October 24, 1995. The Smashing Pumpkins follow up their breakthrough 1993 album Siamese Dream with a dramatic gambit: a double-album.
To put things in context, after the death of Kurt Cobain in 1994, the Pumpkins’ label Virgin Records impressed upon head pumpkinhead Billy Corgan that he was to be the next Cobain, and the Smashing Pumpkins would be the next Nirvana. The pressure put Corgan in his worst mental state to date, but he did not break down. Instead, he rose to the challenge, and the product of his effort was the sweeping, epic double-album Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness.
The stats are impressive: two hours of music spread out over 28 tracks–six of which were singles–a quarter-million-plus copies sold in the first week, over 5 million sold to date: certified Diamond status. In other words, if you were a Pumpkins fan, Mellon Collie was a dream come true.
I was a Pumpkins fan; I still am. On the Tuesday that Mellon Collie released, I didn’t have my first class at Northeastern until 1:30 in the afternoon, so I stopped at Newbury Comics on Newbury Street just as the store opened that morning and nabbed my copy on double CD. I spent the next two hours on the grass outside of Kariotis Hall, taking in the album track-by-track on my Discman. I was in heaven: my favorite band released a double album. When does that happen?
Over the coming year, I’d track down and purchase every import single (thanks again, Newbury Comics) released from the album so I could absorb all the bonus tracks. Hell, I even bought the cover art as a giant poster to hang over my bed. The music had a magic to it that few other bands of that era were able to capture. Revisit the songs 25 years on and see if you can’t recapture some of that magic.