Mellon Collie and the Infinite SadnessThe Smashing Pumpkins
The Smashing Pumpkins were, without qualification, the worst band to defecate from the 90s US alternative scene. That is not hyperbole; if anything, it's diminishing how appalling they were regardless of time, location or genre. Of course, the blame piles onto one man: Billy Corgan, the worst frontman in rock, alive or dead or not even conceived. The vast majority of gametes nestling in your testes has a far stronger claim for musical significance. So why is Billy Corgan so bad? Let's get the purest, most straightforward reason out the way: he can't sing. Indeed, he sounds like someone deliberately attempting to sing bad. Specifically, he sounds like Cartman from South Park, who was meant to sound as cacophonous as possible. Do you want to hear Cartman sing one proto-emo dirge, let alone nearly thirty? When I say Corgan is a bad singer, I don't mean he's unpolished and inexact; I mean that he is painful to the ears. Our dogs refused to be in the same room when I played this. Coupled to Corgan's inability to sing is his inability to write lyrics that don't collapse into risibility. There is not one word on this album to take seriously. Take the lines (preferably out back to be shot): Emptiness is loneliness, and loneliness is cleanliness And cleanliness is godliness, and God is empty, just like me It would be polite not to guffaw, but not guffawing would be dishonest. Or how about the rubbish-yet-bizarrely-popular 1979? I bet you thought it was a wistful, bittersweet recollection of carefree youth. Nope. Here's the chorus: That we don't even care to shake these zipper blues And we don't know just where our bones will rest To dust I guess forgotten and absorbed Into the earth below Now children, do you think adding a bit about rotting corpses to a limp song automatically grants it gravitas? (By the by, Billy Corgan was 12 in 1979. He wasn't out partying and fingering girls, he was still throwing tantrums when his mum said it was bath night. The only song more ridiculous in this regard is Summer of 69, as Bryan Adams was 10 in 1969, and there's no way Bryan Adams was so cool that he started his first band and lost his virginity aged 10. And yes, I am directly calling Billy Corgan a pale imitation of Bryan Adams). Of course, Billy Corgan would say he means every word, that these words are his heart, his truth. Anyone with an iota of sense would retort that he was talking bollocks. (And let's not forget he's now into vaccine denial and 9/11 conspiracies, so I feel no compunction in calling his a massive wanker). The ingredients for the shit sandwich are assembled. We have a singularly uncharismatic and grating singer, screeching out the most lamentable high school doggerel, all backed by your standard substandard post-Nirvana alt-rock pop-punk-by-numbers that littered the US in 1995. So what's the next logical step? Why, it's to make a TWO HOUR concept album (a concept which is never clear and in any case gets jettisoned about three songs in). One song would be insufferable; 28 of the fuckers just bludgeon the listener into a depressed numbness. With some lengthy, challenging albums, such as Trout Mask Replica or Metal Machine Music, one feels satisfied with oneself for having listened all the way through. This album is twice as long as Metal Machine Music, but there's no sense of accomplishment in listening to this, because there's no reward. Even passing a particularly stubborn log brings relief, but this is only like being stranded in a rainstorm. You don't get inivgorated, you just get cold and wet. Also, the title is crap. Mellon Collie? Is that a pun? I really don't get it. You shouldn't get this either.