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Smashing Pumpkins: 1979 Meaning

Song Released: 1996

1979 Lyrics

Shakedown 1979, cool kids never have the time
On a live wire right up off the street
You and I should meet
Junebug skipping like a stone
Headlights pointed at the dawn
We were sure we’d never see an end to it all
And I don’t even care to...


    #1 top rated interpretation:
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    Jan 8th 2006 report

    I love this song for the fact that is appeals to so many people; it's very universal when it conveys themes like loss of hope, desolation, and finally resigned acceptance.

    I think the song is mainly told from the perspective of a teen conflicted with the purpose of life, and through his life he goes through stages of unending hope, depression(morphine city slippin dues), and cyncism(we feel the pull in a land of a thousand guilts and dead cement, forgotten and assured.) But near the end, the tempo of the song picks up and you can feel the last stab at life, or attempt at hope being ignited on his journey(the lights, the towns below, faster then the speed of sound), but then it descends to the disquieting conclusion of mortality( street heats the urgency of sound, can't you see there's no one around) Awesome song. 5/5.


    #2 top rated interpretation:
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    Jun 12th 2005 report

    On the commentary to their dvd called "The Smashing Pumpkins Greatest Hits Video Collection" Billy explains how this song is about just being bored and him growing up in the suburbs. The kids just don't care about what they do as long as they have alot of fun doing it! :)

  3. anonymous
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    Feb 12th 2020 report

    1979 reflects upon the nostalgia of childhood and how we felt time was infinite. When we grow older time passes faster, and those days end although we never thought they would.

  4. anonymous
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    Oct 17th 2016 report

    This song makes my feel very melonchaly....Billy has such a beautiful sadness to his voice...it mesmerizes me! ...I feel it is def about teens being bored and just hanging around

  5. anonymous
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    Feb 14th 2013 report

    The way i see its a teen worrying about whats appening and what will happen, but in the end just says fuck it.

  6. anonymous
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    Sep 23rd 2012 report

    I believe the song is of confusion of life, emphasized and (memorialized) by the the loss of "Justine". (suicide)Life at this point is full of hopelessness, depression, and unfairness. But he must stoically maintain and not "shake these zipper blues" waning for his lost love. "We were sure we’d never see an end to it all" but inevitability "absorbed into the earth below".....The statement "feeling the pull of the land of a thousand guilts" supports that they are/were just forgotten, vacant and double crossed victims.
    But later, hope prevails and a view from above. He concedes he was left behind to live with the "poured cement,lamented and assured,(and given)To the lights and towns below"....She never knew the rules and she left "Faster than the speed of sound,Faster than we thought we’d go, beneath the sound of hope"

    Still morning the loss of her, he concludes cynically : It all happened so fast and there was no one to help. "street heats the urgency of sound, can't you see there's no one around".

  7. Mooncreekchik
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    Sep 23rd 2012 report

    And therein, the shakedown.

  8. Mooncreekchik
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    Sep 23rd 2012 report

    Wow. I interpreted this as idealistic youth growing into working class, and then their realizing that the "morphine" set, those of idle wealth, are the oppressors....that a life filled with work ends in nobody being around at the end, even though those of the formerly idealistic working class are the people who built the world lived in by the oblivious rich.

  9. anonymous
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    Sep 18th 2011 report

    This song is about optimism for the future because of a lack of freedom of being a teen. (headlights pointed toward the dawn). teen angst (zipper blues) as well as having a snide contempt for other people's opinion (morphine city slippin dues) But at the same time it involves making your own fun when and wherever you can get it as long as your paving your own way.

  10. anonymous
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    Sep 28th 2009 report

    Me and my dad were talking about this song when it came out a while back he mentioned that it reminded him of the transition of 1979 to 1980 idk tho we all have different outlooks on songs

  11. locknload008
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    May 2nd 2006 report

    Teen agnst.

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway

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