Today is my birthday, and in celebration I’m sharing the incredible stop-motion video for The Smashing Pumpkins‘ timeless love song, Thirty Three. It’s not just one of my favorite tunes of all time, but one of the best videos from my childhood.
and for a moment I lose myself
wrapped up in the pleasures of the world
The band was already huge at the time, but when the double album Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness dropped in 1995, it was like a massive bomb clearing away the last remnants of grunge. The Smashing Pumpkins may have broken through in the age of Nirvana and Stone Temple Pilots, but their sound was always deeply indebted to the heavy metal of Black Sabbath and the narcotized psychedelia of early Pink Floyd. There was no direct connection to the understated rage of indie punk or college rock; instead they thrived on bombast, taking excess as a Platonic ideal.
A two-plus hour juggernaut was just what was needed to launch the band into the stratosphere. The album veered from brutal noise to the most delicately poisoned acoustic ballads, with massive stretches of unabashed pop and hard edged psychedelic rock in between. It was practically my entire life in 7th grade. As a 13 year old, I’d play one disc, then the other, rotating in my little boombox all night long at points. It was a sound world to live inside and I made it my own.
The Smashing Pumpkins are the one band that’s been with me longest, the only one that’s survived a fandom stretching well over two decades. I was into bands before them, and I’ve grown to love many artists even more over the years, but they’re the one musical remnant from my childhood that I’m thankful to have never let go. It’s wild to think that when I first heard this song, I couldn’t fathom being 33 years old. Now here I am, an Actual Adult, relishing in the sounds that swelled my heart so long ago.
Anyone who reads this blog knows that I live out a never ending quest for The Next Thing, the weirdest and newest sounds, the greatest adventures possible in music. Yet anyone who knows me personally is well aware of my penchant for radiant nostalgia, that hormonal impulse to shout along to the lyrics that tattooed my youth. It’s no shame to indulge in the past, especially when my pleasures are anything but guilty.
I hope you can appreciate the corny grandeur and earnest wonder of this song as much as I do. It’s a real pleasure to find myself at this age feeling as youthful as I’ve ever been. This is an affirmation that I will never let that optimistic outlook die. I’m excited for what’s next.