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Judeo-Christian Themes in the Smashing Pumpkins’ Oceania, Part 4: The Unfaithful Lover

The adulterer Billy Corgan sings to in “Violet Rays” is like humanity, whom a loving God takes back over and over.

by
Chris Queen

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October 20, 2013 - 1:00 pm
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infidelity

Welcome back to our series on Judeo-Christian themes and values in the Smashing Pumpkins’ 2012 album Oceania. If you haven’t been following this series, here’s a quick recap, along with links to the prior posts. We’ve looked at the concept of the seeker of God in “Panopticon,” at the Sacred Name of God in “Quasar,” and at the idea of sharing wisdom in “The Celestials” (and of course I was on vacation last week).

This week, we’re checking out track 4, “Violet Rays.” This track doesn’t rock as much as the prior songs — in fact, it’s downright subdued by comparison. Over a 6/8 time signature and a haunting beat, Corgan sings from the point of view of a lover with a wandering eye and heart.

Faithless moors
Pulling up your oars
From rivers I have crossed
In magic no heart’s lost

And I’ll leave with anyone this night
And I’ll kiss anyone tonight

Am I the only one you see?
Raised from the path of revelry

Spells fall frail
Webs catching sail
In eternal eternities
Divine purpose catching free

And I’ll leave with anyone this night
And I’ll kiss anyone tonight

Clearly, this person is looking to cheat or has cheated — or both. I’ve read suggestions that Corgan wrote this song about a girlfriend who cheated on him, but he has apparently refused to confirm or deny.

Interestingly enough, the Bible employs the metaphor of the unfaithful lover to describe God’s people — particularly the nation of Israel — as they wander and stray from Him.

In Deuteronomy 30, as the Israelites are on the verge of taking the Promised Land, God warns the nation of the consequences of both faithfulness and unfaithfuness to Him:

15 See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. 16 For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess.

17 But if your heart turns away and you are not obedient, and if you are drawn away to bow down to other gods and worship them, 18 I declare to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess.

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