Lyric of the Day #18: “Cherub Rock” by The Smashing Pumpkins

15 Jun

“Freak out, And give in , Doesn’t matter what you thought you knew, Stay cool, And be somebody’s fool this year , ’cause they know ,Who is righteous, What is bold , So I’m told , Who wants honey, As long as there’s some money ,Who wants that honey?”

This is the first verse to The Smashing Pumpkins 1993 premiere single from their second studio album “Siamese Dream”.  To understand the lyrics to a song one must understand the title and a Cherub is a form of angel usually depicted as a little toddler in art.  But the lyrics still don’t really make sense, what does a song basically titled Angel Rock have to do with the first verse.  Well here’s verse two:

“Hipsters unite , Come align for the big fight to rock for you , But beware , All those angels, with their wings glued on , ’cause deep down , They are frightened and they’re scared , If you don’t stare”

Now the song is starting to make more sense, if you put the two verses together the lyrics are describing the battle between bands artistic visions and the record companies that are trying to rope them into their label to profit form them.  the best line in those two verses I find is “But beware, All those angels with their wings glued on” which implies that the bands are coerced by agents who seem nice at first but it’s only an act, hence the glued on wings.  The chorus is also has a very deep meaning, “Who wants honey, as long as there’s some money” is a reference to the record companies tempting the bands with all the fame and fortune but only if they are brining in money for the company which reflects the bands feelings of being used by their label (Virgin Records). 

The ending lyrics is lead singer Billy Corgan (also known for other projects including Zwan and his solo career both during The Smashing Pumpkins 6 year (200-2006) hiatus) repeating over a few times “Let Me Out” which implies that he is aware of the record labels corrupting but can’t really do anything about it since he wouldn’t be able to perform and record without their help.  Now a days it’s easier for bands to survive without a huge record label backing them since there are so many indie labels around so it is easier for a band to find the label that suits them the best instead of being forced to side with just one because they are being offered a contract at that time.

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