What does Desecration Smile mean?

Red Hot Chili Peppers: Desecration Smile Meaning

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Album cover for Desecration Smile album cover

Song Released: 2007

Desecration Smile Lyrics

All alone not by myself
Another girl bad for my health
I've seen it all thru someone else
(Another girl bad for my health)

Celebrated but undisturbed
Serenaded by the terror bird
It's seldom seen and it's never heard
(Serenaded by the...


    #1 top rated interpretation:
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    Mar 16th 2009 !⃝

    Desecration smile means a sarcastic smile. For example, an awkward situation and you smile sarcastically.
    The song starts "All alone, not by myself".
    He's alone in regards to his thoughts, the way he thinks. There are others with him but they aren't with him mentally.
    "Love a girl bad for my health"
    This can be referring to his estranged paramoure Claire in regards to drug use or the fact she breaks his heart. Think love hurts.
    There are so much more to many RHCP songs than people give credit for. Drug use is an underlying trait, but dig deeper. The interpretation of drug use for every song is superficial. Listen to the songs carefully. I'll add interpretations for the rest of their songs at a later time. :)


    #2 top rated interpretation:
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    Oct 19th 2018 !⃝

    First of all let me say that this song is in the top 5 all time chilli songs. Absolutely best song on entire SA album.
    Now here is my perspective:
    Anthony is truly a poet and he has the uncanny gift to write lyrics with double meaning and he does that all the time.
    I’ve been around hard drugs forever, let’s take the first five lines of the song:
    1. All alone not by myself.....
    When you are on H you are in a world of your own and you enjoy it so much that you have no desire to engage in anything or anyone no matter what’s going on around you.
    2. Another GIRL bad for my health.....
    For those of you who don’t know GIRL refers to H and especially when you’re on the phone with your dealer etc.
    3. I love the feeling when it falls apart.....
    This line refers both to cooking and injecting H.
    However the best line representing drug run is:
    4. I’m slow to finish but I’m quick to start......
    A good run always starts with an “upper” and transitions to “downers” whether that may be H or any other pharmaceutical anesthetic.
    The beauty about this song is that it could be interpreted in a million different ways but Anthony inserts his demons in every word and makes it so much more interesting and complex so that we can listen to it another 10000 times.
    John has put it ALL in here as well. Both acoustic and lead guitar lines are absolutely amazing and leave you with a real emotional experience apart from the rest of the songs on this nevertheless phenomenal album.
    Last interesting fact is that Gus Van Sant directed this video and if you pay attention to what I’ve said so far you’d understand why ?


    #3 top rated interpretation:
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    Dec 12th 2007 !⃝

    This is about a struggle to get over a break-up. She loved him at one time, but dumped him for another guy. He's stuck and doesn't know what to do next, he still loves her.

  4. anonymous
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    Jul 11th 2023 !⃝

    During the years I collected a lot of information about this song which is one of my favorite. Basically it describes the struggle with his ex GF at the time, Heather Christie.

    "All alone not by myself
    Another girl bad for my health
    I've seen it all through someone else, and I've
    (Another girl bad for my health)":
    describe his bad feelings about his relationship, despite he loved her very much.

    "Celebrated but undisturbed
    Serenaded by the terror bird
    It's seldom seen, and it's never heard
    (Serenaded by the terror bird)"
    Describe a night past with her attending the concert of the Terror Birds, a rock band friends with AK. The last phrase describe the fact that he doesn't go out to have parties so often.

    The refrain describe his uncomfortableness about this relationship.

    "Disintegrated by the rising sun
    A rolling black out of oblivion
    And I'd like to think that I'm your number one
    (I'm rolling black out of oblivion)"

    The night is his favorite part of the day, during the mornings he struggles a lot, it's when the problems come out and he hopes that his girlfriend loves him.

    "I wanna leave but I just get stuck
    A broken record runnin' low on luck
    There's heavy metal coming from your truck, and I'm (Broken record runnin' low on luck)":

    Here he just wanna change his life, but he is kind of stuck due to his love for her, feeling like a broken record with a poor luck.

    Bridge: "We could all go down to Malibu and make some noise
    Coca Cola doesn't do the justice, she enjoys
    We could all come up with something new to be destroyed
    We could all go down"

    Quite self explanatory.

    "I love the feeling when it falls apart
    I'm slow to finish, but I'm quick to start
    And beneath the heather lies the meadowlark and I'm—
    (Slow to finish, but I'm quick to start)"

    He ironically loves when the the things go to the hell, in that period he started to use again, struggling to quit but very easy to restart. In the last verse he clearly mention his girlfriend Heather Christie, a model and a singer with a nice voice (beneath the Heather lies a meadowlark)

  5. anonymous
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    Jul 9th 2022 !⃝

    It's about "the dark side of love that you gotta love" quote Anthony.
    In one of the last lines of the last verse he writes "Beneath the heather lies the meadowlark." Heather was the name of one of his long time girlfriends Heather Christie.

    I also think it's about Anthyony's struggles with heroine addiction..."I'm slow to finish but I'm quick to start."

  6. anonymous
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    Nov 22nd 2016 !⃝

    It's about soul searching.

  7. anonymous
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    Jan 30th 2014 !⃝

    Sorry for my English, I don't speak it very well. Anyway I think this song is about someone that relize his career and his love life are slowly falling apart.
    "all alone.. else" he feels lonely even if he's not alone and he's waisting time again with a girl that can't understand him. He realize this thanks to someone else beacuse he can't see it by himself.
    "I celebrated ... heard" I really can't get the meaning of this part, maybe he refers to an advise (about his falling apart? About his loving the wrong girl?) that it's very hard to see and even harder to follow.
    "disintegrated ... one" means that he realize that more the time runs, more he is going to be forgot and he won't be number one anymore, even if he would like to so he's trying to get out of oblivion.
    "I wanna ... truck" he know his luck (or his success) is ending, he want to leave everything but he's not able to because he's stuck. Maybe heavy metal means that his girl is too different from him.
    "We could ... down" he wants to do something funny, something he used to do and he knows his girl would enjoy it. He understand we all have something that will destroy us and we will all go down someday.
    "I love ... start" his success came soon or maybe he fell in love too soon, but his decline is going to be slow and he feels like he's falling apart.
    "Never ... face" his sarcastic smile is never in the wrong time or place, it's always suited to the situation. He makes love to fill his emptiness.

    I love this song and this is the way I interpretate it.

  8. anonymous
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    Dec 17th 2012 !⃝

    You all are redid, not really :). Take it how you want to interpret it, isnt that the point, infact, all that matters. Why do all the songs have to do with Anthony? Or do they not? I personally think they may because, well, frusiante left the band because the lyrics are not completely understood by himself as well other, in which, to my humble opinion, are not suppose to be understood by Anthony's life (although to him it is) but to relate these lyrics to your own situations and life style... Isnt that the point of genuine music? I am a huge Frusiante fan (Personal fav. guitarist as well love his harmony more than most) but the enjoyment i get out of music is being able to relate it to my own life, not the vocalist life. I have taken the time to read 'scar tissue' but im not about to say it is about his life (ofcourse it is though, thats why it is beautiful). The thing that makes this song and many others amazing, is the fact that the lyrics are not so straight forward where you completely understand but the fact that they are left to relate to your own existence. "its about drugs" .. "its about charlie".... To me, its about, well, my life, and thats why I enjoy it, and why I love these four amazing musicians.

  9. anonymous
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    Mar 30th 2012 !⃝

    most of the songs are about drugs because of the amount of drugs he's taken in his life and he's lost a lot of friends to drugs: RIP Slovak.

    Gay Fag 3

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  10. anonymous
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    Jul 17th 2011 !⃝

    I prefer to view this more symbolically to love than drugs :P. Maybe Anthony is singing about the life he leads, where everyone loves him, but he can't find anyone to love himself. "Serenaded by the terror bird" or terror itself, and "seldom seen, and its never heard" He doesn't show that side of himself to his fans and friends. And maybe "I love the feeling when it falls apart" is a comment on being hurt by failed relationships. "Desecration is the smile on my face" he smiles but what he's feeling you can't see; desecration. Just pure speculation though

  11. anonymous
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    Apr 16th 2011 !⃝

    It's maybe about his relationship with Claire and how as the relationship deteriorated, his urge to use got stronger and he had a tough time with getting sober again. (slow to finish but quick to start). The cocacola line is maybe aboit Claire's cocaine problem. I'd like to think im your number one is about the insecurities of there relationship.. I wanna leave but i get stuck a broken record running low on luck is about the ups and downs in both this drug use and the relationship. i could interpret every line.. but im typing this on a touch screen android phone AND THE STUPID FUCKIN SHIT IS THE MOST FUCKING PAIN INSIDE MY ASSHOLE TO TYPE ON.

  12. whatshouldiput
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    Dec 30th 2010 !⃝

    The title means he deprived the sacred value from his life with all the things he did wrong.

  13. anonymous
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    Dec 15th 2010 !⃝

    I feel that AK is using "desecration smile" as a reference to the regret he felt when using drugs because of Hillel's death. He just couldn't stop because of drug's temptations and the joy it gave him, but he feels a tinge of desecration with his friend's death and reversing the long rehab Kiedis went through.

  14. anonymous
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    Mar 9th 2010 !⃝

    This song is pretty much , about a bad breakup . Boy meets girl , girl leaves guy for someone else. Guy can't get over it , talks about how lonely he is .. maybe wishing she gets someone who would treat her the same way she did .. but he still cant get over her , i love this track! Relates so much to my relationship with my long distance relationship.

  15. anonymous
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    Nov 6th 2008 !⃝

    Cola? Doubt it, probably refering to cocaine and the 80's Malibu scene. This song is probably a reference to his drug past...maybe a girl that brought him back into shooting up cocaine or speedballs at some point in his life.

  16. someonesister
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    Sep 21st 2008 !⃝

    I heard on an interview "serenaded by the terror bird" was a reference to the plane attacks on 9/11.

  17. anonymous
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    Jun 1st 2008 !⃝

    It's about Coca Cola.
    "Coca Cola doesn't do the justice she enjoys"
    -theres your major clue.
    "I'm slow to finish but I'm quick to start"
    -That first few gulps of coke outa a glass bottle are so nice, but then you get sick of it and just take your time finishing the rest of the bottle.
    "Another girl bad for my health"
    -giving the coca cola personification he's stating that its bad for his health.

  18. anonymous
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    Sep 18th 2007 !⃝

    In a sense it is about drugs and relapsing and stuff. I think it's about Claire Essex who he dated 4 years and was so in love with and she was stuffed up for heaps of it just drinkin and doing drugs and dragging anthony down with her and when ever something bad would happen he wud go back to claire which is the I love the feeling when it falls apart part.

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