Cathartathon

Feel it in your heart now.
Feel it in your heart now.

So, I used to love the Smashing Pumpkins.

What I am about to say embarrasses me, but so few people look at this blog that the security factor is approximately the same as writing this to myself in one of my journals.

When I was in high school, one of my most transcendent and religious experiences occurred not while I prayed with thousands of “pilgrims” at the feet of JPII, not while I pondered the meanings of the universe via Mr. McCurry’s philosophy class, not when my mind got blown after reading Tuesday Lobsang Rampa’s weirdass Buddhist/science fiction book, “The Third Eye.” Religion be darned, the only altar I ever knew was rocknroll’s. Billy Corgan once said that rocknroll was like god to a 15-year-old, and I concur wholeheartedly. Thus, my most transcendent experience occurred while listening to the song Thru The Eyes of Ruby, aka track 7 off “Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness,” that 2-album long bombast of Billy Corgan and friends.

The wind was blowing through my open window. It was March. Ruby is on the blue disc of Mellon Collie. Blue (Twilight to Starlight, as it was called) stood for night. And sadness. Infinite sadness. The pink disc (Dawn to Dusk) was for the day-time. Get it? All the rockin’ singles were from the pink disc (Bullet with Butterfly Wings, Zero). All the contemplative songs were from the blue one (Thirty Three, 1979).

So, Thru the Eyes of Ruby isn’t about much of anything, unless you’re into hardcore Billy Corgan mythology. Who is Ruby? Doubtless someone in the self-indulgent world of Billy: a codename for a lover or a mother, probably. What does the song sound like? Like a prototypical rock epic from the 90’s. It’s a little psychedelic, a little metal, a little emo. I can be callous about it now, but this song pulled at my heart-strings good and long. There are lots of sweeping crescendos and decrescendos, serpentine guitar lines and then slow building to the CLIMAX OF ROCKPOCALYPSE!!!

In other words, I was a sucker for Wagner operas condensed into rocknroll formats. And I still am.

So, for you listening pleasure (and pain!), and hopefully also mine, I am compiling a list of the most cathartic songs (for me). Once the songs are compiled, the subsequent playlist would clearly be called “Catharathon,” as is, a marathon of catharsis.

Thus far I have thought of these tracks.

1. Hounds of Love (Kate Bush)

2. Solitary Man (Neil Diamond)

3. Daniel (Bat For Lashes [I know this is a new one so it is not tested by time. But clearly, it’s a great song for all time.])

4. The Rat (Walkmen)

5. Sunday Bloody Sunday (u2)

6. Jesus Walks (Kanye West)

7. Hey Joni (Sonic Youth)

8. How Soon Is Now (The Smiths)

9. Black Swan (Thom Yorke) [or, Radiohead’s I Will, Pyramid Song, Street Spirit {remember that one?!}, etc]

You get the idea, right? These are the most classic songs from pretty much the most classic people. There are hundreds of other songs that have made me weep a tear of empathetic sadness, shake a fist in empathetic rage, rejoice in emphatetic delight, but these are perhaps the ones who helped me have the most meaningful cathartathons.

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4 thoughts on “Cathartathon

  1. just wanted to leave you a note that i have added this blog to my most recent Media Siren Post on Smashingpumpkins.com. look for it later this afternoon.

  2. the most rock and roll thing that ever happened to me was while the Rat was playing. I got a tooth smashed into my skull. I don’t think I’ve ever had a cathartic experience with a song like that since 😦

  3. Through the eyes of ruby was one of my 96 epic play over and over to impress people who never listen to non hits songs. Still love it. After that album though the pumpkins became something I mostly ignored. I bought zeitgeist and just sat there listening to it going “this is NOT the same experience.”

  4. Pingback: Hipsters United

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