64Records – Record One – Melancholy and The Infinite Sadness – The Smashing Pumpkins
The first record that I’ll be covering on this series of records that mean a lot to me is one that since the first day I listened to it hasn’t left my head. In an impossible sense this album composed by the musical genius of Billy Corgan and The Smashing Pumpkins has fascinated me for years now and it may take my whole life to write every reason this album astonishes. It isn’t just music, its poetry, with guitars, and more noises. Produced by Alan Moulder (The Killers, U2) Flood (New Order) and Corgan himself, this double disk album is a must listen for anyone into punk or alternative music. The album displays the angst and passion of the bands previous album Siamese Dream (1993) but also adds a cinematic atmosphere which projects you to another world. Sonically this record is beautiful through the way it combines strings and orchestra with loud angst-ridden music, and before listening to ‘Melancholy’ I’d never heard that before.
The artwork of the record to me seems impossibly unique and sucks you into this dystopian world or romance and hatred. The images assocaited with the record display space itself which is coated in old artwork which echoes a theme of the past on the record. To me, ‘1979’ is the similar to ‘Disarm’ as it adds further insight into the life of Vocalist and Guitarist Bill Corgan. This anthemic and nostalgic tale of youth and corruption is accompanied on the record by tracks such as ‘Zero’ which is effectively a love song full of angst, and ‘Bullet With Butterfly Wings’ which is a song that perfectly encapsulates the anger and fear of Billy Corgan’s mind. Although the majority of the praise of this album is directed towards the aforementioned tracks, songs such as ‘Stumbeline’ and ‘Bodies’ deserve as much credit as the singles to this album. You must also praised the dedication and songwriting talents of James Iha, Jimmy Chamberlin and D’arcy Wretzky that resonates throughout the record.
The box set re-issue of this record is an incredible listen as it displays the process of the albums creation through the collection of demoes and alternate versions of the songs off the record. The demo of ‘1979’ and the strings alone version of ‘Tonight, Tonight’ are definitely notable listens here.
Although plagued by issues between band members and changes in line-up, The Smashing Pumpkins stand on the same pedestal to me as a band such as Nirvana. They appear ‘overworldy’ and yet so relatable and it sends me into this coma of beauty and existentialism every time I pick up this record.
Melancholy is the first record of my 64 records and may set the groundwork for some of the most important ideas of my life.