this double album that really threw the band into the public eye, with singles like bullet with butterfly wings, tonight tonight, 1979, and zero. MCIS was also Billy Corgan's attempt at an epic, almost concept-style album, quite different than SP"s previous releases. With MCIS, the Smashing Pumpkins move away from the trebley grunge distortion of Siamese Dream and Gish and produce more dramatic, varied, and often darker tunes. The two discs are entitled Dawn To Dusk and Twilight To Starlight. Each disc has its own distinctive feel, Dawn To Dusk being more catchy and conventional, and Twilight To Starlight being more extreme and experimental. One needs an extremely wide appreciation of musical styles to enjoy this album entirely, as every song seemingly enters a different genre, revealing Corgan's masterful songwriting.

here is my song-by-song review:


Dawn To Dusk


1. Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness
smashing pumpkins had been somewhat famous for great openers; particularly openers with a bang like i am one and cherub rock. billy, however, decided to create an astonishingly different initial atmosphere with this mellow piano piece. the music itself is essentially a bunch of arpeggiated chords thrown together, but the effect is a very peaceful, somewhat sad and reflective mood that leads perfectly into tonight, tonight. the strings towards the end of the piece complement the piano very nicely. 4.5/5

2. Tonight, Tonight
arguably the best song on the album. it combines a beautiful, sweeping string arrangement with very powerful lyrics, and great dynamics, such as the intro buildup dropping softly into the first verse. billy's voice whines alot, and can be a little annoying, but otherwise, everything about this song works perfectly. the final chorus is simply beautiful, "believe in me as i believe in you...." 5/5

3. Jellybelly
this is the Smashing Pumpkins reminding us that they're still a grunge band. this song hits you with a ultra-distorted wall of sound that doesnt relent til the end. the melody in the verses and the chorus are catchy, even if the lyrics are a little weak, and the bridge, final chorus and ending have an incredibly-high energy, that makes the song. altogether a great SP hard rock song. 4.5/5

4. Zero
zero comes out of nowhere, hits you quickly and angrily, and leaves you wanting more. it's been described as "futuristic space rock" and with good reason, the main riff's harmonics create an avant garde gothic feel, along with the very strange and high-pitched solo. the lyrics are brutally honest and effective, and the "emptyness is loneliness" part in the middle is one of the greatest moments in alternative rock. altogether a very clever, edgy, innovative and catchy tune.
5/5

5. Here Is No Why
after hitting you with 4 amazing tracks, this is where is album slows down a bit. here is no why is a fairly good song, although not very memorable. the verses can get annoying, but the chorus is great, and the solo is extremely well done. lyrics are pretty good. but all-around not their strongest song. 2.7/5

6. Bullet With Butterfly Wings
bullet with butterfly wings is the most famous smashing pumpkins song of all time. it is very catchy with clever (although easily poked-fun at) angst-driven lyrics and a good melody. the verses serve as a great buildup and almost explode into the chorus. however, in my opinion, this song is a bit overrated. it can get repetitive, and simply just isn't what everyone hypes it up to be. the best part though is the chorus towards the end where everything drops out except for billy singing low and the arpeggiated guitar chords. 4/5

7. To Forgive
this is the first of a few slow, mediocre, forgettable songs that billy wrote for the album. to forgive is too long, the chorus is somewhat annoying, and the sad, lonely effect desired isnt really convincing. its a somewhat chill song to listen to, and i like the guitar tone alot on the verses, but other than that, not much going for it. 2/5

8. F*ck You (An Ode to Noone)
billy comes out of the blue with this incredibly angry, fast-paced hard rock song. the title says it all: this song makes you freaking enraged, making the song an extremely effective one. the lyrics are not 100% coherent, but often very powerful- "destroy the mind, destroy the body, but you cannot destroy the heart." by far the best part of the song is the part in the middle where it slows down, billy sings, "and i give it all back to you..", and then the song rips into screaming and an intense solo. also, jimmy chamberlin's drumming abilities can be appreciated clearly. an ode to noone is not for everyone, but if you can appreciate the style and raw emotion in the song, its one of the best on the album. 4.7/5

9. Love
a great rock song off of MCIS that is often overlooked. billy uses simple chords overloaded with low-fi, fuzzy, distorted flange effects to make this tune one of the most interesting on the album. the lyrics are somewhat uninspired, but the melody/instrumentals of both the verses and chorus make up for it. also a very original solo. i love the ending where it slows down, and ends by a couple random sputtering of instruments. 4.7/5

10. Cupid De Locke
in my opinion, the lowest point of the album. this is a corny, uninspired, boring love song. the harp effect that pervades the song is somewhat lame. if you're in the right mood, i guess it could be enjoyable, and the guitar parts aren't bad. also, i do very much like the ending where billy speaks over the music. other than that though, a very weak song. 1.5/5

11. Galapogos
galapogos begins the three-song masterpiece lineup at the end of dawn to dusk. this song is incredible, and showcases billy's talent of writing emotional, desperate music. the cymbal rolls make the song. the soft, jazzy guitar combines with great lyrics and melody. and finally, the bridge of the song, which kicks into distortion out of nowhere, is absolutely beautiful. one of the best songs on the album. 5/5

12. Muzzle
another masterpiece. this catchy rock song contains some of billy's most open and honest lyrics, with a great melody as well. i love the drum buildups throughout the song. towards the end of the song- starting at "and in my mind as i was floating..." and going to "but i knew exactly where i was" is amazing. altogether a very upbeat, coherent song with a great punch. 5/5

13. Porcelina of the Vast Oceans
last of the 3-song wonder at the end of dawn to dusk. this song starts out with a whole lot of silence and gradual buildup, then launches kind of abruptly into a full rock song. it shifts on and off from then on from chill to rock, and in both modes is very effective. the lyrics are a little difficult to hear, but the overall effect of the song is great. "and in my mind i'm eveyone.." - best part of the song. this is one of smashing pumpkins' longest songs, and it doesnt feel long for a second. 4.7/5

14. Take Me Down
for some reason, smashing pumpkins tend to end their albums with slow, unimpressive songs. this one is no exception. its written and sung entirely by james iha, and isnt bad in the least, in fact its a pretty decent song, but it feels like filler, and forgettable at that. iha's voice is a nice break, but his falsettos are better suited for backup vocals. not bad, but nothing special. 2.7/5


Twilight to Starlight


15. Where Boys Fear To Tread
this song is where SP reminds us that they know how to do an opener. it sets the tone for the rest of twilight to starlight - experimental, abstract, and honest. the song starts off with a bunch of random muted strings and scattered high notes and harmonics, and then out of the haze comes the main riff of the song- gritty, edgy and awesome. the rest of the song is great also, although the lyrics aren't entirely coherent and the chorus isn't spectacular. the ending, where the guitar stops, and the drums come in for a couple measures before the guitar finishes it off is very well done. a great hard rock song with a raw, electric feel. 4.7/5

16. Bodies
this song continues the raw effect achieved in where boys fear to tread and pushes it further. although just a very simple arrangement of power chords, the song's lyrics are unforgettable. with "love is suicide", billy crosses another boundary in terms of songwriting. the carefree construction of the song works well, as does billy's screaming, which is surprisingly enjoyable. the part where everything drops out except for billy saying love is suicide and in the background "dissect, destroy..." is great. a solid borderline-metal song that marks the smashing pumpkins' pushing of the boundaries of alternative music farther than anyone else at the time. 4.7/5

17. Thirty Three
i have mixed feelings about thirty three. i love the lyrics, and the overall effect/message of the song. however, i feel that for once, the weird effects thrown on in this song are unneccessary. it's also one of those songs that can be brilliant if you're in the mood, but boring and useless if you're not. many people believe it to be one of the best on the album, but i personally think billy can do better. must admit though that it keeps with the honest theme of twilight to starlight- the lyrics are beautiful and from the heart. 3.5/5

18. In The Arms Of Sleep
a quality acoustic ballad. in the arms of sleep has a few random instruments thrown in to make the song interesting, and although the vocals are annoying at times, the overall atmosphere created by the song is very cool. not an amazing song, but not exactly filler either. 3/5

19. 1979
the last song written for the album, 1979 is one of the best and most original tracks. the lyrics are light and carefree, and the guitar parts are chill and laid back. the song has a sort of new-wave feel aided by a synth and the effect is great. the drum machine also works really well with the song. i love the mood change in the bridge. 1979 is an amazing, upbeat, original song that is a landmark in smashing pumpkins songwriting. 5/5

20. Tales of a Scorched Earth
my opinion on this song will probably be controversial. let me say this: tales of a scorched earth is unlike any song the pumpkins had put out up to this point. billy takes the limits of alternative rock and his band's style and completely shatters them. if you can't appreciate that, then you probably loathe this song. but if you can, this is an absolutely great track. the entire vocal part is incomprehensible (and ironically, the lyrics are some of billy's best), and the guitar parts aren't anything incredible. however, the song is so furious and out-of-bounds that it becomes a very fun piece. i love the "why do the same old things keep happening?" and "so f*ck it all, cause i don't care" parts. the title is accurate: the entire song feels like it's physically on fire. like i said, you appreciate it or you don't, and i happen to enjoy this one. 4/5

21. Thru the Eyes of Ruby
okay billy, we get the point, you can stop writing incredible songs now. but seriously, this song is a great, great ride. the intro leads into the unforgettable main guitar riff (which you end up waiting for during the rest of the song). lyrics are honest and vivid if sometimes incoherent. its experimental feel succeeds and every part of the song is constructed perfectly. 5/5

22. Stumbleine
this song begins a stretch of somewhat mediocre songs towards the end of twilight to starlight. stumbleine is a decent song, and its very nice to have a track with just billy and his acoustic guitar. however, there's nothing breathtaking about it, and the vocals sound like they were done in one take. there's one point in the melody of chorus, right before he says, "i'll be your stumbleine.." with dissonance that sounds really cool. but overall, the song's nothing terribly impressive. 2.5/5

23. X.Y.U.
xyu is billy's attempt at making an epic experimental metal song. it defintely succeeds in being so... but it sounds more like an experiment than an actual song one would listen to. that being said, it's a decent song, with some intense screaming, guitar parts, and a savage solo that is a little too scattered for my liking. it's one of the raw-est tracks on the album in terms of emotion, but its random construction makes it not altogether appealing. it's the last hard rock song on the album, and i view it as a climax of power and angst. 2.5/5

24. We Only Come Out At Night
it's almost comical how different this song is from the previous song. however, similarly, this song acts as an experiment, except on the opposite end of the spectrum. we only come out at night begins the final theme of MCIS - that is, light, simple, childlike thoughts. there are some surprisingly deep lyrics, but the song can be annoying if you're not in the mood. the overall effect is that it feels like someone who was on the edge of insanity wrote the song (which is probably true), which is an amazing effect. 3/5

25. Beautiful
beautiful continues with the childlike theme. supposedly, billy wrote this one in his sleep, and indeed, the song has a very dreamy effect. although i do enjoy d'arcy and billy singing octaves together, in my opinion, the first half of the song is boring, unimpressive, and unconvincing (as a love song). however, the song is completely saved by the movement midway through the song, where the guitar lead comes in, and billy sings "i love you." from then on, the song is brilliant. the guitar lead, the background vocals, everything harmonizes beautifully. the song's weak at first, but makes up for it. 3/5

26. Lily (My One And Only)
again with the childlike theme, lily has a very similar feel to we only come out at night (they share the same basic drum beat). i think this is a great, slow, carefree number, with fun lyrics. i love the percussive muted electric guitar in the background, as well as the catchy melody and orchestral-style drum kit. supposedly it's about billy's cat, but i was always under the impression it was about a semi-crazed voyeur ("cause as they're draggin me away, i swear i saw her turn raise her hand and wave"). the ending is great as well. altogether an overlooked but impressive number. 4/5

27. By Starlight
by starlight begins with a great dreamy fade-in effect, and that surreal mood flows throughout the song. the lyrics are convincing, honest, and vivid. the melody is simple but works very well. the smashing pumpkins are exceptional at creating a different atmosphere for each song, and this tune is no exception. the chorus isn't as good as the verse, but altogether a great song in twilight-to-starlight-style which creates a fantastic mood. 4/5

28. Farewell And Goodnight
as the final song on MCIS, it ends the album on another slow note. the childlike songwriting is once again prevalent. in farewell and goodnight, we get to hear james, jimmy, d'arcy and billy sing in one track. each band member has a unique and interesting voice, so this was a great idea (it also gives a sense of band unity in a way). very simple lyrics and melody, but both are effective. i love the "the sun shines, but i don't" part. the solo piano part at the end of the song is very reminscent of the piano in mellon collie and the infinite sadness, bringing the album full circle and ending on a serene and satsifying note. as a song by itself, this track is good, but as the closer to an epic album it is outstanding. 4.5/5



That concludes Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. In my opinion, the album feels as if it was intended to be a concept album, but the story is conveyed through music rather than lyrics. An idea I have is that MCIS was almost intended to be a theatrical show, with Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness as the overture, Tonight, Tonight setting the feel for the album and telling what lies ahead in the 'show', and Dawn to Dusk being Act 1 and Twilight to Starlight Act 2. Of course that's just a theory, but regardless, this album is defintely more than a bunch of good songs thrown together (which I sometimes think about Siamese Dream and Gish). MCIS was as innovative as it was successful, and marks the highest point in the ascent of the Smashing Pumpkins. My ranking is 5/5, because although the album is hindered by some weak tracks, the sheer number of incredible songs, the boundless originality, and the encompassing feel of the album make it a classic.


user ratings (2300)
Chart.
4.2
excellent
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Priestmetal
August 10th 2005



542 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Isnt this CD kinda long for a track by track? Must a taken you for ever!! Anyway I think 5/5 is kinda high for this. Maybe 4/5. Thats just what I think.

masada
August 10th 2005



2733 Comments


This is obviously a joke review. Delete it.

Neoteric
August 10th 2005



3243 Comments


How is it a joke SV?

aywkubt_tod
August 10th 2005



1 Comments


as a somewhat-fan of the pumpkins, i agree with the review, and like that it doesn't hit that obsessive fan thing of praising every bit of work corgan and co. did. its honest. top stuff matey!

BringHomeTheBacon
August 10th 2005



248 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

My plagerism sense is tingling. If that's not the case, that was a very good review. Unfortunately, I only have the Smashing Pumpkins greatest hits album. But all the songs I know from this album are very good.

mikefromPTF
August 10th 2005



2 Comments


priestmetal is right, its a helluva long review and took me a while, but i thought that the album was good enough to merit an indepth track-by-track. i can see what you mean by not 5/5, its not a perfect album, but i thought it was pretty damn close (maybe 4.8/5).

something vague- ?? this took me a long time, and i dont see anything funny about it. i may not one of the 'top 15 reviewers' or whatever, but i dont think it's much of a joke.

bringhomethebacon- no plagarism here! thatd be pretty dirty.


thanks for commenting everyone! this is my first review.

masada
August 11th 2005



2733 Comments


Just because I'm in the top 15 doesn't mean that every comment I make automatically relates to someone not being in the top 15.

Desensitized
August 11th 2005



136 Comments


The score doesn't seem to match the review. There are too many songs under 4 for this to be a 5/5.

A 4 or 4.5 is a bit more accurate.

Kage
August 11th 2005



1173 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

A total score doesn't have to reflect an average of each song. It's not the indivudal song that makes the album, it's the flow of the album, etc.

br3ad_man
Emeritus
August 11th 2005



2125 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I would give this 5/5. It's awesome.

OrbDragon
August 11th 2005



152 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Good review....I kinda like Cupid De Locke...it's pretty unconventional for a Pumpkins song...but that's what I like about it. It's big flaw is the lack of progression, though.

This album has some good moments, but is really inconsistent. If Billy would take the best songs and made one disc of it...it would've been way better.

Repor_Siwel
August 11th 2005



25 Comments


yea solid review. not my favourite album by the pumpkins, too long IMO. I am a fan of long albums, (lateralus by tool), but this skips from tone to tone very quickly (zero-here is no why-bullet) and has some very poor tracks to go with some rippers (we only come out at night annoys the hell out of me).

another point to ponder is does anyone else feel that this opus is similar to the beatles white album? 28 tracks (white album 30), last song written by james Iha entitled farewell and goodnight (ringo starr(help me i think thats right) wrote and performed the closing track on the white album). i could go on lol

im probably splitting hairs with this but the idea struck me once while listening to the album

thoughts???

Iai
Emeritus
August 11th 2005



3553 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Except it's much better than The White Album.

Meh. People compare every double abum to The Beatles anyway.

Captain_HumpYourFace
August 11th 2005



119 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

That's because the Beatles invented music, the guitar, anything original and the idea of releasing an album.

Anyway this is probably my favorite Pumpkin's album and it really shows off what great artists Billy and company are.

Anyone else remember Zwan? I just can't let him live that down.

Iai
Emeritus
August 11th 2005



3553 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

God, Zwan were awful. Though I'm slightly more ashamed of Pajo for being involved with that.

masada
August 11th 2005



2733 Comments


"X.Y.U" is probably one of the worst songs I've ever heard.

I was hoping Jimmy would bust out some funky beats with D'arcy playing some groovy bass lines and Billy freestyling over it all.

That would be so cool.

Hardee
August 11th 2005



1 Comments


"7. To Forgive
this is the first of a few slow, mediocre, forgettable songs that billy wrote for the album"

This reviewer is an idiot.

Captain_HumpYourFace
August 11th 2005



119 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

"This reviewer is an idiot."

Naturally, everyone who disagrees with your exact opinion on music is an idiot. An idiot and a douche-bag. And their mother's smell bad.



Priestmetal
August 11th 2005



542 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

LOL about Zwan. I saw them live like almost 3 years ago and all I remember is sitting through that horribly long instrumental ( Marie star of the sea or somthing like that) and being SO freakin bored!!!

br3ad_man
Emeritus
August 11th 2005



2125 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Zwan were pretty good.



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