but i knew exactly where i was

I’m listening to Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness this afternoon.  I found the first disc while Neil was cleaning out the mudroom and, after a vague attempt to get my other recently found CD (The Verve, ‘Urban Hymns’, quite possibly one of the best rock albums of the 90’s if not the history of music) to play, I popped it in.

I’ve been listening to the Smashing Pumpkins since I bought ‘Siamese Dream’ in, oh, I don’t know…1994, maybe?  I hadn’t really owned an album like Dream before.  I had begun to dabble into teenage angst and woe and somehow, Billy Corgan voiced my rage like a pro…something my long-time love, Adam Duritz, had never been able to do.  Adam would sit in the rain on a park bench  and gaze longingly into space while he lamented his sadness.

Billy would jump onto the bench, whip out a can of gasoline and set the world on fire. 

It was this blatent ‘fuck you’ attitude that drew me to the Pumpkins.  I wore Siamese Dream out.  This was, of course, in the days before I owned CDs.  The paint wore away, no longer indicated Side A or Side B.  I didn’t care.  I listened to it until I knew the words better than Billy himself, knew the rage in his voice, the longing in his words.

Mellon Collie came out in 1995 and it BLEW ME AWAY.   I was fifteen, pissed off and misunderstood, unhappy with every aspect of my life.  I was writing at my most hard core then, just beginning to write on a computer.  I listened to it as loud as my little RCA crap-stereo from Kmart would go.  Believing and feeling the words…despite all my rage, I was still just a rat in a cage. 

It was truly, in my opinion, their last great album.  Now, I know, ‘adore’ is simply beautiful, but for the pissed off angry teen brain, you can’t get any better then Mellon Collie (and ‘machina’, did anyone really even listen to that).  ‘Siamese Dream’ was the angry childhood of the Pumpkins, their slingshot and cherry bombs era, something I think this generation (which is STILL my generation, but I don’t feel any of the angsty teenage anger bands had that strange, sumptous rage like Billy and Co. OWNED on ‘Siamese’.  No one nowadays has what they had).  I feel Mellon Collie was their record where you realized they were SERIOUS.  Billy had the genius of a musician that I don’t think the real world will really recognize until much later.  Although I feel that Mellon Collie really thrust the Pumpkins into that much-dreaded “mainstream”, I don’t think that the casual listener really delved into the rest of the Pumpkins’ opus.  It was an EPIC album that suddenly burst forth as one of the finest creations of rock on the planet.  I always say it’s better to burn off than to fade away.  And the Pumpkins did just that (save the cartoonish position Corgan know holds as the headman of the feel good, ultra crap rock band Zwan.  We’re not even going to go there.).  They honestly went down in a blazing, psychedelic ice cream truck, safe into the part of brain who forgots about them for a while.  Until they poke through again, reminding me off things that I hadn’t thought of in years.

“i fear that i am ordinary, just like everyone

to lie here and die among the sorrows adrift among the days

for everything i ever said and everything i’ve ever done is gone and dead

as all things must surely have to end and great loves will one day have to part

i know that i am meant for this world my life has been extraordinary blessed and cursed and won

time heals but i’m forever broken by and by the way

have you ever heard the words i ‘m singing in these song? it’s for the girl i’ve loved all along

can a taste of love be so wrong as all things must surely have to end

and great loves will one day have to part i know that i am meant for this world

and in my mind as i was floating far above the clouds some children laughed

i’d fall for certain for thinking that i’d last forever

but i knew exactly where i was

and i knew the meaning of it all

and i knew the the distance to the sun

and i knew the echo that is love

and i knew the secrets in your spires

and i knew the emptiness of youth

and i knew the solitude of heart

and i knew the murmurs of the soul

and the world is drawn into your hands

and the world is etched upon your heart

and the world so hard to understand

is the world you can’t live without

and i knew the silence of the world.”

-‘Muzzle’, the Smashing Pumpkins, Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness


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