Album: Mellon Collie and The Infinite Sadness
. . .
Probably because they’d written and recorded nearly 60 songs for Mellon Collie and The Infinite Sadness, it was a much more organic recording process than when they made Siamese Dream, as James Iha and D’arcy Wretzky got to contribute their own guitar and bass parts, though Billy Corgan would still obsessively overdub a zillion guitars on every song.
That said, I think you could hear it on a song like “Muzzle,” my favorite song on the album, and Billy’s attempt to get out in front of his haters. I think it’s one of his biggest and most beautiful anthems.
“Muzzle” starts with a couple of guitar chords, and Corgan exclaiming.
That I am ordinary
Just like everyone
And as an extra-long kit-spanning Jimmy Chamberlin drum roll brings the in the full band — guitars humming like powerlines —
To lie here and die among the sorrows
Adrift among the days
For everything I ever said
And everything I’ve ever done is gone
But he was also writing about the end of his relationship, making it explicit in the chorus:
As all things must surely have to end
And great loves will one day have to part
I know that I am meant for this world
The music on “Muzzle” ebbs and flows, rises and falls, but other than that, it’s not that tricky of an arrangement, especially as the song rolls forward, anchored by the parts where everything just stops and Billy Corgan sings over a guitar. My favorite is second verse, as everything abruptly stops at the end of the first chorus so that Billy Corgan can give the game away.
Blessed and cursed and won
Time heals but I’m forever broken
By and by the way
Have you ever heard the words
I’m singing in these songs?
It’s for the girl I’ve loved all along
Can a taste of love be so wrong?
And, of course again at the end, as he reflects upon . . . well, everything:
But I knew exactly where I was
And I knew the meaning of it all
And I knew the distance to the sun
And I knew the echo that is love
And I knew the secrets in your spires
And I knew the emptiness of youth
And I knew the solitude of heart
And I knew the murmurs of the soul
And the world is drawn into your hands
And the world is etched upon your heart
And the world so hard to understand
Is the world you can’t live without
And I knew the silence of the world
As he sings this list, the band comes in — a stray bass line here, a slow drum build there, another crunchy guitar bigger and bigger until he sings “and I knew the murmurs of the soul” as the band builds and builds and builds, guitar arcing every which way until he gets the the climax, just repeating as he holds out “is the world you can’t live withouuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuut.
“and I knew the silence of the world” as his band just gets louder and louder in order to drown out that silence.
“Muzzle” wasn’t ever a single, though they did send promo copies out to radio stations, where it was a top ten in radio play on both the Mainstream Rock and Alt Rock formats. And it no doubt contributed to Mellon Collie and The Infinite Sadness topping the Billboard albums chart, though probably not as much as tomorrow’s song did.
“Muzzle” live in Düsseldorf, 1996
“Muzzle” Live Acoustic at the 1997 Bridge Show
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