The Smashing Pumpkins

Bullet with Butterfly Wings

Composed by Billy Corgan

Song Review by

A deep thrust, ”Bullet with Butterfly Wings is a ferocious slab of crunch guitar and biting vocals. That’s to be expected, of course. But what brings unyielding depth to the charge is that the bare intent is encompassed in the claustrophobic flapping of dark wave and early 1980s post- punk, glam rock and yet still manages to thrill both the drowners and head bangers with one, imperceptibly finessed swoop. With the astute Gen-X observation that “the world is a vampire, sent to drain”, Corgan pulls the pulse out of the mainstream and jabs it into his own vision of the world across a song that once would have been tagged “confessional” poetry, but is now stripped bare, honest and as autobiographical as the listener wants to make it. In Corgan’s hands, ”Bullet with Butterfly Wings” is both a dashboard confessional woven with a fair smack of religious prodding, and a damn good musical outburst, that creates an aural subterfuge for the lyrics. A highlight of the Smashing Pumpkins’ Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness LP, the song was a fitting first single, the perfect demonstration of just how the Pumpkins’ musical view had skewed, skewering other songs as it thumped marvelously up both the U.S. and U.K. charts in late 1995.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness 1995 Virgin 4:18
The Aeroplane Flies High 1996 Universal Music 4:18
Greatest Hits 2001 Virgin 4:17
Ultimate Grammy Collection: Contemporary Rock 2008
Various Artists
Shout! Factory 4:18
Oceania: Live in NYC [Video] 2013 Universal 5:02
blue highlight denotes editor's pick