I’ve managed to collect a ton of official guitar songbook PDFs for various albums which are totally accurate and verified. I thought I’d make a masterpost for anyone who would like to use them! These links should send you to Google Drive and you can download them from there.
The sonic audacity of “Love” prepares us for this song. But thematically, lyrically, we couldn’t be further away. Which is perfect. Rests and caesuras are the key to successful sequencing, and part of my overarching theme is that Mellon Collie’s ultimate success comes down to its masterful sense of movement.
But that’s a cold way of looking at this, isn’t it? We’ve gone from sexual desolation to rainbow-cloud-unicorns, and I’m talking about something so mundane as sequencing? Look, this is another first. Another song that’s never quite happened before. Another voyage into the unknown.
A whimsical, psychedelic dandy doffs his top hat and bows deeply, reaching into his voluminous coat pocket to procure the most extravagant of bouquets. As he does, harp-bearing cherubs descend, the rope-harnesses nearly invisible. He straightens, offering you the flowers, fluttering his eyes. You pause, unsure. He flinches imperceptibly, but recovers, smiling even brighter (a single silver tooth catches the light). He tosses the bouquet in the air— the flowers explode, revealing themselves to’ve been paper all along. You’re so surprised by the trick, you don’t notice him reaching back into his coat. You shudder, suddenly. A weight slams against your breast. You look back to him, and wonder in his smile— confident, but more than a little wolfish. You wonder at the bow in his arms, then look down to see an arrow stuck through your chest, little daubs of blood just beginning to seep through your blouse. You collapse, but he’s there to catch you. Your eyes close.
Of course, for all the harps and whimsy and beauty (and “doths” “haths” and “narys”), we aren’t content to leave it at ‘love.’ There’s a darkness in this. Billy Corgan knows that harps conjure the image of heaven. But the image of heaven requires death. The idea of Cupid, too, fits in with this. He’s a terrifying murderous baby. I mean, sure, his bows are magic. But the act of shooting an arrow into the heart of one you desire is kind of a violent metaphor.
But violent metaphors are the name of the game at this point. “Cupid De Locke” might sound cheerful and built for slideshows of your boyfriend. But it’s not. We should know better. We’re fooled by the sound, but we’re not out of the woods yet. This is the cruel joke, the times you plaster on a smile and say you’re okay, yes everything is fine. I’ve got love— I’m in heaven.
Yet attractive as the idea of heaven as the ultimate reward, you still have to die to achieve it. Which is much the same as Billy’s notions of “love” that he’s putting forth on Mellon Collie.
Never been in love, to speak of. I was in love once, maybe, and it was an awful experience. It rotted me, drained me, and it was a disease. Hateful thing, it was. Being in love is something that breeds brute anger and jealousy, everything but love, it seems.
Billy Corgan (and myself, for what it’s worth [nothing]) shared the same views. “Cupid De Locke,” then, is Billy’s “Ring Around The Rosie.” It’s a nursery rhyme, a dance for children, making extreme light of the rotting death held within. “Ring Around The Rosie”’s (apparently apocryphal) death is the plague. “Cupid De Locke’s” is love. Sweet, bitter, love. Impaled by an arrow.
Bleeding through the heart.
In keeping with the whimsy, Billy amends to the song the most audacious moment to yet grace a Smashing Pumpkins song. A spoken-word verse over the song’s coda:
And in the land of star crossed lovers
and barren hearted wanderers
Forever lost in forsaken missives and satan’s pull
We seek the unseekable,
and we speak the unspeakable
Our hopes dead, gathering dust to dust,
in faith, in compassion, and in love.
What sort of land is this? Even spoken, hushed, over the twinkling landscape of the instrumentation, it’s still so unwelcoming. Love seems a desert, full of the blind. Pulled by unseen hands, unknowing of the presence of the rest. The goal is still ostensibly to find “another,” whatever who or what that might be. The blind wander the desert, speaking in tongues, following the red demon of the heart.
And all hopes of escape are scorched, burned away, cast over the blackened cracked sand. Sticking out amongst the bones is faith long since decimated (what is there to believe in?), and compassion turned to crude oil (love is secretly the most selfish of emotions). And ashes, ashes, ashes, ashes, ashes.
THE SMASHING PUMPKINS’ career-defining 1995 double album MELLON COLLIE & THE INFINITE SADNESS has earned Diamond certification by theRIAA for sales of 10,000,000 discs and digital equivalent per disc (5 million copies of the double album). This news comes in the midst of EMI Music’s extensive reissue campaign honoring the legacy of the iconic alternative band. It continues December 3 in North America and December 4internationally with the PUMPKINS’ fourth album MELLON COLLIE & THE INFINITE SADNESS receiving the fully remastered treatment for the first time. This follows last year’s acclaimed reissues (*see quotes below) of the band’s groundbreaking first two albums, Gish (1991)and Siamese Dream (1993), as well as this past summer’s PISCES ISCARIOT (1994), the band’s third album.