Music / Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness

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"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, released on October 23, 1995. 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.

On April 29, 1996, a triple-LP edition was released with a completely different running order and two bonus tracks. It was pressed in limited quantities and is now a collector's item. A 2012 LP pressing, using four LPs this time, used the original CD track order (meaning that the two bonus tracks weren't included).

On December 4, 2012, as part of the band's campaign to re-release its entire discography from its original run, the album was reissued in remastered form with three bonus discs, a bonus DVD, and quite a few Feelies. All told, this edition contains 107 tracks, adding up to just under seven hours and ten minutes of music.

    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)

     1996 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"

     2012 Remaster Bonus Content 
Disc 3 - Morning Tea
  1. "Tonight, Tonight (strings alone mix)" (2:41)
  2. "Methusela (Sadlands demo)" (4:09)
  3. "X.Y.U. (take 11)" (7:11)
  4. "Zero (synth mix)" (2:47)
  5. "Feelium (Sadlands demo)" (4:22)
  6. "Autumn Nocturne (Sadlands demo)" (1:30)
  7. "Beautiful (loop version)" (5:08)
  8. "Ugly (Sadlands demo)" (2:47)
  9. "Ascending Guitars (Sadlands demo)" (3:12)
  10. "By Starlight (Flood rough)" (4:31)
  11. "Medellia of the Gray Skies (take 1)" (3:05)
  12. "Lover (arrangement 1 demo)" (3:47)
  13. "Thru the Eyes of Ruby (take 7)" (5:49)
  14. "In the Arms of Sleep (early live demo)" (3:51)
  15. "Lily (My One and Only) (Sadlands demo)" (3:19)
  16. "1979 (Sadlands demo)" (4:05)
  17. "Glamey Glamey (Sadlands demo)" (3:06)
  18. "Meladori Magpie" (2:44)
  19. "Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness (home piano version)" (2:45)
  20. "Galapagos (instrumental/Sadlands demo)" (3:54)
  21. "To Forgive (Sadlands demo)" (3:46)

Disc 4 - High Tea
  1. "Bullet With Butterfly Wings (Sadlands demo)" (4:34)
  2. "Set the Ray to Jerry (vocal rough)" (4:13)
  3. "Thirty‐Three (Sadlands demo)" (4:04)
  4. "Cupid de Locke (BT 2012 mix)" (3:13)
  5. "Porcelina of the Vast Oceans (live studio rough)" (9:06)
  6. "Jellybelly (instrumental/Pit mix 3)" (3:06)
  7. "The Aeroplane Flies High (Turns Left, Looks Right)" (8:33)
  8. "Jupiter's Lament (Barbershop version)" (2:41)
  9. "Bagpipes Drone (Sadlands demo)" (2:38)
  10. "Tonight, Tonight (band version only, no strings)" (4:15)
  11. "Knuckles (studio outtake)" (3:09)
  12. "Pennies" (2:30)
  13. "Here Is No Why (Pumpkinland demo)" (3:51)
  14. "Blast (Fuzz version)" (2:56)
  15. "Towers of Rabble (live)" (2:58)
  16. "Rotten Apples" (3:06)
  17. "Fun Time (Sadlands demo)" (4:33)
  18. "Thru the Eyes of Ruby (acoustic version)" (4:55)
  19. "Chinoise (Sadlands demo)" (1:14)
  20. "Speed" (3:25)

Disc 5 - Special Tea
  1. "Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness (Nighttime version 1)" (1:16)
  2. "Galapagos (Sadlands demo)" (4:25)
  3. "Cherry (BT 2012 mix)" (4:22)
  4. "Love (Flood rough)" (4:22)
  5. "New Waver (Sadlands demo)" (2:45)
  6. "Fuck You (An Ode to No One) (production master rough)" (4:59)
  7. "Isolation (BT 2012 mix)" (4:04)
  8. "Transformer (Early mix)" (3:27)
  9. "Dizzle (Sadlands demo)" (2:18)
  10. "Goodnight (basic vocal rough)" (3:55)
  11. "Eye (Soundworks demo)" (3:34)
  12. "Blank (Sadlands demo)" (2:52)
  13. "Beautiful (instrumental-middle 8)" (4:16)
  14. "My Blue Heaven (BT 2012 mix)" (3:19)
  15. "One and Two" (3:45)
  16. "Zoom (7 Ips)" (2:44)
  17. "Pastichio Medley (reversed extras)" (0:44)
  18. "Marquis in Spades (BT 2012 mix)" (3:14)
  19. "Tales of a Scorched Earth (guitar overdub mix)" (3:47)
  20. "Tonite Reprise (version 1)" (2:36)
  21. "Wishing You Were Real (home demo)" (3:07)
  22. "Thru the Eyes of Ruby (Pit mix 3)" (0:46)
  23. "Phang (Sadlands demo)" (2:31)

Bonus DVD
  1. "Tonight, Tonight" (4:20)
  2. "1979" (4:27)
  3. "Zero" (2:28)
  4. "Here Is No Why" (3:41)
  5. "To Forgive" (3:52)
  6. "Thru the Eyes of Ruby" (8:06)
  7. "Porcelina of the Vast Oceans" (9:41)
  8. "Jellybelly" (3:01)
  9. "Silverfuck" (4:28)
  10. "Disarm" (3:04)
  11. "Bullet with Butterfly Wings" (5:41)
  12. "Fuck You (An Ode to No One)" (5:12)
  13. "Muzzle" (4:06)
  14. "Cherub Rock" (6:30)
  15. "X.Y.U." (8:51)

Tracks 1-11 of the DVD were recorded at the Brixton Academy in London on May 15, 1996; the last four tracks are from the band's April 7, 1996, performance on the German music television show Rockpalast.

Personnel
  • 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."
  • Book-Ends: The opening track and the last minute or so of "Farewell and Goodnight" share a melody (though they differ rhythmically) and are both predominantly piano-based. (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.
    • While "Farewell and Goodnight" isn't the last song on the original triple-LP release, it's still similarly bookended by the title track and "Infinite Sadness", which is essentially a full-band version of the title track.
  • Call-Back: "Tonite Reprise" from the vinyl version of the album.
  • Concept Album: See the description in the introduction.
  • Cover Version: Not on the album proper, but the bonus content on the remaster includes covers of the pop standard "My Blue Heaven" and Joy Division's "Isolation".
  • Darker and Edgier: As compared to Siamese Dream; however, their next album Adore would prove to be even darker from an emotional standpoint (though none of it is as heavy on the Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness).
  • Dark Reprise: Of a sort. "Tonite Reprise" (included on the original vinyl edition) is much more subdued than the original version of the song.
  • Distinct Double Album: 14 songs on each CD, though it's debatable whether it really qualifies as distinct as each disc is so eclectic that there isn't so much a contrast between each disc as there is one between each song. The original LP running order qualifies a bit better; there is still Mood Whiplash on several album sides, but other sides, such as "Dawn" and "Starlight", maintain a fairly consistent feeling throughout.
  • 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).
    • From the bonus CDs: "X.Y.U. (take 11)" (7:11), "Porcelina of the Vast Oceans (live studio rough)" (9:06), "The Aeroplane Flies High (Turns Left, Looks Right)" (8:33); from the bonus DVD: "Thru the Eyes of Ruby" (8:06), "Porcelina of the Vast Oceans" (9:41), "Cherub Rock" (6:30), "X.Y.U." (8:51).
  • 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.
  • Lyrical Dissonance:
    • "Lily (My One and Only)" - subverted. A song seemingly about a stalker getting arrested outside of his victim's house set to a Sweet Dreams Fuel instrumental with piano, fiddle, and subdued, soft drums. On the other hand, Billy apparently said during the January 3, 1996, concert in Toronto that the song is about his cat, who was actually named Lily, which just brings the lyrics back around to silly again.
    • The Precision F-Strike on "Stumbleine", the gentlest song on the album, is a straight example.
  • 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.
  • Mood Whiplash: Virtually every song transition on the CD version. This is decreased somewhat on the original 3LP configuration, as four LP sides (Dawn, Twilight, Midnight, and Starlight) consist largely of stylistically similar materialnote , but the other two more than make up for it. (And even the former four have a few curveballs.)
  • 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".
  • Pep-Talk Song: "Farewell and Goodnight", which wishes for your dreams to be happy so you can forget the troubles of the world for a while.
  • 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. As for studio performances, "Infinite Sadness" is a full-band arrangement of the title track (it appears on the vinyl edition, as well as on the remaster of The Aeroplane Flies High).
  • 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 Book-Ends 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"
    • The Doom sample is possibly a Shout-Out or a Take That!, as a popular joke among DOOM fans involved a fictional sequel called Smashing Pumpkins Into Small Piles of Putrid Debris, or SPISPOPD, making it a prototypical Ascended Meme - three times over, actually, since it also got incorporated into the cheat code idspispopd, which toggled no-clipping mode (i.e., allowed players to walk through walls and monsters, though they wouldn't be able to pick up items until they turned it back off), and additionally made an appearance in one of the Doom novels.
  • Siamese Twin Songs: "Where Boys Fear to Tread" into "Bodies" on the CD version and, arguably, "Fuck You (An Ode to No One)" into "Love" (there's a gap between the latter pair, but it's less than half a second). The former transition is abandoned on the 3LP version, thanks to its altered track list.
  • Stalker with a Crush: "Lily (My One and Only)" seems to be sung from the perspective of one of these, but as mentioned in Lyrical Dissonance above, Lily is actually a cat.
  • 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.
  • Triumphant Reprise: "Infinite Sadness" to the title track (again, on the original vinyl edition).
  • 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.

IN THE EYES OF THE JACKAL I SAY KAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAABOOM
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