[Rotten Apples], the Smashing Pumpkins’ first greatest hits album, was a good and a fair introduction to the Chicago alternative rock band’s work. A representative number of singles were extracted from all of the band’s then major releases, in addition to a then new and unreleased track, “Untitled.” But, IMHO, greatest hits compilation albums are an even more contested form of territory than regular albums / long plays (LPs).
With regular LPs, sometimes (rarely) a listener will strike gold and find an artist who has or will produce a string of albums of legendary status, without any filler. For instance, the Beatles from [Rubber Soul] to [Abbey Road]. But for the most part, audiences without the benefit of hindsight must take a regular LP as a whole, from good tracks to so-so and to bad… the needle along with the entire haystack.
Greatest hits compilation albums, meanwhile, seek to utilize hindsight to give new listeners a product that represents an established artist’s best—charting—songs. These LPs ought to satisfy the majority of listeners with proven singles, and maybe a few new or rare songs as a lure for fans. But then, hit songs are not necessarily great and iconic songs. And, for economic reasons, mass-market single disc compilation LPs may suffer from a picking and choosing of what to include due to a limited playtime.
Hindsight may allow labels to harvest the best or most representative songs of an artist, but in the case of the Smashing Pumpkins’, one does not simply cull the four biggest singles from [Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness] and then call it a day. Those songs were very much part and parcel of a contiguous, thematic whole. While fairness might have ruled the day, as it did with Bruce Springsteen’s 1995 [Greatest Hits], that I believe is missing another third of [Born in the U.S.A.], Virgin should’ve also included “Thirty-Three” and perhaps also “Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness” and “Galapogos” in [Rotten Apples]!
Then again, I already own [Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness] in multiple formats….
Fresh: “Drown,” “Landslide,” “Eye,” “Ava Adore,” “Perfect.”
Certified Fresh: “Today,” “Disarm,” “Bullet with Butterfly Wings,” “1979,” “Zero,” “Tonight, Tonight,” “The Everlasting Gaze,” “Stand Inside Your Love.”
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