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Judeo-Christian Themes in the Smashing Pumpkins’ Oceania, Part 11: The Lost Son

"So many lives...a runaway life...please come back..."

by
Chris Queen

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December 8, 2013 - 10:00 am
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prodigal-son

Welcome to Week 11 of my series exploring Judeo-Christian themes in the Smashing Pumpkin’s 2012 album Oceania. If you’ve been following this series, you know that we’ve looked at the themes of the seeker, the sacred Name of God, wisdom, unfaithfulness, hope, unfailing love, repentance, the way, and faith. Last week, we looked at the concept of contentment in the lyrics to Track 11, “Glissandra.”

This week, we’re looking at Track 9, “Pale Horse,” which is a mid-tempo rocker with a steady rhythm. In the lyrics, Corgan signs to someone who is separated from him. (References to the antipsychotic drug Thorazine and the line “When they locked you up they shut me out” suggest that the song refers to someone in a mental institution.)

I’ll admit that I had some trouble seeing anything in the lyrics that I could write about, so I skipped past it for a couple of weeks. But this week, as I was preparing to write this post, certain lyrics made me think of one of the most poignant stories in the Bible:

If I was to listen, I’d turn back
Give up on my reasons
Forgive up the past
You think I’d swallow that?

[...]

There’ll be no others
There’ll be no long lost friends
Empty on the insides
Empty of a last pretense
To stand by on feeling of the end
So many lives
A runaway life
So many lies

[...]

So many lives
A runaway life
Please come back
Please come back

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