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Smashing Pumpkins: Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness

Smashing Pumpkins
Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness

[Virgin; 1995]
Rating: 6.8

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The Infinite Sadness is what the average Pumpkins fan is going to encounter after the initial listen to this album. Lyrically, the entire record can be summed up with the refrain of Mellon Collie's first single: "Despite all my rage I am still just a rat in a cage." It's angst at its arena-rocking worst. And it only gets more embarrassing as the tracks roll by. Into the middle of the third track, Billy Corgan's drunk on his angstful glory, barfing up lines like, "God is empty, just like me." Straight out of a sixth-grade poetry book, this is Billy's lyrical rock-bottom.

What stands out, redeeming those dreadful stanzas in even their worst moments is the intense music, Flood's harsh, electro-production, and Corgan's incredible guitar work. Flawed verses aside, Mellon Collie is still as musically remarkable as Siamese Dream. But one of the major disappointments here is that Mellon Collie is far more masculine than their previous material. The songs rock out like old metal, which wouldn't be so bad provided they could pull it off without over-commercialization. Still, the Smashing Pumpkins could be considered the Led Zeppelin of the 90s-- instead of Zen, they've got apathy.

-Ryan Schreiber, January 01, 1996

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