Before Facebook, Twitter, and instant messenger, there was The Smashing Pumpkins and Billy Corgan’s distinctive brand of shareable angst. The mark of a Really Good Band is its ability to remain relevant to listeners 5, 10, 20 years after inception, and The Smashing Pumpkins did this for me with albums like Siamese Dream and Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness. Now I’m selling everything and feel vaguely ho-hum about it. What does it mean to sell a collection of things you once found invaluable?
You’re divorcing the part of yourself that lived in the music. The Smashing Pumpkins of the early to mid-90′s was predominantly a teenage orientated band, and songs like “Zero” and “Disarm” resonated with kids that dragged around a bag of circumstances from which they seemingly couldn’t escape. But you do escape, and often without the music. I mostly liked the album art, which evoked an Alice In Wonderland aesthetic and contributed to Corgan’s theme of “misspent youth“:
Apathy is worse than hate. Every summer I found myself wondering why there’s a corner of my room that remained perpetually dust-covered. Sometimes I flipped through the collection to examine the cover art, but the music itself remained untouched. If a CD collection is losing its intended function, pass it on to someone that can restore its purpose.
Life happens. The band was not out to comfort, or even to shake your hand, but it did make listeners who felt alone less alone. You were a part of some community that existed only in the radiowaves, and you got to be all esoteric and viciously protective about it, like you were guarding a moonlit prowling haven for a three-legged unicorn that only you (and your schizoid best friend with a sideways glare that rivals Daria Morgendorffer’s) should know about. But after wave upon wave of New Things, the band that was once the center of your universe is now lodged in a gobstopper that orbits Everything Else.
A collage of Victorian otherness from Wisconsin artist John Craig’s cranium, and the distinctive eardrum-grating growls of an Illinois boy who saw the other side: this was life for a while. I can conclude this by talking about how the love of a band that cushioned your adolescence is still alive and well into your 20′s, or how no longer having said band in your life would be akin to being trapped in Pleasantville without the movie magic or comedic interludes, but that would be a lie. And kind of the point.