Yesterday, the Smashing Pumpkins posted two pictures of the box set on their Instagram account. We were looking over the box ourselves, which we were able to secure at a local record store. They didn’t have the lithograph yet, so we are still waiting on that. In this inside review, we will try to curb our excitement about this release and give you some insight into what you can expect without giving too much away.
The box itself is the same size as the other deluxe editions (other than MCIS). It is just a little deeper than then the rest of the boxes. Also, each sleeve has a really cool foil printing effect on the side.
The booklet has a staple side rather than a 3 hole binder. Inside the booklet we find the track by track notes, but strangely 3 songs don’t have notes (the boy, cherry, and mouths of babes) but the tracks that are noted do not disappoint. One of the comments that we found interesting right away was for The Bell, where Billy wrote “One thing I thought interesting for some future, limited release would be to take all the Mellon Collie songs, put ‘em in a rabbit’s hat, and pull out those needed to form a fresh look at the work as a whole. I’m casting my vote for this one now.”
Let’s move on to the bonus tracks. The gravity demos sound amazing, just like all past leaked tracks that were fixed up for Mellon Collie. Both On the Loose and Movers and Shakers are instrumental tracks that are nothing short of pure rock power. The track Little Ditty is just that; a little ditty followed with a tease of a song that I am sure long time Pumpkins fans will recognize right away.
The bonus tracks on the 1979 disc include Marquis In Spades (Acoustic 8 Track Demo) which sounds like it could have been recorded at the same time as the Bullet acoustic demo with some early lyrics. Have Love Will Travel (8 Track Demo) is actually the “unknown instrumental” found on Mellon Collie Demos ii. Infinite Sadness sounds flat out amazing, with a really vibrant sound that I haven’t heard from the many rips I have previously listened to. The track Star Song is mostly instrumental til the end with some outstanding early lyrics. And if you wanted a karaoke version of Take Me Down, you got it.
The Double Door rehearsals and live tracks are just a great insight. The band was firing on all cylinders. The rehearsals are like your own personal recording of a high quality soundcheck. I love Mouths of Babes and Here is no Why. Although the tracks sound very familiar to the final product that ended up on official releases, you may find these live versions to be just a historical record of how much the band seemed to be on a mission to surpass their contemporaries. The extremely rare live tracks Meladori Magpie, God and Ugly is a rather special treat to hear live. The tracks Love, Pissant and Hello Kitty Kat are all performed with such great intensity, it makes me wonder what the Double Door crowd was like during those songs- nothing short of a riot, I imagine. The final two live tracks, Special Winner’s Song and I Just Wanna Make Love To You continue to show you a unique side of the band, especially Special Winner’s Song where an introduction of the band by James is simply classic Iha.
The selection of live tracks from the Mellon Collie tour is a masterful compilation of some of the best performances from the era, which will possibly become one of your CD player’s favorite live disc. The version of Tonight, Tonight gives fans who may have not been around at the time a new look at the song. Thirty-Three has a slightly more twangy sound and Lily has a unique lively and fun feel.
Finally, the DVD which will be broadcast tonight (starting in a few hours) has a great setlist. If you don’t get the chance to watch it all, make sure you take a peek at Transformer.