Release Date: Jul 23, 2013
Record label: Capitol
Genre(s): Alternative Pop/Rock
Let’s can the mock suspense and acknowledge the absurdity of this rerelease as a starting point rather than a conclusion. The Aeroplane Flies High is not a beloved obscurity, nor is it a canonical album celebrating a milestone anniversary. It’s not even an album: it’s a widely available, 16-year old collection of B-sides from a double album. Granted, the Smashing Pumpkins' Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness was more judiciously edited than the title would lead you to believe.
The Smashing Pumpkins' 1996 box set release, The Aeroplane Flies High, represented the end of Pumpkins era mark one. After culminating their '90s dominance in 1995's epic double album, Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, Billy Corgan and company released The Aeroplane Flies High, a box set of singles from Mellon Collie and assorted B-sides cut during the album sessions. Pumpkins devotees greeted the set with great enthusiasm.
Smashing Pumpkins fans could never justly feel as though they’ve been left wanting. The band’s history has been one of oversharing before oversharing meant LiveJournals and cleverly angled MySpace profile pictures. The very first clue that the Pumpkins kept a vast treasure trove of recorded material on hand at any time was the post-Siamese Dream rarities collection Pisces Iscariot.
Three years ago, The Independent‘s Fiona Sturges wrote a feature called “Imagine no new artists, just endless re-releases” in which she examined the artistic and financial aspects of reissued albums. She concluded by observing that “artist back catalogues are part of our cultural heritage, something to be cherished and preserved, not degraded and exploited”. In Sturges’ view, record companies do a disservice to the culture and to consumers by offering subpar reissues of older albums with little in the way of new content and by repackaging “relatively new” albums with bonus content just to “extend the shelf life”.
When Billy Corgan does a reissue programme he doesn't piss around - even his box sets are getting their own box set. The original Aeroplane Flies High came out in 1996, rounding up the five singles from the all-conquering Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness record and expanding each into a six or seven track mini-album. The resulting collection had as many new tracks as its mammoth parent LP, a testimony to Corgan and co's almost comically prolific output at the time.