How Did I Miss The Boat?

Earlier that year I discovered that the kiosk in the Basel train station sold The Rolling Stone magazine.

I am returning home from a client’s. I get to the record reviews. The album is described as an ambitious attempt to create a Wall for the 90’s. The concept is weak, the music less  so.

I am intrigued. I am also wondering how it is that I have never heard of The Smashing Pumpkins.

I have to change trains. My ritual for the Bern train station is a stop at the CD shop. Mellon Collie and The Infinite Sadness is on listen and on sale. I like what I hear and the album joins my collection.

Even though no one knows, I am still embarrassed that they are new to me. I fill in the blanks of my knowledge about the group. The positives are about the music, the negatives about the singer.

Over time I see that whenever someone actively dislikes the band, I hear comments about Billy Corgan’s pretentiousness, arrogance and other ad hominems. After a while I figure out a why: the programming director of the local indie-rock station did not like Billy Corgan.

“Shakedown 1979
Cool kids never have the time
On a live wire
Right up off the street
You and I should meet

Junebug skipping like a stone
With the headlights pointed at the dawn
We were sure we’d never see an end
To it all

And I don’t even care
To shake these zipper blues
And we don’t know
Just where our bones will rest
To dust I guess
Forgotten and absorbed
Into the earth below

Double cross the vacant and the bored
They’re not sure just what we have in store
Morphine city slippin’ dues
Down to see

That we don’t even care
As restless as we are
We feel the pull
In the land of a thousand guilts
And poured cement
Lamented and assured
To the lights and towns below
Faster than the speed of sound
Faster than we thought we’d go
Beneath the sound of hope

Justine never knew the rules
Hung down with the freaks and the ghouls
No apologies ever need be made
I know you better than you fake it
To see

That we don’t even care
To shake these zipper blues
And we don’t know
Just where our bones will rest
To dust I guess
Forgotten and absorbed
Into the earth below

The street heats the urgency of now
As you can see there’s no one around” — The Smashing Pumpkins, “1979,” Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness (1995)

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5 thoughts on “How Did I Miss The Boat?”

  1. Yeah, he put me off. I liked some of the tunes and lyrics, the sentiment, quite a bit — but saw him live once and man, that was it. Not interested. He was baiting the audience, trying to get people pissed off, and it worked, but to what end I don’t know.

    1. Maybe he misunderstood punk attitude meant.

      Music, like everywhere else I guess, has some talented people with attitude problems. As long as it doesn’t show up in the tunes, I can always ‘just’ enjoy the CDs.

      1. I’m going to play that 1979 song now, you put it in my head and I was humming it just now after dinner– thanks, it’s a good one. He was on to something.

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