"[Billy] Corgan has decided the traditional album is dead, so he's putting out a massive 44 song collection--Teargarden Kaleidyscope --one track at a time online."
When I was thirteen and on my first real music binge, at a Coconuts, if I recall correctly, I picked up Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, the nine-time platinum double disk that Corgan's Smashing Pumpkins had released a few years before in 1995.
By that point, four songs had been released as singles, and my first instinct, as always, was to flip to those tracks. But when I slid the first purple disk into the my Sony Discman--the pre-ESP variety that one had to hold like a relic for fear of skips and starts--I was too taken by the intro, the title track, to skip forward. The song was solely piano and strings, a kind of soothing, elegant lullaby--hardly what anyone expected from a band whose previous album started with the sort of gritty, distorted electric chords and grinding voices that defined the decade's early rock.
Mellon Collie was the first album I ever listened to in full, front to back, not a skip forward not a touch to rewind. It pulled off an incredible duplicity. It was a journey of sorts for the angst-riddled prepubescents of the nineties, both an exercise in Zen for a case of generational ADHD and a seminar in grunge. It was simultaneously a transcendental voyage to the Pan-like Neverland of the mind--the fiefdom of Johnny Depp or Tim Burton or Hunter--and a shove into a Seattle mosh pit that we might have been too young or too timid to make on our own.