Announcement by The SPfreaks Team
We’re pleased to share the winning entry of our contest, with the submitted article and decoupage set below. Our winner is now being sent a copy of the Mellon Collie CD Deluxe Box Set and an SPfreaks t-shirt!
The World of Mellon Collie
Do you know these guys that “know music”? They’re familiar with every possible band you’ve never heard about, discographies by year, lineup changes, backstories and trivia? They also know their way around the different genres, styles, eras and influences?
Well, I’m sort of that kinda guy.
* * *
The first time I heard “Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness” was in the summer of 2002, and I had just graduated from highschool. It was a good album with some great hits in it, but nowhere was it as coherent as the previous, grungier, Siamese Dream. The whole thing just seemed too bloated and overly produced for my taste. I had only a few months before recruiting to a mandatory 3-year army service, and had virtually nothing to do with that borrowed time. And, as it happened to be, that summer I fell madly in love with a girl.
* * *
I was always fond of secondary titles appended to the name of a piece of art. If I had to choose one for MCIS it would have been: “Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness: Music for the Heartbroken, in E♭”. Because when your heart is ill, you’re not simply depressed. Depression is for when something gets fucked up in your life. But when you are truly heartbroken, you are not merely depressed, you become melancholic. The difference being? Whereas depression is your life played as a monochromatic black-and-white film, melancholy is your life on a colored-canvas painting.
Just for comparison, “The Wall” is an album you want to cut your wrists to; Mellon Collie is an album that lets you know that everything is OK, and makes you feel perfectly fine with your sadness, and even lets you enjoy it in a strange way. Perhaps that’s what Billy meant when he described Mellon Collie as “The Wall for Gen X”.
* * *
So, being the self-proclaimed musical expert that I am, I’m very often asked what my favorite album is, and I always answer, without a second’s hesitation: “Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness”. “Why?” is the question that almost instantly follows, but it’s always very difficult for me to answer.
Because Mellon Collie isn’t just an ALBUM.
I’ve read somewhere that a great piece of art should conform to the following: It must be universal, introspective, and self-contained. I’m not sure if I’m comfortable with that definition, but I think that Mellon Collie is just that; it can touch your inmost personal experiences and memories, while still providing some insight about the ‘world’. Most importantly, it’s not just a bunch of songs put together – it’s a complete universe.
Sure, there are the 28 songs from the official album, but once you are done with these, you begin to grow an appetite for more. Then you dig a little deeper and find out about long-sold-out “The Aeroplane Flies High” box set. At first you may think it’s an ordinary leftover B-Sides collection, but to your amazement you find 28 MORE songs, and damn! Some of these songs are even better than the ones released on the album. And just when you think that you’ve got your hands on all the stuff that could have possibly been recorded on that era, you stumble upon the demo tapes. The acoustic Sadlands sessions, the Pumpkinland rehearsals, the Gravity demos, the 666 video, a plethora of live performances, and of course the music videography highlighted by “Tonight, Tonight” which may possibly be one of the best music videos of all times.
* * *
The fall came, and my friends and I were staying up all night, getting high and drunk on a daily basis, just the way you’d imagine 18-year-old-soon-to-be soldiers facing the unknown. That was when I rediscovered the Mellon Collie universe, and it became the soundtrack to that weird, wonderful time of my life.
Because Mellon Collie isn’t JUST an album.
It’s about opening the booklet and getting that feeling you had when you were little, reading an old children’s book full of soothing Victorian-era anthropomorphic illustrations.
It’s wanting to learn piano just so you could be able to endlessly play the opening title for yourself; It’s wishing that the Reprise in the end of “Ruby” would never end; It’s being awaken by the mid-“X.Y.U” scream after you’ve fallen asleep just a few songs earlier, Or, if you’re lucky enough, falling asleep to the closing piano of the sweet, sweet lullaby that is “Farewell and Goodnight”, feeling at peace with world, even if for a brief moment.
It’s obsessing about the sold-out vinyl version, going into old record stores hoping they might just have it, even when you know they won’t. It’s constantly trying to find it on eBay at a reasonable price, and when you do, you realize it’s a fake cause you’re already an expert on this subject matter by now.
It’s arguing with fellow MellonColliacs on whether “Marquis in Spades” should have been included in the album; It’s wondering why the hell “The Viper” wasn’t properly recorded; It’s constantly trying to build your own perfect album playlist out of the abundance of songs, only to find out that it’s an impossible mission, because you couldn’t let go of even the most obscure of songs, because you love each and every one of them a little differently.
It’s looking at a cookie-shaped moon, hoping it would smile back at you while you smoke a cigarette in the middle of the night; It’s wanting to tattoo one of icons from the lyrics sheet on your leg.
It’s imagining the girl you love, sitting on a huge star, staring at the skies.
* * *
With every return of the fall, the little green grass begins to cover the hills on the countryside, the colors of the sunset get a little dimmer, the winter clothes being taken out from the back of the closet – that’s when I put on the pink CD in my little stereo, and with the sound of the C♯ piano chord being played, I begin my annual journey to the land of Mellon Collie.
Significant albums have come and gone during my life, some of which were really, really good. And I do return to some every once in a while. But with Mellon Collie it’s a bit different. Because, well, Mellon Collie isn’t just an album.