The Aeroplane Flies High contains all five singles -- "Bullet With Butterfly Wings," "1979," "Zero," "Tonight, Tonight," "Thirty-Three" -- from Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness in a box set shaped like a 45 single carrying case from the '60s. Though the set contains all of the B-sides from the five singles, the running order isn't quite the same as the original releases; for example, in its original release, "Butterfly Wings" only had two B-sides, but it is augmented for covers of new wave artists like the Cars, Blondie, and Missing Persons. In total, the box set has more songs than Mellon Collie, and, by and large, the quality of the music is quite strong. Occasionally, Billy Corgan's prolificacy gets the better of him; there are a number of songs where his reach exceeds his grasp, and he doesn't quite come up with an engaging melody to match his detailed production. At other times, his musical experimentations catch hold, such as when he delves into jazz or orchestrated pop. Still, all of these pleasures are ones that are only of interest to dedicated Smashing Pumpkins fans who already know Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness inside and out. A casual fan will have a hard time sorting out the wheat from the chafe on The Aeroplane Flies High, but that work will be a pleasure for the diehards.
© Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo