Music / Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness
"Believe that life can change / that you're not stuck in vain / we're not the same, we're different / tonight"
"Tonight, Tonight"

Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness is the third album by the Chicago band The Smashing Pumpkins. Coming off the sucess of Siamese Dream, the death of Kurt Cobain, the decline of Grunge, and the band's experience headlining Lollapalooza '94, Face of the Band Billy Corgan decided to write the album as if it was their last. The result was a double album produced by Corgan (who described it at one point as "The Wall for Generation X") and famous Alternative Rock producers Mark "Flood" Ellis and Alan Moulder, ranging in material from gentle piano ballads ("Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness"), aggressive Alternative Metal ("Jellybelly", "Tales of a Scorched Earth", "Fuck You (An Ode to No One)", "X.Y.U."), loud-quiet-loud Grunge-ish tracks ("Bullet with Butterfly Wings", "Here Is No Why"), the band's trademark psychedelic, Shoegazing-influenced material ("Porcelina of the Vast Oceans"), quiet acoustic tracks ("Thirty-Three", "In the Arms of Sleep", "Lily", "Stumbleine") and more electronic-influenced material ("1979", "Beautiful") that foretold their style change on Adore. It is the Pumpkins' second Rolling Stone-certified greatest album of all time, placing on the list at #487.

The album gained very good reviews on release (except only the common nitpick about Corgan's supposedly Wangsty or pretentious lyrics), and spawned a few hits: "Bullet With Butterfly Wings", which married a rant about Corgan's exhaustion with fame and the alternative scene to one of their heaviest, most memorable Epic Riffs, "Tonight, Tonight", a combination of the band's Alternative Rock leanings with a Baroque Pop orchestra and a very memorable video, and "1979", an electronic pop-rock song.

     CD Tracklist 

Disc 1: 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 2: 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)

     Vinyl Tracklist 

Side A: Dawn
  1. "Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness"
  2. "Tonight, Tonight"
  3. "Thirty-Three"
  4. "In the Arms of Sleep"
  5. "Take Me Down"

Side B: Tea Time
  1. "Jellybelly"
  2. "Bodies"
  3. "To Forgive"
  4. "Here Is No Why"
  5. "Porcelina of the Vast Oceans"

Side C: Dusk
  1. "Bullet with Butterfly Wings"
  2. "Thru the Eyes of Ruby"
  3. "Muzzle"
  4. "Galapogos"
  5. "Tales of a Scorched Earth"

Side D: Twilight
  1. "1979"
  2. "Beautiful"
  3. "Cupid de Locke"
  4. "By Starlight"
  5. "We Only Come Out at Night"

Side E: Midnight
  1. "Where Boys Fear to Tread"
  2. "Zero"
  3. "Fuck You (An Ode to No One)"
  4. "Love"
  5. "X.Y.U."

Side F: Starlight
  1. "Stumbleine"
  2. "Lily (My One and Only)"
  3. "Tonite Reprise"
  4. "Farewell and Goodnight"
  5. "Infinite Sadness"

  • Billy Corgan: vocals, guitar, piano, mellotron, mixing, string arrangements
  • James Iha: rhythm guitar, backing vocals
  • D'arcy Wretzky: bass guitar, vocals
  • Jimmy Chamberlin: drums, vocals
  • The Chicago Symphony Orchestra: performs on "Tonight, Tonight".

Mellon Collie and the Infinite Tropes:

  • Album Single: "Bullet with Butterfly Wings", "1979", "Tonight, Tonight", "Zero", "Thirty-Three"
  • Alliterative Title: "Tonight, Tonight".
  • all lowercase letters: The liner notes are written in this typography.
  • Alternative Rock: At times bordering on Alternative Metal.
  • Annual Title: "1979".
  • Anti-Love Song: "Bodies", "Love".
    • "By Starlight" is a variation - it seems to be about the narrator falling in love with a girl who's as disillusioned and miserable as he is.
  • Arc Words: "My one and only" shows up in nearly half of the tracks.
    • The last fourth of the album contains variations on the line "you know me well."
  • Bookends: The opening track and the last minute or so of "Farewell and Goodnight" share a few similar note patterns and are both predominantly piano. (This melody also appears at the end of "Thru the Eyes of Ruby", but on guitar there and in a different key).
    • The opening and closing tracks of each disc are exactly the same length.
  • Call-Back: "Tonite Reprise" from the vinyl version of the album.
  • Concept Album: See the description in the introduction.
  • Darker and Edgier: As compared to Siamese Dream; however, their next album Adore would prove to be even darker.
  • Dark Reprise: Of a sort. "Tonite Reprise" is much more subdued than the original version of the song.
  • Distinct Double Album: 14 songs on each disc of the CD.
  • Epic Instrumental Opener: "Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness", the first two minutes of "Porcelina".
  • Epic Rocking: "Porcelina of the Vast Oceans" (9:21), "Thru the Eyes of Ruby" (7:38), "X.Y.U." (7:07).
  • Genre Roulette: Runs through Electronic Music, various styles of Heavy Metal, Alternative Rock, Baroque Pop, Shoegaze, Folk, Progressive Rock, and countless other styles in its two-hour running time.
  • Insistent Terminology: The band's mashup of Industrial Metal and NWOBHM, commonly refered to as Cybermetal ("Zero", "X.Y.U.").
  • Loudness War: Hits the bonus material on the reissue really badly. The remaster of the album itself isn't too bad, and, unlike the bonus material, doesn't have much clipping.
  • Madness Mantra:
    • "Bullet with Butterfly Wings"
    And I still believe that I cannot be saved
    • "Bodies"
    Love is suicide
    • "Thru the Eyes of Ruby"
    The night has come to hold us young
    • "Zero"
    Emptiness is loneliness, and loneliness is cleanliness and cleanliness is godliness, and God is empty just like me
    • "Where Boys Fear to Tread"
    Get on the bomb! Get back where you belong!
  • Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: The Album is all over the place. From 1 (Stumbleine, Take Me Down) to 8 (Tales of a Scorched Earth, Fuck You). "X.Y.U." is arguably a 9.
  • Non-Appearing Title: As per usual, over half the song titles don't appear in their songs.
  • Neoclassical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly: The album was notable for trying out a lot of different genres and styles.
  • One-Word Title: "Jellybelly", "Zero", "Love", "Galapogos", "Muzzle", "Bodies", "1979", "Stumbleine" and "Beautiful".
  • Precision F-Strike:
    • "Fuck You (An Ode to No One)". However, it's a Non-Appearing Title; strangely, the song itself does not actually contain any profanity.
    • "Bullshit fakers" in "Zero".
    • "Tales of a Scorched Earth".
    Fuck it all, 'cause I don't care
    • "X.Y.U."
    Cause I'm a sister, and I'm a motherfuck
    (...) Mary's got some deep shit
    • "Jukebox fuckup hanging 'round the drugstore" in "Stumbleine".
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: The lyrics to Bullet with Butterfly Wings were inspired by Billy's experience headlining Lollapalooza in 1994 and the decline of the alternative scene (much like how Siamese Dream's "Cherub Rock" attacked the scene and the band's critics).
  • Rearrange the Song: As is usual with the Pumpkins, songs were often changed substantially for live performances. There's a version of "X.Y.U." on the bonus DVD of The Aeroplane Flies High that is far more melodic than the album version, for example. More obviously, owing to the lack of an orchestra for live performances, "Tonight, Tonight" also sounded a lot different live than in the studio.
  • Record Producer: Mark "Flood" Ellis, Alan Moulder and Billy Corgan. Corgan had previously hired Moulder to mix Siamese Dream because he was a fan of My Bloody Valentine. One of the reasons he gave for working with Flood and Moulder is that he felt that the band had grown too comfortable with Butch Vig, the producer of their previous two albums.
  • Recurring Riff: The melody from the title track makes reappearances at the ends of "Thru the Eyes of Ruby" and "Farewell and Goodnight", also making it a case of Bookends for the entire album.
  • Refrain from Assuming: "The World is a Vampire" or "some variation on 'Rat in a Cage'" for "Bullet with Butterfly Wings"
    • "Shakedown 1979"
  • Sampling: The rocket launcher explosion sound effect from Doom is sampled on "Where Boys Fear to Tread"
  • Step Up to the Microphone: All the band members sing on Farewell and Goodnight.
    • "Take Me Down" is a James Iha solo song.
  • Surprisingly Gentle Song: "Cupid de Locke", "Galapogos", "Take Me Down", "In the Arms of Sleep", "Stumbleine", "Farewell and Goodnight".
    • And as an inversion, a song called "Love" happens to be driven by a hyper-processed guitar riff, feature heavily distorted vocals and generally sound like Industrial Metal meets Glam Rock.
  • Updated Re-release: A few months after the CD and Cassette release of the album, the album was released on vinyl with a re-arranged tracklist while adding two new tracks, "Tonite Reprise" and "Infinite Sadness".
  • Zeerust: The cover art has a woman, ripped right out of a Renaissance painting, riding a star-shaped ship through space while the art booklet has a picture of two Victorian dressed birds flying in a da Vinci-style flying machine.