Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Mellon Collie And The Infinite Subsets

Found out yesterday that there's a guy working for BBC Midlands called Michael Collie. Presumably he's the one responsible for the Traffic Reports of Infinite Sadness, though in his defence, the potholes around here don't leave him much choice on the matter.

Whilst we're on the subject of history's greatest double album, let's talk about distillation.  I've heard a fair few double albums in my time (I'm talking double CDs right now, because that is how I roll), and almost all of them could've have had more impact if the artists had reined themselves in a little.  But how to assemble such a streamlined disc? 

Mellon Collie is the most obvious counter-example, and thus a perfect place to start: if we can do it to the Pumpkins magnum opus, we can do it to anything.

So here's the rules. Each of you can leave in comments up to five tracks from the album you consider utterly untouchable. Only one such vote guarantees the safety of a song: we are now the United Nations Security Council of Mellon Collie tracks.  Each of you may also leave up to five songs you'd not miss if they dropped off the album.  The final track listing will consist of those songs either no-one chose to drop, or at least one person chose to keep.

I've been running this idea for a few days already, and had a couple of responses.  My own choice for five essentials are "Zero", "Muzzle", "Porcelina of the Vast Oceans", "Thirty-three" and "1979", and I wouldn't bat an eyelid if "Here Is No Why", "To Forgive", "Love", "Tales Of A Scorched Earth" and "X.Y.U." were erased from the timestream tomorrow.

On the other hand, JJ wants so save "Fuck You (An Ode To No-one)", "Galapagos", "Porcelina", "Thru The Eyes Of Ruby" and "XYU".  This, tragically, already guarantees a place for "X.YU.", one of the worst songs ever created by human hands - and one that's desperately unfair to jackals, as well - but them's the breaks.  JJ is willing (for a given value of willing) to dispense with "Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness" (unacceptable!), "Love", "Cupid de Locke" (fair enough), "Take Me Down" (somewhere in America James Iha just started crying and he doesn't know why) and "Beautiful" (also fair enough).

But wait!  Fonz is here to complicate the issue, saving "Here Is No Why" (actually, there's a lot of why; like, WHY!?!), "Bullet With Butterfly Wings" , "Galapagos", "In The Arms Of Sleep" and "Thru The Eyes Of Ruby".  He'll also let me drop "Tales Of A Scorched Earth", which is something, I suppose.

As it stands, then we have two track lists. The absolute bare minimum are in green:

Tonight Tonight (Update: now safe thanks to Jamie)
Here Is No Why
Bullet With Butterfly Wings
Fuck You (An Ode To No-one)
Porcelina Of The Vast Oceans
Where Boys Fear To Tread
In The Arms Of Sleep
Thru The Eyes Of Ruby

We Only Come Out At Night
By Starlight
Farewell And Goodnight

At present our essentials would be a single album, but with only agreed upon chaff removed, we're still at the double album stage.  But c'mon, people!  There must be other Pumpkins fans out there.  Let's mindsmash this thing!  Once we've shaved off or saved a few more songs, it'll be time to start figuring out a new track order, and that's where the fun really starts...

1 comment:

Jamie said...

I'm surprised no-one else has saved it yet, but I would definitely keep 'Tonight, Tonight'. I can't remember the album well enough to want to start jettisoning anything beyond what you already have though.