Albums I Have Loved: The Smashing Pumpkins – Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness

Well what has this got to do with gaming I hear you cry? Absolutely nothing to be honest, but gaming has been a bit on the backburner for the past few weeks. Besides, it’s never a bad move to have other interests and hopefully appeal to our vast non-gaming audience. I hope all you googlebots are paying attention! For all you hardcore gamers out there, I assure you that ZombiePirateXXX should be assembling his Space Hulk models as we speak. Once we get around to playing it then I am sure service will be resumed as normal.

If you ever talk to an old person, they will generally say that things were better in ‘the old days’. Personally I have never felt that being bombed, eating rations or being an unwashed beflared hippie particularily appealing, but then to use a phrase “Like woah, I wasn’t there, man”. But I do recall the nineties with particular clarity, and I do recall these were good days. In the nineties the average joe thought spam was a canned meat, tweet is what the birds did, anyone with a mobile phone was a bit posh, and CDs were still considered a pretty neat idea.

They were simpler times. Most importantly though is that the kids didn’t listen to emo. Music was more upbeat. Dance music was big. Yes you had the occasional emo song on the radio but it was yet to become a way of life. One of the more popular bands of the era (especially with teenage intellectual girls or so it seemed) were The Smashing Pumpkins. They were quite big at the time (apparently), and Mellon Collie was their biggest release to date. Naturally I completely ignored it. I was too busy bashing my eardrums out to the sounds of the Prodigy to really care about some whiny guy from Chicago. A few years elapsed, and eventually my guitaring exploits (remember, this is the nineties and with no Guitar Hero we actually had to learn to play), and I ended up in a university covers band. The drummer, being Belgian, was allowed to suggest we play ‘Bullet With Butterfly Wings’ as part of our setlist. So I got hold of the album which I had been happily ignoring for all these years. We learned to play the song successfully.

Skip on another year or two and I am making a road trip to Norwich. Now to those of you who haven’t been there, Norwich sits at the bottom of a space-time distortion in east anglia. It takes an eternity to reach it from any direction. Colman’s mustard was actually made by bronze age anglo-saxons but has taken several hundred years getting it out of the county to the rest of us. Anyway, I digress. My car had a newly installed cd player. Guess what the only album I had with me was? You guessed it, Mellon Collie. So I listened. For what seemed like days. And I loved it. I still listen to it to this day, both discs. It is what an album should be, it is a musical journey, where every song is a part of a much greater audioscape. It’s a true piece of genius. To be honest I’m still not a Smashing Pumpkins fan, but for these 2 hours or so, Billy Corgan is one of the greatest musicians of our era.