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Ranking the Album: The Smashing Pumpkins’ Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness

on October 23, 2015, 3:30pm

18. “Jellybelly”

Disc: Dawn to Dusk

Track #: 03

Here Is No Why: After the gentle rocking of the title track and “Tonight, Tonight”, “Jellybelly” captures the classic Pumpkins sound of “this one goes to 11”. Chamberlin pummels his drum kit into submission, Corgan screams, and it has the most miserable Pumpkins lyric to date: “Living makes me sick/ So sick I wish I’d die”. Happy holidays.

The Shine in Our Spit: 1:50, Chamberlain unleashed.

–Justin Gerber


17. “By Starlight”

Disc: Twilight to Starlight

Track #: 13

Here Is No Why: Life in slow motion. The Twilight to Starlight disc has the heaviest material from a musical standpoint, and although “By Starlight” has soft instrumentation, its lyrics pack a punch full of doubt. Do we ever truly know anyone? The song is apparently about Corgan’s wedding day. Long story short: they didn’t make it.

The Shine in Our Spit: 4:05, when the lyrics disappear and the mid-tempo melody takes us home.

–Justin Gerber


16. “Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness”

Disc: Dawn to Dusk

Track #: 01

Here Is No Why: Here come the Pumpkins! They’re back with a big double LP! Let’s kick things off with … a piano ballad that repeats the same melody over and over again. But what a lovely melody it is! The title track (or eponymous track) and its total lack of lyrics let us know that Mellon Collie wasn’t going to be a predictable affair.

The Shine in Our Spit: 0:01, when you asked that age-old question the first time you heard it: “What?

–Justin Gerber


15. “In the Arms of Sleep”

Disc: Twilight to Starlight

Track #: 04

Here Is No Why: Corgan sounds genuinely exhausted and mid-sob throughout this ballad of desperation and lost love. The rustic acoustic guitar grounds the unrequited love in the traditional, but the Ebow’ed psychedelic noise haunting the fringes blurs the reality and the dream. “She comes to me like an angel out of time,” he cries, only to fall back into the pain of her having gone. “Suffer my desire for you” is such an emblematic mantra for the Pumpkins.

The Shine in Our Spit: 3:16, where the iterations of “Suffer my desire” begin.

–Adam Kivel


14. “X.Y.U.”

Disc: Twilight to Starlight

Track #: 09

Here Is No Why: Kids of the ’90s loved to look back on the ’70s with rose-tinted lenses, and “X.Y.U.” must have sent shivers up the spines of every nostalgic Sabbath fan. Chamberlin’s the MVP on this sludgy track with haunting percussion that empowers Corgan with a gnarly conviction to sell a line like: “And into the eyes of the Jackyl I say ka-boom.”

The Shine in Our Spit: 3:00, when one of the guitars opens up the gates of hell. Listen closely.

–Michael Roffman

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