A Mellon Collie and A Chocolate Labradoodle
Album #15 : The Smashing Pumpkins — Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness
Conveniently, because I just got one last week, this album is a lot like a new puppy. It starts off with the soothing and chilled out instrumental of the title track before easing gently into Tonight Tonight (which, for the record, is one of the most beautiful songs ever). Like our new arrival, everything is cool and calm and simple — gentle even.
Then, without any warning, all hell breaks loose. Grunge tracks and grunge tracks and little accidents on the kitchen floor. Running around like crazy and learning that, despite all our rage, we are all just a rat in a cage. It can easily get too much, a bit overwhelming. And then, with even less warning than before, we come crashing down into a peaceful number and a nap. We have worn ourselves out and it is little surprise.
This mixture certainly keeps Mellon Collie interesting, but it can also be a little frustrating — there is so much there to unpack that it all starts to wash over you and becomes all you can concentrate on. The new puppy is the same — I find myself getting frustrated when he has little accidents inside. Not annoyed at him, he is only 9 weeks old after all, but at myself. Should I have seen that coming? Should I have gotten him outside quicker? Am I getting this right? My fiancée and I have had to both have quiet words with ourselves over the last week. He’ll get it, eventually. What’s ridiculous is that we know the worst is yet to come — the hyper, chewing phase is just around the corner.
Another way this record is similar to raising a puppy is that it goes on and on and on. The original release of Mellon Collie is two hours long. The only version on Spotify (the ‘deluxe edition’ with all its demos and outtakes) is 5 hours and 52 minutes. That is too long. I have a bit of a thing about deluxe editions. If those tracks were meant to be on the album, they would have been. Whatever happened to the idea of always leaving them wanting more?
Similarly, even throughout one day, looking after a puppy makes for a long ordeal. He is up at about 6am, after a 3am toilet trip, and requires pretty much constant attention when he is awake. Still, we knew what we were getting into. The number of puppies who are now in shelters because people picked them up during lockdown only to dump them is absolutely devastating. Like the Smashing Pumpkins, it is a long trip but worth it in the end.
And, although there is still about 45 minutes left of Mellon Collie & The Infinite Sadness, I had better go, the chocolate labradoodle and the infinite wetness need my attention.
Thanks for reading — over the course of 2021, I’ll be reviewing 50(ish) of the greatest albums ever recorded. You can see the list here:
The 50(ish) Greatest Albums of All Time…
Weekly reviews of ‘the classics’ I’ve never bothered to listen to.
There is also a playlist featuring the best song from each album here.