|09-27-2017, 11:20 AM||#1021|
it would be awful if he actually recorded new parts for this. i assume it's still trapped in legal limbo. i know they already started culling material for the reissue, but that was years ago...
|02-15-2018, 02:28 PM||#1024|
Location: I'm a quitter. I come from a long line of quitters. It's amazing I'm here at all.
i absolutely never learn.
I really thought there was a chance this bigboy countdown announcement would come with - a new single, the tour dates, and the sale date of the machina reissue.
(importance being the other way around.)
to get the old fanbase (part of it) from back then a tiny bit interested to still go see them on the sell-out tour, when you get the machina reissue around the same time.
silly me. (also what a wasted opportunity.)
|02-15-2018, 02:30 PM||#1026|
Location: I'm a quitter. I come from a long line of quitters. It's amazing I'm here at all.
an issue that was not solved in how many years now? yea... I bet.
|02-15-2018, 02:40 PM||#1027|
Location: Freak U.S.A.
This tour announcement ended up being more like a queef rather than an explosive pants ruining shart it could have been.
Machina reissue is the only thing that can save this mess.
|02-15-2018, 02:55 PM||#1028|
|02-15-2018, 03:02 PM||#1030|
Location: I'm a quitter. I come from a long line of quitters. It's amazing I'm here at all.
hissy fit? "you clearly have no clue" little girl? "clever"?
can you be any more condescending? I told you to fuck off. and I mean it.
|02-15-2018, 03:48 PM||#1032|
we're never fucking getting this. BC knows it's the last piece people need before they close the door on the band so he'll never let it happen. Another unfinished project to add to the list
|02-23-2018, 08:51 AM||#1035|
|02-23-2018, 02:40 PM||#1037|
I'm sure it was some kind of rights/label issue, and I'm sure they have no desire to release this album. They probably didn't want to release anything after Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. At the very least, The Aeroplane Flies High came out of MCIS sessions and Adore had the promotional angle of being an "underrated" album. Machina was pretty much reviled the few months after it came out, and then quickly forgotten. Other than people who know "The Everlasting Gaze" and "Stand Inside Your Love" from the greatest hits album, I'm sure a lot of casual fans do not even know the album (or Machina II) exists. In these type of "reunion" tours, the label usually just wants a new song or two to track onto some reissue of an old greatest hits album or a new greatest hits album; something that does not cost a lot of money. It even looks like that's exactly how it will go. The band will get to drop a new single "produced" by Rick Rubin (meaning he might have jotted some notes down on a napkin after hearing a demo or slept on the couch in the studio while the band recorded) that dated from 2014/2015 and has James Iha playing a sustained note over certain parts of the song.
|02-25-2018, 03:50 PM||#1038|
Minion of Satan
Location: Minneapolis, MN
bla bla bla OK how about this one chaps?
1. Glass Theme
2. Cash Car Star
3. Imploding Voice
5. Sacred + Profane
6. Stand Inside Your Love
7. Real Love
8. Raindrops + Sunshowers
9. Glass + The Ghost Children
10. This Time
1. Everlasting Gaze
2. Try Try Try
3. Heavy Metal Machine
4. White Spyder
5. Speed Kills
6. I of the Mourning
7. Blue Skies Bring tears
8. Age of Innocence
10. With Every Light
There you go. Two 45-minute discs, ten songs each, in story/concept order. Just enough songs to communicate the story without bogging it down with bloated boring filler that drags the album (In My Body, etc).
Last edited by soniclovenoize : 02-26-2018 at 05:28 PM.
|02-25-2018, 06:14 PM||#1040|
Minion of Satan
Location: shithole country
Does anyone actually care about the story? I just want killer drums and pretty Iha leads and good vocals and loud guitar
|02-26-2018, 09:29 AM||#1045|
Location: put those panties back on the line and get the hell out of my yard
"Let me start this off just by by saying I kind of owe a debt to Netphoria's soniclovenoise for compiling his rather great 2CD Glass And The Machines Of God compilation. Can't link to it directly since it contains commercially released material, but it's not hard to find. Listening to this thing put a lot of the pieces in place for me, and made me realize it was still possible to get it closer to how Billy probably envisioned it.
To get the best possible overview of how Machina's running order should look like, one needs only to take a look at this summary Billy wrote of the plot mid-2000 and this chart of his describing the cycle that shows where a few songs should go:
Now my current tracklist is by no means definitive. It's a work in progress, a bloated director's cut. It includes every single potential track From MI and MII that could be part of the story, and still needs editing; there are a few tracks that could arguably serve similar functions plot-wise, wherein one or the other could be considered superfluous. A couple I'm not entirely sure should even be on the album. With a bit more work, I intend to pare it down to something saner, but for now my tracklist is 3CDs, and I'm, say...80% sure most things are roughly where they should be, give or take a little bit of space, assuming it belongs. This doesn't take into account specific versions of songs - it pinpoints lyrical allusions, but I've tried to make it flow well as much as possible with the versions I used, which I'll get to when I elaborate further.
Without further ado:
01. Glass' Theme
02. The Imploding Voice
03. Cash Car Star
04. Stand Inside Your Love
05. The Sacred And Profane
06. Real Love
07. Glass + The Ghost Children
09. Raindrops + Sunshowers
10. Let Me Give The World To You
01. White Spyder
02. Lucky 13
05. Speed Kills
06. Blue Skies Bring Tears
07. Heavy Metal Machine
08. The Crying Tree Of Mercury
10. Try, Try, Try
11. This Time
01. The Everlasting Gaze
03. In My Body
04. I Of The Mourning
05. If There Is A God
06. Slow Dawn
08. Here's To The Atom Bomb
09. With Every Light
10. Age Of Innocence
1. Glass' Theme:
It's all kind of right there on the front of the package, really. Billy's chart shows this as blatantly being part of the 'Opening' section: This is where we're introduced to the protagonist and learn about the life of the biggest rockstar in the world, Zero, "playing with his guns and hanging out by the pool". He's "betrayed rock and roll", long past the point where he used music to convey anything meaningful - he got famous, and became swept up in a life of megastardom and excess. And while he's used to it, he feels hollow - he's "alone in his soul", and he's shattering - under the weight of a lack of purpose and a sham of an indulgent lifestyle. Bill's chart also here points to the "Alignment with god" which leads us to...
2. The Imploding Voice:
Formerly called Virex on the chart and in early live performances. Glass finds a renewed lease on his being - all throughout his life, he's been hearing a voice in his head, but he now hears it one day coming from his radio. It identifies itself as "The I of the Radio" - contrast that with "I Am That I Am" - the voice does not directly call itself God, but the intent and identity are clear. The lyrics to this song are directly from the voice's perspective. These are its words - it knows where Glass is at, what he feels - "phase unwound, by yourself, atom bomb on the shelf, unsung (the Atom Bomb line will be important later - it's Glass' innermost view of himself as a being with incredible potential)" and what he can do to put himself back together. It provides him with comfort, confidence in himself, advice, a mission, and perhaps a warning:
"Your love must always be true, your love must always be you." This statement will be the root of Glass' mission but it doubles as foreshadowing for a woman who will come into his life.
Omniscience of the voice is implied and the future is also foreshadowed: "but ever should you put it down, you can never lose me" - "I'm with you no matter what, even if you turn your back on me."
Thus charged, Glass accepts his higher calling - the mission of spreading love that the I Of the Radio has given him - and he takes it on in the only way he knows how - spreading it through rock and roll:
3. Cash Car Star
The lyrics here are reflective of Glass' newfound mission as he reorients his band, formally renamed from "The Smashing Pumpkins to "The Machines Of God" and himself from Zero to Glass. They don't hew to the narrative as directly as some others as Cash Car Star was initially written for Adore, but they were partially rewritten to better set the tone for the zeal with which Glass tackles his new calling, from "we're speaking out of tune, we'll bleed the afternoon, kill the jacks too soon for you" (See the Adore reissue version) to "We hope you'll understand, we've got a master plan, we're an American band for you", to paraphrase Grand Funk Railroad.
Privately, Glass does wonder about the validity of his mission, though, and if he's being used by God - " 'cause when you're hypnotized, they'll spin you gold and paint you black with the blood of your surprise". He's a messenger with baggage, unable to see the world save through the lens of a jaded rockstar.
The band releases its new album, "Machina" - yes, Machina plays a part in its own narrative - and sets out on tour spreading a simple message of love (which will be focused on and sketched out a bit later - "We're coming to your town - "everybody's business is everybody's business", and through the view of Glass, that business is love.
4. Stand Inside Your Love
"for years our hero has searched for his true love, the woman of his dreams, JUNE…he called her by many names hoping that there somewhere out there she waited for him too…so one night after a concert, he saw her, and right then and there he knew he had finally found her…JUNE was his perfect reflection, everything that he was not…she brings to him the universal truths of life and living, and a life he has never had…"
Put bluntly, Glass is a fictionalized version of Billy Corgan. And what's the popular perception of Billy Corgan? A narcissist in love with himself. Whether BC based this viewpoint on a truth he feels cuts to the bone or a fictionalized media viewpoint, who can say - but to actually sketch it out in character form to me demonstrates a wry sense of humor and a capacity for good-natured self-deprecation.
The lyrics are self-evident - After meeting one night after a concert, glass has found the person of his dreams and he couldn't be happier. But another instance of foreshadowing takes place "I will breathe for the both of us". She's already his responsibility, because it's not enough for Glass to preach salvation, he has to actually be the one doing the saving. And even if he could, could he be content with only saving one person? Oh my, no...
5. The Sacred And Profane
The chorus perspective is unquestionably Glass' peal to his audience. He begins exhibiting his first signs of a literal god complex: "You're all a part of me now, in the sun". He feels ready to bring salvation to the unwashed masses - "send the bored, your restless, the feedback-scarred, devotionless". And how does a rock star cope with pressure? What gives clarity and makes one feel alive? Sex and drugs:
...what he does not realize then is that he has fallen in love with a reflection of himself…she embodies the darkness he can only write about…she lives the life of flesh and bone, one he can only think about…
"Give me sight, and barren breast, pure snow, and happiness". And you can basically thank June for that - the side of himself he won't admit is a problem until the evidence stares him in the face.
As a caveat: This song on the chart seems be involved with both Billy's "Crossroads" position for the character but also points to the section which he titles "Alone, Positive." Loneliness is a major factor in Glass' life. It's possible that this song belongs in the much later concert segment, but that would seem to conflict with the drug-fueled story elements. I place it here eith that consideration, but I could always be mistaken. For all I know, Billy could consider Glass to be truly alone until the end of the story...
6. Real Love
As I type this, I begin to think that my placing Real Love below LMGTWTY was a mistake, because this song is about a kind of rapture that could only happen when a relationship is not on the rocks:
GLASS finds himself increasingly torn between his new love and his true calling as a messenger…he doesn't realize that he really doesn't have to make a choice between the light and her darkness…he tries to find balance between his humanity and his spiritual pursuits…
And that's what Real Love is about: the conflict of messiah figure enamored of the pleasures of the flesh. In the chart, along with Sacred + Profane, it's labelled "Crossroads". Does he have to choose between his mission, and sex and drugs? Is it time to make that choice? Can you reconcile the ecstasy of sex with the ecstasy of religion? These thoughts of his kickstart a divide that will only worsen with time.
"real love / a real touch we speak in / is it ours / or is it what we're seekin' / real love"
"fall into the century on a supersonic cross / blessed she in aching silence, eternal loss / calling out i won't surrender a locket of her hair / sympathize her pious pleasures, go down the stairs into the dark again / to feel alive again, and wait for..."
Now if that's not a reference to intercourse...anyhow, we can see here that Glass also looks at June with favor as her emptiness calls out to him - another way in which she's perfect as she's someone for him to save. But again, in his heart, he has doubts, and wonders about the nature of their relationship:
"real love / or is it me you're after" - "is it love /or just yours to treasure"
June gets background in the terms of a broken past, "her mother's first kisses buried in the backyard in a rusty coffee tin." I can't interpret absolutely every single one of Billy's lyrics, but I feel reasonably safe in assuming that last bit about collecting solar questions and demon scorn reflect the guilt he feels over enjoying sex when he has a holy mission to accomplish. But no joy lasts forever:
7. Glass And The Ghost Children
For a short time, the band and fans around the Machina period addressed the fanbase with the "Ghost Children" moniker, and there are still the few odd birds out there who might identify with that.
These lyrics move between the perspective of those answering Glass' call, deifying him (or is it Glass' own pespective of the way he thinks he should be seen?):
"to the center of the earth / or anywhere god decides / full of fever pulling forth / we hear our call as all ... i want to live / and don't want to die / i want to live / i want to try"
...as well as describing June's ever-worsening drug problems:
" the glass migrates under / her translucent skin / and all the spiders wonder / what we've got us in" - Glass as a person to her stands as an ideal for pleasure, but he could never be enough for her. She also gets what she needs from the needle - the spiders (the main demon in this story is cocaine - it's white - but June seems to be a person of many habits - this song outlines a dependency on the horse). To her the man and the drugs may as well be one in the same - it's fuel for her bliss. It's worth noting that Billy wore a shirt with a white spider on it from time to time, notable on the 2008 tour. More on that later.
GLASS comes home one night to find JUNE in a drugged haze, a vinyl record hissing endlessly on the out groove…JUNE is so out of it that she doesn't recognize GLASS at all, as he calls to her to come back to him…the truth revealed, GLASS sits next to her and, in a rare moment of candor, reveals that god has been speaking to him thru the radio, knowing full well that JUNE probably won't remember the conversation…despite that, GLASS reveals that he has doubts about the validity of the messages and wonders if he is going insane…
That's the entirety of what people call the"armchair/psychoanalysis" segment in the middle of the song: not a shrink session, but Glass coming clean about his mission to June and the truth behind it. You can hear June's vaguely present "Mhm".
And here's how Glass approaches June's drug problem - with messianic condescension and pity.
"innocence - innocence finds you there/ doesn't care / any way you choose / the sun, and the sun/ i choose"
His perspective is 'You poor thing, you barely have a choice because you're flawed, human and naive'. "Hold Me Now / I won't let go" - 'I'll make it allright. I'm aligned with god and I'll save you, my sweet summer child.'
"And you will be there / with the sun / and you say you don't care" - Reference "she says it doesn't matter / she never liked her looks" in GATGC. 'How can you not care when you're in the presence of the holy? That makes you sacred and divine. To not care about yourself is foolish.'
Poor dumb bastard. He tries, but he's just too wrapped up in his own myth.
9. Raindrops + Sunshowers
June draws away from Glass as his God-complex turns her off, and she begins to question her need for him. And Glass is mystified as to why, though one of the answers is in his own attitude:
"I'll save a prayer for you, so lost and longing too"
This is in the chart as part of the "crossroads, but also as part of the "Loss of balance" Glass suffers. He's just trying to understand her and talk and walk with her between the raindrops, but can't stop himself from reminding her that everyone has problems: she's not alone in her suffering, "Rain falls on everyone" - this will be called back to with "White Spyder's "We're all victims" line. She'll throw that back into his face later.
One of my favorite lines in the song is "be dragged through dirty streets / wrapped up in clean white sheets / and if you think they'll watch you now / you should know they won't". It's Glass' warning to June - the path she's on will leave her dead in a body bag. But the line about watching could be as much a realization of his own as a warning to himself:
"If you leave, nobody will be there to catch you when you fall - and without you, I'm nothing, and nobody will want me."
And so he gives her an ultimatum:
10. Let Me Give The World To You
IMHO, masterfully re-written from the original Adore outtake to fit into the narrative. When I began typing this, I caught onto the fact that "umbrella" was a reference back to "Raindrops and Sunshowers". Can't believe I didn't see it earlier. I think Billy here envisioned a scene of two lovers separated by distance in the rain as their relationship disintegrates along with the illusions about each other that held it fast.
Being the divine, holy creature he is, Glass graciously presents June with a a stark reality - she's got a drug problem, and it has no place in his world of love and freedom and all that jazz, and she's a mess: "Train wrecks hide underneath your umbrella." "Last chance to make believe in always and all it seems". But at the same time, he's trying to reassure her she has a place in his world even if she's flawed: "No, I wouldn't change a thing about the way you are" (why would he when she's a reflection of himself?). There might even be a contrast to him having given up the lines of blow in "My lonesome lines just have no use around here". "Don't change, just do what I say and kick the junk."
She can't. So he makes the decision to cut her out of his life.
…GLASS sees himself as some sort of cosmic preacher, and if he just shouts loud enough the message will somehow get thru the din…JUNE, finding the solace and power in GLASS that she couldn't muster on her own, begins to believe that she does not need him anymore…she has taken her fill from his light, and like so many others that have taken from GLASS, question whether they ever needed him at all…
"you can hear the baby bones / crack beneath her wheels
tears of avalon / streak silent down her shield
high crimes and misdemeanors / unfortunate attacks
will leave you standing nameless / while she's turning black"
Put simply: Glass has come to understand that June is a destructive force. All one can do is watch her horrible, horrible behavior, standing witness as she destroys herself.
"eleanor, you've lost me / in a haze of wine and cocaine
gone out and cost me / everything i blame
broadcast in tv detail / to call their own stories
as i try to recapture / our best in former glories"
And he won't let her take him down with her. "I have a mission. I'm a righteous man, trying to change the world, and the last thing I need is some drugged-up psychopath getting on camera, talking about me and hurting our image." (Wish I got the Eleanor reference, as I feel it's very specific, but can't say that I do)
"ease on that dirt road / you've still a ways to go
soak in sights and city lights / while you still can borrow
cursed fall will find you / and bring a memory
the ghost of her surrender / with the kiss of anarchy"
"Have fun out there living off others and falling apart. When people look back on you, they'll think what a shame it was, the way you killed yourself."
"Vanity stands naked at my door / vanity cries 'why?"
Maybe we throw some clothes after her as the door slams. End act 1.
Was June Courtney Love? I think maybe June was Courtney Love.
|02-26-2018, 09:42 AM||#1048|
Location: put those panties back on the line and get the hell out of my yard
1. White Spyder
I originally had a frustrating time placing this one - the MII songs are mostly unrepresented on the chart. But I've come to understand it as follows:: Glass convinces himself - or tries to - that he's better off without June, fighting the urge to ask for her back and losing, while trying to cope with a bad album reception as his paranoia sets in. His mind goes every which way as his grasp on reality begins slipping.
GLASS begins to lose his balance on both ends when he becomes over righteous and indignant in his beliefs, alienating those who already believe in him and turning off potential new converts…
The groundwork for the above line of Billy's from the summary was laid when we began to see in Innosence etc. just how loopy Glass was becoming. But now we see the results it's borne: Any damage done to GATMOG's reputation might just as well have been done by Glass himself.
GLASS begins to bitter at the prospect that he is being toyed with and used by god and JUNE… slowly, GLASS begins to lose faith in his seemingly unshakeable beliefs…he becomes paranoid, believing that everyone is out to get him...the new album is released and is not well received by the fans or the general public…for the first time since the band began, GLASS is publicly humiliated…he begins to question the validity of the messages, thinking perhaps they are from a false god or that his filters of perception are misaligned…
"and every little spider that crawled up inside her is waiting for my phone call" = "She only wants me in her life because I'm a guaranteed hook-up for drugs"
"...you've gotta walk through hell (...) you've gotta strip your skin / to let them tear at it
i'm gonna take a piece / for my own needs
i'm gonna shift to speak / fuck the enemy"
Like I mentioned earlier: On the 2008 20th Anniversary tour, Billy wore a white spider shirt (and a black skirt very similar to the one from the Everlasting Gaze video). This was right in the aftermath of Zeitgeist tanking, when he began to start slagging off his fanbase, and so I tend to think that Glass' reaction may have been on his mind once more: "you've gotta play the part/before you fall apart" - "Who cares what people think. I must carry on."
It should be mentioned that I don't think any single source has completely correct lyrics for this song because it's so goddamn blown out and muffled (People used to think "shift to speak" was "swim to Sweden") But the intent comes across well enough - people may be going to the shows, but Glass' Machina album has tanked. Nobody's buying it.
"Wander slow / white spyder
how did you know, yes / if only which way to go"
"Maybe she was right to distance herself from me. I'm a failure. She knew I was nothing and saw this coming so she left."
"i made this up / to make the scene / beyond belief"
"Am I crazy? Was god really talking to me? Or could I be that messed up that I orchestrated all this and convinced myself I'm divine?"
"cause now i'm reminded of every single fighter / that's waiting for just what she brings
and every little spider that crawled up inside her / who's waiting for the phone to ring
my white spider / which way'd you walk
my white spider / isn't all"
"I'm failing without her. I'm a sham. I need her back in my life. No, she's a drug addict. She's got other men. She could have anyone she wants. But I need her. Where'd she go? ...no. I don't need her. I don't. She's not everything. I can do this. Without her. I can."
Rockstar gone mad, anyone?
2. Lucky 13
We start with what might be an apology. If so, it's a shitty one:
"it's in blood / i suppose
breaking jars / i'm no good
as the prodigal son"
Second mention of 'jars' by the way, which refers to 'a lot of tears in a bloodstained jar, back in Glass' Theme. IMO the jars of tears are Glass' emotional baggage. And he's apologizing for failing at his mission, in his view, not for his behavior. And June lets him have it in the only song so far that to my knowledge, contains lines directly from June's P.O.V:
"And i know that you're mesmerized
You had a vision, made these laws
and sanitized, are we above desires
i miss him so"
"I miss the person I fell in love with, who knew how to have a good time, who didn't preach the evils of hedonism after indulging himself, who wasn't a born-again hypocrite. Everybody suffers, but everybody has needs, too. People need to escape. Do you think you're better than everyone else? The truth is, you're in love with your 'god', yourself and your mission more than you ever loved me."
you are so fucked
it has begun
all over you
i was listening
he begins to descend into madness, accusing JUNE of disloyalty…in one final argument, she admits she never loved him at all, and that she did hear him tell her about being spoken to by god, and that she believes he is insane…
Can his ego and already-present insecurities and doubts take the reinforcement that he may be losing it? Of course not. This is The Argument - capitalize that - the one that ends it:
something regarded as worthless; rubbish
Glass rages at June, pushed past the breaking point. It's all in the lyrics.
Sarcasm: Sure, "we all know I'm full of shit" And "flat out, deadly truth: does anyone wanna be you?"
"You're a worthless out-of-control drug addict. I'm important and famous and people want to BE me. Get out, you're growing old/cold/ you've lost control".
A lot of people think this doesn't belong on the album as it's a James composition and not Billy. But the lyrics do feel like James tried to contribute to Billy's narrative, and it was up there on a Machina whiteboard so what the hell.
It's a breakup song, and IMO James' finest moment - a song that remains incredibly sad to my ears even this many years later - and this is to my eyes and ears the only place in the whole narrative it fits. These could be the thoughts or words of either or both of the characters as they turn away from each other and their hearts break to remember the love that fell apart. There's a reference to kissing a St. Christopher medallion, which could be a reference to Glass' devotion to God/his mission - "too moved to speak, no words could reach me". June might be admitting to a hidden truth as they release each other: "Now i know you were told to Go".
5. Speed Kills
…she tells him goodbye for the last time and storms off into the rainy night…she loses control of her car, and is killed when it skids off the road…
From this point on, it starts to become slightly trickier for a little while to place things in a precise order as much of what comes is from MII - again, barely represented in the chart. There's a dream the night before the final show of the Machines' tour, then a period where Glass disconnects from the world. I'm reasonably certain that most of these songs through the concert and following period are in the correct order but I'll try to remember to put in notes where I feel there's a lot of room for argument.
…GLASS blames god for the loss of JUNE, idealizing his time with her because he can not let go of what her vision means to his faith…he blames the fans for their betrayal at not supporting and following the bands new direction…inconsolable, and without informing the MACHINES, GLASS impulsively tells an audience one night that the band is going to break up and will only play one more final, and sadly tragic show…
6. Blue Skies Bring Tears
the night before the final concert, GLASS has a prophetic dream that he is a soldier in a war…he wears a uniform, but does not know who the enemy is or even what side he is fighting for…he wanders the empty streets, gun in hand, looking for anyone at all…in a dark stairwell he meets a faceless soldier who takes him by the hand into a dusky basement…the soldier does not speak, and together they sit underneath a single hanging bulb…he is just an animal, seeking shelter, warmth, food, and love…
So many versions out there. Take your pick. One on MI, one on MII, one on a bootleg tape, two demos on the Machina Acoustic Demos compilation...the track's crazy important to the narrative. Billy put a lot of work into this one. It's sheer apocalyptic nightmare imagery.
Some historical ************ when MI came out, the version of this song that appeared on it was thoroughly shat on by a goodly portion of the fanbase because it was far more sluggish and drugged-out than the one which had been played on tour - now known as the Arising! version, and present in studio form on the FAEOMM 60m bootleg that Billy passed out to the fans (if you don't have it, just ask). This was probably one of the earliest instances of people claiming Bill ruined things in the studio.
It's hard to break down exactly what it is from so many versions of this song, but it's apparent that what Glass sees in his dream is the end of the world through war - perhaps because he falters in his mission. Whether that's true or in his own head or not is up to the listener, but there's payoff for this notion down the road either way.
To pull from every version: he sees the soldier in the dark "descend the darkened stairways" - there references to war "let fly your model armies" - and the death of millions struggling to escape - "blood fills the exit tunnels streaking out of town" - families torn apart - "wring dry the salty tears of sailors and their lovers" - dead children "gone to heaven".
And on the M1 version of the track, as the song draws to a close, is a voice seemingly trying to communicate with Glass. It's the Voice that the mourning Glass has now grown resentful of - or, more accurately, the Voice as Glass hears it in his nightmare: mocking him with truths he's denying, the price of his own failure, the fact that it has consumed him and spit him out, giving him a futile quest and rewarding him with nothing.
"i am a stranger to you
as you are to yourself
don't you want me (don't want you)
as i awake the city sight
we'll watch the seasons die"
When Glass awakes, he's shaken to the core by this dream and all that it implies. It sends him careening over the edge just in time for him to put on the final performance of his life.
7. Heavy Metal Machine
"Of all the shows on the tour this particular show will remain with us the longest, because not only is it the last show of the tour, it's the last show we'll ever do.” - David Bowie, 1973, and you can practically hear Billy lifting that famous quote in the above paragraph.
Billy mentioned in a Detroit New interview back in 2012 that part of the restored concept album would be "a suite simulating a live Machines of God concert, possibly with crowd noise added, with a mix inspired by Kiss' Alive!"
And this is, in my view, where that 'concert suite' begins. The performance is a tragic one, in part because it is the last one ever, but because Glass lays bare all of his anger, exhaustion, despondency and lunacy at his fans, his mission, his God, the deceased June, and, on some level, himself.
HMM comes out with guns blazing. For a while I thought to place this one immediately at the start of the first disc before WS, as Glass learns his album has failed to sell, but the self-victimizing and misery inherent in the song seem to fit here better. Still, could be wrong. The performance on the IAGW DVD has Billy cry "Welcome back my friends, to the show that NEVERRR EEEENDS!!!!" - so to me it's a song that begs for a raw live performance. I think opening the concert with it's a no-brainer.
Glass' first target is the fans who he feels let him down. "If I were alive, if I were real, would you survive? What would you feel?" - Do you even need me anymore? I apparently don't exist. "If I were dead, would my records sell? Could you even tell? is it just as well?" - Who the fuck even buys records anymore? Who cares anyway? (And oh, the heaps of shit Billy caught for this lyric, considering who he considered his musical rival and foil back in the 90s...)
And glass' god complex reaches its apex as he fully announces his desire to sacrifice himself in the name of the only religion he still believes in, the only thing he has left - "Let me die for rock and roll". Ladies and gentlemen, we have reached full-on megalomania. And let's get it over with, because it's all futile: "It's elemental, to all the rust it brings"
8. The Crying Tree Of Mercury
Of all the songs, I think this one most stands a significant chance of my having perhaps misplaced it. On Billy's chart it appears under the early working title of "Slow Song", and points to the "Crossroads" circle. The position there and the line "I've been waiting for this night to bleed my soul to you" could very well signify a reference to the night that Glass finds June zonked out of her mind on drugs and comes clean about his mission and the Voice. The problem to me is that it seems so superfluous by virtue of the entire interlude segment being present in GATMOG.
Assuming I'm right however, the night in question is this night of the final concert, where Glass' tirade continues. He's been a just and loving rock god to his subjects, hasn't he? He's hurt and bled so much - "the tears I've been crying my whole life". He did all of this for every one of his fans - "you and you and you" - and he wants to set the record straight. And there's "really no excuse" for them having failed to support him. - "This love will stand as long as you" - and now that's coming to a close.
Billy trotted this one out on the End Times tour, out of nowhere, and I think that was one of the things that got me to start seeing it as an address to the audience.
Oh, this was a bastard of a song to find a home for. But doing so was what finally convinced me I could make sense of the whole goddamned thing. Soniclovenoize's compilation had this one as track 4, but I think I caught something no one else did, and for that I'm proud - it directly references the nightmare dream of Blue Skies Bring Tears and so has to take place during the night of the final concert:
"Last night I turned around and thought i saw myself turning / inside the strangest dream of life unloved and cities burning / inside the crushing I felt a pang, the tide was turning"
Wound is, you see, Glass' tirade against the Voice/Eye/I/God, the expression of the utter abandonment of faith predicted by the Voice at the outset.
"There you are / as you always were
In bathing light / and naked blur
You're a part of me / eternal one
My grand design / and setting sun"
The sun is setting because Glass no longer believes in it. At best it was all a delusion, a part of Glass' mind, and at worst, a sinister plot by an uncaring god, one that made him dance like a puppet to whatever it wanted until it's nearly killed him:
"If you wait, i will wait
taste, i will taste
if you love, i will love
run, i will run
to my last breath."
And June's death looms large, both an accusation of God's responsibility, and potentially an admission of personal guilt for driving her away. He hates the Voice for making him feel this way:
"wound opens / reveal this broken man
and soon there's notions / of blood on his hands"
Glass might very well fail at his job, and if he does, he doesn't care. He'll let it happen:
"Destroyed in the wake / the jealous ingrates
will tear this world down / to spite god above
with his own love"
It's actually kind of unsettling how pretty this song is, considering it's all vitriol. It's one of the things BC does best. But bitterness gives way to the mission, for one last time.
10. Try, Try, Try
What killed The Smashing Pumpkins? If you asked BC in 2000, he'd say he couldn't compete with the 'Britneys" of the world - the Pop Tarts. But why did they hold on so long? Well...maybe they needed to 'keep it real'. Maybe Billy believed they had a mission to keep what he saw as earnest music on the radio. The answers as he envisions them are in the poetry of this song, which also can only take place on this final concert night: "For too long they held me under, but i hear it's almost over." The night draws to a close and it's a personal affirmation - Glass is here likely not deluding himself, meaning every word he says.
And this song is the mission and the message: "Try to hold on to this heart...a little bit longer. Try to hold on to this love, aloud. Try to hold on, for this heart's a little bit colder. Try to hold on to this love."
11. This Time
Almost all there in the lyrics. The final song of the final night of the final concert of the tour, the end of Glass And The Machines Of God. Their message delivered one last time, what remains is in the hands of anyone still listening, and he acknowledges the pain felt by those who do still care: "It's up to you, you know. The things you really want to hold are in pieces."
This is it, they're done. They've got to wrap this up because Glass is no longer capable of even keeping himself together - in pieces himself. Shattered: "I've got to move it on, I've got to sing my song while I still can."
One last reminder, faltering, weak, fading: "Only love, yeah, only love can win". Whatever. "Crashing down again, crashing down, my friends."
Glass laments the predestined path of loneliness he feels he's been placed upon. There's never been any love in his life that he feels has been real, he's never been allowed to find a place to really call home (a possible act of foreshadowing here, as 'Home' becomes a point later): "I've lived my life alone, my every step foretold, to never linger."
And past caring about the mission much anymore, Glass is more troubled by the fact that the only life he's ever known is ending: "And yet it haunts me so, what are we letting go? Our spell is broken."
A bitter reflection on the lover who was not what he believed her to be: "For every chemical you trade a piece of your soul with no return. And who you think you know doesn't know you at all...their drain is needless."
"Someday we'll wave hello and wish we'd never waved goodbye to this romance. We'll drink up every line and shoot up every word till it's no more". <- I don't think anyone knew how badly the world would want SP back more than Billy did. Gotta give him that.
So cry these tears
We'll cry as all
We've held so long
To fall apart
As the curtain falls
We bid you all goodnight
When I first heard those words in 2000, I knew the band was ending before it was ever announced, and I wouldn't let myself believe it.
|02-26-2018, 09:50 AM||#1050|
Location: put those panties back on the line and get the hell out of my yard
1. The Everlasting Gaze
after the final concert GLASS is quickly forgotten by the public, and he takes to living in an empty warehouse away from anyone at all…he has always felt alone, but now all of the things that gave him strength, focus, and identity are gone…he faces his own doubt and mortality for the first time…
This period following GATMOG's final concert up to Glass' approach to his "epiphany" - the first half of my third disc - is the hardest to sketch out a concrete timeline for. Essentially, this is the character's dark night of the soul. I've tried to arrange the tracks which I believe go here in terms of him questioning his beliefs and being in a period of mourning.
And TEG opens with what I feel can be the only proper statement the character can make following the death of everything that's kept him going - "You know I'm not dead."
I think Billy kept this one as the opener for M1 because it was meant to kick off a disc, and it can substitute, in a pinch, as a basic summary of Glass's grudge against God. But late in the game is where it belongs ("Now you know where I've been"), because Glass is well and truly pissed, and clearly spiraling down into madness. It's about this time he starts ranting about "creatures":
"found below, the creatures scream / stranglehold, a god machine
begin to tear us out / what is hell"
Billy Corgan's a Pink Floyd fan, and we know he loves The Wall, because that's exactly what he said Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness was supposed to be - The Wall for Generation X. In the latter parts of that work - whose DNA, if you couldn't tell by now is absolutely all over this record along with that of the accompanying film - the titular character Pink begins to go quite completely insane, which is represented by "the worms" which eat into his brain. One interpretation is that you can basically cross-reference them with Glass' creatures - though it's a bit more abstract, they could just as easily be representations of sheer emotional suffering. Another is that the creatures are humankind, and Glass, seeing himself as a failed god, feels humanity is screaming because he's failed to save them, or at least he thinks he can hear them doing so.
So now Glass is living in a warehouse away from the public, alone, as he's always feared being, and losing his grip, "just living in [his] head". I considered placing this in the concert suite, and it's not impossible that's where it belongs, but the aforementioned line about living in his own skull and references to creatures (not to mention that the accompanying video seems like it could be taking place inside some kind of warehouse) ranting and raving at god for the sufferings placed up on his shoulders, seem like the behavior of a man too deranged to be playing a set at just the moment.
"I'm just the tears inside your head / forever waiting on the ways of your desire / you always find a way / and through it all, into us all you move" - "You created me to suffer, to wait at your command, and you do this to everyone."
In the vocal breakdown he makes the same comparison to suffering as being "under wheels" as he did in Vanity, this time at God's behest rather than June's:
"we all want to hold in the everlasting gaze , enchanted in the rapture of his sentimental sway , but underneath the wheels lie the skulls of every cog, the fickle fascination of an everlasting god" - We all want to be one with and live in god's light, but he could just give less than two shits and doesn't care that he hurts us."
Cog is, by the way, abbreviated to C.O.G in the lyric sheet if I recall right. I took that to mean "child of god" as well as the literal tiny part of a big cruel machine. Forever waiting a cruel death indeed. Early versions called "Disco King" and placed as "Descent - Lose Girl" and "Alone, Negative" on Billy's Machina chart.
For a good long while, I didn't think this belonged on the album. An Adore outtake that was rerecorded in a dirgelike form for Machina, for years I considered it ill-advised, ill-fitting and inferior to its Judas O version. I've come around on it lately though, and if the man can incorporate Cash Car Star and LMGTWTY, both originating from that period, why not go three for three? Seems like Bill's intention, seeing as there's another mention of his 'creatures' not found in the first versions (see also the Piano and Vox version on Adore reissue). In The Everlasting Gaze the creatures were "down below", this is at first reaffirmed - "to the creatures, I am sky" (perhaps he is god to them). But he communicates that their perspective is changing - "we are inside, we are inside now" - for certainly their position will shift by the next song, potentially to represent his growing insanity, or misery. To be saturnine is after all to be "gloomy".
But things could be saturnine because there's no hope. If the creatures are humanity, the song actually quite helps to frame him as viewing himself as a failed messiah - "how i love to waste your time". This might be the reason that the creatures' perspective begins to change" - he begins to accept that he's one of the masses and not any form of living god - "We here are forgotten, we are losing our light". He bids farewell "goodbye all you widows, tearstained underneath / blessed to the many who are seeking some relief" - "I wish I could have helped you". He's one of the creatures, perhaps.
And he can't help anyone when he can't even help himself.
3. In My Body
It's been suggested that this song is, whatever its place in Billy's rock opera, the perspective of a sufferer of abuse, and Billy knows that perspective firsthand. Unquestionably true. Harrowing. Heartbreaking.
Without knowing the precise nature of the creatures, it's a little tricky to place things in perfect context, but the narrative purpose is clear: grief.
Picture a figure in a foetal position mourning the death of a loved one. If the creatures are fabrications of his mind, they scream his soul is in agony:
"June's offcast / left hiding, i form the screams /burned alive"
If humanity, as the creatures are 'under' god, so did Glass consider himself 'under' June. After all, if there is no god, who's responsible for her death:
"you were my violence stuck / in my life
just for the moment
and let me under you / so you can die"
Survivor's guilt. Glass has retreated within himself, all but dead, unable to cope with all of the trauma he has gone through. And he won't let anyone in. Awaiting his cruel death, he'll let the creatures do their work:
"in my body
you'll never find me
you'll never pull me out
in my body
the lonely creatures
the lonely creatures scream"
The creatures are inside, eating him alive, and nothing can save him from his self-imposed isolation and hell, except for the one thing which never let him down:
4. I Of The Mourning
"radio, play my favorite song
radio, i'm alone
radio, please don't go
Glass is speaking to the Voice, though he doesn't realize it yet. He hears his favorite song on the radio, and that's what saves him.
"i peer through curtains on empty streets / behind a wall of caller i.d.
no one's out there / to hear if i care / about the troubles in the air"
He's not answering calls, but he knows they're there. He looks outside to see if anyone gives a shit about their false prophet. He doesn't really care if they do...much. It's a start.
"as i of the mourning now come / pick up where my thoughts left off / cause I'm home to die on my own"
Slowly but surely, his grief abates to the point where he has time to stop and consider his position.
"i've blown the dust off my guitars / in the attic with the stars
i read your letters to feel better / my tears upon the fading ink"
Music as therapy - he allows himself to play again. And something else: when I was younger, I used to believe that the 'letters' were mementos from his and June's relationship - having reframed the songs in narrative form, and knowing what's coming (comparing forthcoming songs as well as considering Billy's own life during the Zwan period), it's obvious: Glass picks up a Bible. And he begins to understand just how badly he botched the simple purpose he was given by making a circus out of it. He finds the will to start allowing for the existence of God again. As the song progresses, he finds new life; the delivery changes and becomes more affirmative - "RADIO PLAYS MY FAVORITE SONG!"
"i sit in dark light, to wait for ghost night
to bring the past alive, to make a toast to life
cause i have survived"
He's through the fire. And he's angry, but he's ready to work again, to try again. But the one thing he doesn't understand is just how. It's a question asked over and over again in frustration: "what is it you want to change?"
5. If There Is A God
This appears in other fanmade lists as the very first song of the album. During tour dates in the year 2000, it almost always preceded Cash Car Star, like it was a one-two punch, and so to some those are the album's openers. I can see it, this song performing the same stage-setting role as the MCIS title track, and I could certainly be wrong, but I must needs disagree.
The perspective is, to me, lost and someowhat angry. It's the viewpoint of someone trying hard to reconcile the notion of something that's supposed to be greater than he is with what he already understands is greater he is: god, and music, respectively. "He likes his loud guitars and his spiders from Mars." But there are trust issues;
"and if there is a god / you know they're on tv
they're the spies with bedroom eyes / that cower in our skies" (This has also been sung live as "he's a / that cowers")
The gods are voyeurs. The gods are cowards. The gods are broadcasters of awful static and noise. They might be in heaven or in studios. Probably both. The perspective moves between male and female - god is unknowable. "I know she's watching me. She says she likes what she sees, but there's trouble on the breeze". Glass may not be quite as shattered anymore, but armageddon's still around the corner if change doesn't come.
Glass considers the nature of the infinite as he tries to come up with a solution. He ponders, and ponders some more...
"Who are you this time? Are you one of us, flying blind?
'Cause we're down here throwing stones / while you're so far from home
and if there is a god
if there is a god..."
…he begins to walk by himself at dawn thru the waking streets, and slowly finds an inner peace with his spirit…he begins to forgive and accept the things that have happened to him, and understand that his desire to find perfection above his own humanity led him to things that he did not really want or need…
6. Slow Dawn
Not present on the chart but this number unquestionably belongs here, in my view.
"midnight people rushing for a downtown train / watching and wasting away
their hearts beat free / cool frequency"
Glass compares the freedom of the people he sees moving through the dawn streets with his own self-imposed imprisonment and exile and decides it's time to end it. He decides to walk the streets at dawn in search of an answer:
"seeking sign, oh so faint / i'm gonna run the slow dawn awake"
Another number that's a little reverb-afflicted so I don't think all the lyrics out there are totally accurate, but it does seem like Glass comes to appreciate the beauty he finds in nature. "it's blessed undone / the songbirds all around...slow dawn moves by my side". And he makes a choice, inspired:
It was mentioned earlier that Glass feels that he's had no place to call home, no place to where he's been allowed to linger. And the irony is that he'll find his sense of belonging in exactly that; he sets out toward a new life of simplicity, camping at night, passing in his travels the hopeless and destitute masses. He leaves the city far behind:
"Wander off through dead of night / past wastelands of shattered souls
warm by the firelight / I peer into the darkness alone
crossroads outside of town / where heartbroken faces shine
the city lights so far and dull / turning left i know it's time"
He chooses to live his life spreading the word of the Voice, and to life a life of solitude and homelessness as he does so, a wandering prophet, an honest one, without the trappings of civilization or rock stardom to filter his vision. He mourns some of what he leaves behind but knows it's the only way:
"wipe the sleep from your eyes / in the riverbanks and catacombs
seek the truth, and be the truth / I must live this life alone
lay down and think of loss / cry out, I know it's time"
And most importantly, he carries faith that this is the way to avert the Armageddon of his dream: to proselytize, to reach out not as an arrogant rock god, but as a humble man of religion. In this way he'll be the first of many, and turn the tide against the nightmare:
"I, one of many more to come / love, love is everything i want"
On Billy's chart, this song points to "Epiphany" and "Alone, positive".
8. Here's To The Atom Bomb
…he begins to love and empathize with others without fear of consequence, and so in his aloneness realizes that he was never really alone at all…
The Voice seemingly speaks directly through Glass, the two now aligned together in tandem:
"away to the side you move your head / gravity fingers dig in your back
the strangest man won't let you breathe / rocking on you in a movie scene"
Glass as a being is essentially inhabited by the spirit. He's a vessel for the word:
"his words fill your mouth
his guests bleed sick, devoid of touch
he lets out to the streets where you were raised
sittin' home waiting for the coming age"
Glass moves far and wide through the lands, speaking to the hopeless, corrupt, destitute. And what does Glass preach? The horrors of materialism, of becoming a TV zombie, of living an angry life influenced by the media, violent entertainment, etc - as referenced earlier, those that broadcast "static".
This is best reflected in the version found on Judas O and not the "New Wave" version on MII. Both tracks have vastly different lyrics, and either seems like it communicates roughly the same notions, but the Judas O version is far more explicit about what it's communicating, probably rewritten to be as such (It's also much more pleasant to the ears, upbeat, rocking, and doesn't have an irritatingly whiny synth front and center). He preaches and preaches:
"wake up early, wash up late
satellites connect you to your hate
a little piece of heaven is all you seek
in the same old re-run week after week
their faces make you want to kill
the little piece of heaven singin' on the windowsill"
"You don't need to be driven to rage and lunacy by what you see. Appreciate the world around you, and live in harmony with it. Soak up some sun."
Glass is finally doing what he was always meant to do and has fulfilled his destiny. He can love himself for the first time in his life:
Here's to the atom bomb
may everyone find a way to get on
The notion of Glass being an 'atom bomb' was referenced much, much earlier, and only once that I saw, during The Imploding Voice: "phase unwound, by yourself, atom bomb on the shelf, unsung". Glass is no longer "on the shelf", or unused, - he's unleashed on the world, and anyone is free to "get on" and hear his message. Living up to his vast untapped potential, he is singlehandedly saving the world, bringing a nuclear explosion of love and change.
09. With Every Light
GOD has always been with him, and always will be…and so in this moment he fulfills his destiny, both for himself and for GOD…
Well, here we are, Mr. Frodo, at the end of all things. This is the happy ending. On Billy's chart, "Peace".
"taking over, we're taking over
throw the weight up off your shoulders, now
that we can show our love
it's almost over, it's almost over.."
And Glass is successful. Spreading the word of god, the nightmare Armageddon he witnessed has been averted. There's "no more war and no more soldiers / to stand against his love".
Demonstrating his change, there's an invitation to live in harmony here that stands as a contrast to an earlier statement:
"taking over, we're taking over / throw away your four leafed clovers / and stand beside this love"
Too much of a similarity to be coincidence. Rather than standing inside love - occupying love, making it his own and forcing matters, remember - "I will breathe for the both of us, I'll wrap my wire around your heart and your mind" - SIYL was truly a song about Glass seizing his idealized lover as a possession and an opportunity, though he may have believed it was love - Glass is now content to let the love wash over him. Seriously, he's even learned how to love properly. He's free from his trappings and is done sabotaging himself, living an exciting new life:
"away with everything you've grown to hate / away with anything that holds you safe
By divesting himself of worldliness, Glass has found the life he's always needed. And the lines between Glass and Billy Corgan blur a little more than usual; he addresses his departed mother, letting her know he's found the peace he craves:
"look ma, the sun is shining on me / impatient, in love, and aching to be / could you believe in heaven / if heaven was all you had?"
At some point during the Zwan period, Billy had one of his nervous breakdowns on the steps of a church named "Mary Star Of The Sea", and essentially be became a low-key born-again Christian, or at the very least a newfound devout, hence the Zwan album's title and much of the happy-lovey atmosphere therein. In this context, Glass' trajectory makes a lot of sense.
Perhaps it might have been BC's as well - Glass' most important takeaway from his new life:
"and every light I've found
is every light that's shining down on me
I'm never alone"
CODA: Age Of Innocence
It could go here. It could not. I suppose it could even go before With Every Light as a mission statement before the ending, as much as it could be a view of Glass' first steps on his new path. But if Billy ever puts the reissue out, I hope to hell he does leave it as last, because it did a fine job as a "so long, farewell" track.
Glass' life will be a hard one, but he won't take any shortcuts. His crusade expands. He finds disciples. Maybe he'll be ridiculed. He'll take the pain and keep walking the path:
"we dismiss the backroads / and ride these streets unafraid
resigned to / scraping paint /from our bones unashamed"
No more is he a narrow-minded rockstar, he's enlightened: "no more the eye upon you / no more the simple man" Even if his words go unheard, he'll keep preaching - love through god's love, not love through narcissism and hedonism, materialism and possession:
"and in my prayers i dream alone / a silent speech to deaf ear
if you want love you must be love / but if you bleed love you will die love"
Perhaps he pauses before forever embarking on his mission, and considers. No regrets for leaving his past behind:
"before the rites of spring
come to mean all things
a little taste of what may come
a mere glimpse of what has gone
cause for the moment we are free
we seek to bind our release
too young to die, too rich to care
too fucked to swear that i was there"
Glass' story is just beginning. It ends here for us, but not for him. It will be hard - a wandering prophet, he has no home to inhabit and never will, but that's fine. He will never, ever back down:
""as you might have guessed, we won't make it home / all is never shown..."
I always took the last lines to double as how Billy saw his band approach every obstacle they ever faced:
...desolation yes, hesitation no"
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