I watched Pan’s Labyrinth for the first time tonight so I was feeling pretty melancholy. This song is perfect when you’re in that dark kind of mood. It’s sad, haunting and beautiful. The style is simple; it’s a solo cello piece with the ambient noise of a river in the background. The cello is a really under-appreciated instrument which is truly beautiful when played well, as it is done here. This song is best listened to when you’re feeling somber and it’s the middle of the night. When you want to reflect on sad things.
(I found this version of the song while searching on YouTube, where the actual album version does not seem to exist! This seems to be a home video of Billy Corgan playing this song with some improvisation on his piano. The album part of the song begins at around the two minute mark. Billy is wearing a Christmas jumper in this so I thought it was rather appropriate for the time of year!)
(This is a cover I found that involves significantly less banging of the piano 😛 It’s pretty much identical to the album version so you might prefer listening to it instead.)
I would say that a lot of people would be surprised to hear that Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness is probably my favorite song by the Smashing Pumpkins; it’s quite different from their usual fare. I’ve always loved piano music, and this song is, I think, a really beautiful example of the wonderful emotional depth that a piano can express. I don’t think anyone could argue that the piano isn’t the greatest instrument of all time. One of the things that’s so impressive about this song is that despite it only consisting of a single instrument, it has a truly full sound and quality to it (though in the actual album version there is a subtle string arrangement added in as well). It grabs you and it fills you and you feel the emotions. I think that it’s a song that is perfectly named because when you listen to it you really do experience what might be called “infinite sadness”. And any song that can touch you in that way is something that should be considered to be truly special.