[from The A.V. Club Chicago / September 14, 2009]
Late last week, Smashing Pumpkins front man Billy Corgan (with unspecified help from his 701 personalities) launched Everything From Here To There, a new website for exploring non-denominational “Mind-Body-Soul integration within the context of holistic Truth.” Corgan’s new forum may surprise some fans, but The A.V. Club dug out Corgan’s old lyric sheets and found his mind-body-soul-searching future is also his mind-body-soul-searching past.
1. “You’re all a part of me now / and if I fall / you’re all a part of me now / in the sun” (“The Sacred And Profane” from Machina/The Machines Of God)
Superficially, Machina was a concept album not just about a fictitious band but by one as well, though Corgan later admitted Machina was meant to represent the real-life Pumpkins. But the doubly meta nature of the album suggested a larger consciousness (and more overt pretentiousness) to Corgan’s songwriting, and notions of an all-encompassing, conditionally heliocentric existence would later inform Corgan’s self-answered, site-launching question of “For who is God if not Us?” “Us” in this light referring to Corgan himself, of course.
2. “But I knew exactly where I was / and I knew the meaning of it all / and I knew the distance to the sun” (“Muzzle” from Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness)
The stream-of-consciousness litany of cosmic street smarts in “Muzzle” could be construed as a young stoner retelling his first experience with LSD. In hindsight, it becomes Corgan’s first overt claim of achieving the singular knowledge later communicated through his more recent and spiritually focused musical output—not to mention the long-winded, self-declared expertise posited on his new site and occasionally inward-looking blog posts and tweets.
3. “Hipsters unite / come align for the big fight to rock for you / but beware / all those angels with their wings glued on” (“Cherub Rock” from Siamese Dream)
As far back as 1993, Corgan relied frequently on religious imagery as metaphor (even when singing about such earthly fare as the big, bad record company) and his penchant for iconography earned him considerable adulation coupled with some serious misinterpretation and occasionally misguided devotion. His lyrics were generally more grounded at the time, but the idea of potentially bogus, otherworldly soldiers up to no good resonates in his assertions about what a benevolent angel is capable of—as well as in his self-described spirituality discussion forum that doesn’t allow reader comments.
4. “A single weed gets respect / I’ll change my quills to break the will / forever must hold” (“All Things Change” from TheFutureEmbrace)
Far out, man. Far out.