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
With the headlights pointed at the dawn
We were sure we'd never see an end
To it all

And I don't even care
To shake these zipper blues
And we don't know
Just where our bones will rest
To dust I guess
Forgotten and absorbed
Into the earth below

Double cross the vacant and the bored
They're not sure just what we have in store
Morphine city slippin dues
Down to see

That we don't even care
As restless as we are
And we found pull
In the land of a thousand guilts
And poured cement, lamented and assured
To the lights and towns below
Faster than the speed of sound
Faster than we thought we'd go
Beneath the sound of hope

Justine never knew the rules
Hung down with the freaks and ghouls
No apologies ever need be made
I know you better than you fake it

To see that we don't even care
To shake these zipper blues
And we don't know
Just where our bones will rest
To dust I guess
forgotten and absorbed
Into the earth below

The street heats the urgency of now
As you see there's no one around



Lyrics submitted by Ice, edited by Luckyy777

1979 song meanings
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  • +18
    General CommentThis song means so much. It brings something out in me that I dont think I have seen from any other song. Might help that I'm a disillusioned teenager, just like Billy is singing about here, but I guess that's what 90's alternative rock is all about.

    This song makes me think of where I am now. Being a teenager is a strange time... it's the prime of our youth, when we get out and see the world. We learn so much about ourselves during this time. Like Eddie Vedder said... all that's sacred comes from youth... but it's more than that. Not only is it the prime and the epitome of our youth, but it's also when the prospect of being an adult really dawns on us. It's a very exciting, magical time, but it's also a very sad, fleeting one. To realize that here we are, old enough to drive and stay out late and fall in love and everything, but we gotta make the best of it while we can. Because tomorrow, we may be putting on a suit and tie every day, paying bills, sitting at a desk. It's like we only get a tiny window to learn who we really are as mature people, before the burden of modern life crushes who we wished to become.
    This is my favorite verse, it almost chokes me up

    "And we don't know
    Just where our bones will rest to dust
    I guess forgotten and absorbed
    Into the earth below"

    Getting old is inevitable, but for a teenager, it feels so far away... we're safe from all that noise and despair in our little bubble of rebellion.

    "And we dont even care
    as restless as we are"

    Rare indeed is the teen who is content with sitting at home with themselves. We all want love and fulfillment and happiness and our own space. It's hard to find sometimes. But the trip is half the fun.

    Not sure why I just wrote all that, I guess I'm in a very shapable mood and this song caught me in the right way. So remember, you're never too young for love and fulfillment and you're never too old for rebellion and change. And if you're a teenager trying to find your way, do it, no matter what holds you back. Smoke a joint, sneak out, stay out with your friends until 4 AM, tell the person you love that you love them, see the world, tell people you hate to fuck off, listen to music that makes you happy to be alive, or okay with wishing you werent. Some day we'll be old and gray and we'll look back on the 5 years or so from when you come into your own and when you get real world responsibilities, and we'll wish we'd have done these things. Or, we'll be glad we did. Enjoy the ups and downs of teenage life while you can. Dont worry too much about the future, because tomorrow may never come, but today is here for sure.
    Tig45on January 24, 2012   Link
  • +8
    General CommentThis is one of the Pumpkins' best songs, one of my all-time favs... The lyrics are obscure but some of them make sense if you think about it. The theme of the song is nostalgia about Billy Corgan's youth.
    "With the headlights pointed at the dawn / we were sure we'd never see an end to it all" - the youths in the story of the song are full of life and invincible and full of hope - they'll never see an end to their youth.
    "And i don't even care to shake these zipper blues" - zipper blues - sexual frustration?
    "And we don't know just where our bones will rest / to dust i guess" - the teens have no real aim in life and an uncertain future.
    "We feel the pull in the land of a thousand guilts and poured cement" - this is a metaphor for life in the city.
    All in all such a good song, even if not all the lyrics make sense ;-)
    Cherub Rockon May 22, 2002   Link
  • +6
    General CommentShakedown 1979
    Cool kids never have the time
    On a live wire right up off the street
    You and I should meet

    This suggests the typical longing for connection felt by most suburban teenagers. Notice that the speaker seems to speaking only to himself; “Cool kids never have the time”. The next 2 lines are that yearning for a specific friend (perhaps a girl) “on a live wire right up off the street” A telephone wire perhaps? It also seems to point towards that desire all teenage boys have, they want to be “live wires”- dangerous, outgoing and generally interesting.



    Junebug skipping like a stone
    With the headlights pointed at the dawn
    We were sure we'd never see an end
    To it all

    I’ve read that Junebug was a song Billy was fond of when he was young, the “skipping like a stone” also creates the image of carefree times by the sea. Notice also that the speaker now appears to be older than in verse 1. He has access to a car, and refers now to “we” rather than “I”; he now has friends he was longing for. The “headlights pointed at the dawn” creates the sense of looking to the future. In the next line however, the speaker is now reflecting on the past, no longer speaking as a teenager. There’s real sorrow in the last 2 lines of this verse.



    And I don't even care
    To shake these zipper blues
    And we don't know
    Just where our bones will rest to dust
    I guess forgotten and absorbed
    Into the earth below

    Again we are back to the voice of the teenager. “zipper blues” may be sexual frustration. I think he is saying that, although this is the source of a lot of paint for teenagers, it doesn’t even occur to him that this will change. “we don’t know…where our bones will rest” paints the picture of a young person who still has no idea where his life will go. As we see later in the song, it suggests that he doubts that he will even be in his current city/town later in life.



    Double cross the vacant and the bored
    They're not sure just what we have in store
    Morphine city slippin dues
    Down to see

    The first line is a reference to how teenagers are often quite ruthless in how they pursue a good time. The “vacant and bored” are peers who they don’t want to spend time with because they are seen as dull. This is perhaps a nod to the voice in the first verse longing for “cool kids”. Is he now one of those cool kids he used to idolise? The idea of morphine could be that of using drugs to suppress pain, I’m guessing it’s a metaphor for teenagers’ drinking/smoking pot. Morphine is also very similar to heroin, is the speaker now loosing innocence and being exposed to the destructive behaviour in the city?



    That we don't even care
    As restless as we are
    We feel the pull
    In the land of a thousand guilts
    And poured cement
    Lamented and assured
    To the lights and towns below
    Faster than the speed of sound
    Faster than we thought we'd go
    Beneath the sound of hope

    The first two lines represent that teenage dichotomy of emotion- you are both carefree and incredibly caught up in yourself, so at the time your problems seem real, but as you get older they seem insignificant. Feeling the pull of “the land of a thousand guilts and poured cement” seems to be corgan’s gothic phase- very melodramatic language coupled with the desire to head for the big city and make something of yourself, in this case, musically. The part of the verse about speed refers to the speed at which time passes “faster than we thought we’d go”. As if he has been taken by surprise by how quickly “we” have aged. Is “beneath the sound of hope” the idea that there’s nothing that can be done about it?

    The line “lights and towns below” has a personal meaning for me, as, when I was walking home from school there was a railway bridge, which by a strange illusion made it look like my neighbourhood was hovering above the neighbourhood I was walking through. Sitting in my home I often reminisce about my old school, which is in a particularly beautiful part of the city- I feel drawn to “the town below” the railway bridge and my childhood.



    Justine never knew the rules
    Hung down with the freaks and the ghouls
    No apologies ever need be made
    I know you better than you fake it

    Notice the speaker is now alone again, and like at the end of the previous verse is now looking back at the past. This is particularly warm verse; he is saying to his friend “no matter how you change, you will always be the same person to me”. Anyone older than 16 will have friends from their childhood who have changed, but no matter how much they try to transform their image, these friends always retain the essence of the person you first knew them as.



    The street heats the urgency of sound
    As you can see there's no one around

    I’ve always thought he sings “street heats the urgency up now” in this line, but either way I think it means this: He is walking down the street where he grew up, probably in a metaphorical sense, this brings back the “urgency” teenagers feel in their lives- everything is about now, not latter. He soon realises, to his disappointment, that the people that made this place special are no longer there. This brings the dreadful realisation that memories cannot be relived, because the people who created them have moved on.

    I think this song is particularly poignant because of the tone of the last line of each verse- always tinged with sadness. Yet the song as a whole is not depressing- it displays the range of emotions you’d expect from a review of the past. However, I think its fair to say that regret is the overriding sense that this song evokes.

    I realise that this is a song, and the music is just as important as the lyrics, but I can’t really talk about music using text alone.
    droehon January 29, 2009   Link
  • +4
    General CommentI think this song is about the politics of being a teenager, and growing up.
    cherub_saturnineon April 29, 2002   Link
  • +4
    General Commentsong about the past. some nostalgia.
    warheadon May 02, 2002   Link
  • +3
    General CommentIt's about not having anything to do, growing up in the suburbs, and being bored in general. And yeah, the lyrics are obscured, but what Pumpkin's song isn't?
    Crocon May 07, 2002   Link
  • +3
    General CommentIts about a group of care free teenagers. the line "And I don't even care ,To shake these zipper blues" seems to imply that it is a group of guys who would rather just goof off and hang out rather than make themselves appealing to the opposite sex. later in the song it says "Justine never knew the rules, Hung down with the freaks and the ghouls" implys that there was a girl who liked them for who they were and didn't care that they didn't have much to offer her.
    patrick1750on February 28, 2012   Link
  • +2
    General CommentROUS, you are very, very wrong. What Billy said was that lots of people were telling him that "Perfect" had a "1979" feeling, so for the VIDEO for perfect, he got together almost all of the kids from the 1979 video, and the VIDEO was supposed to be of the kids 10 years later. The song itself, 1979 is just about what everyone has said, reminiscing on billy's part of being a teenager and being restless and bored. Perfect I think is about just... meeting a special girl or something, I'm not really sure, whatever though, Billy is a god.
    ezekiel856on May 11, 2002   Link
  • +2
    General Comment"Faster than the speed of sound,
    faster than we thought we'd go"

    Youth is a fucking ride. It's awesome. But it's a short one and it's over before we know it, so enjoy it before ya get whisked away into the fuck-all nowhereness of life.
    Tig45on January 29, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General Commentthis song is a masterpiece :D
    rds1979caon April 29, 2002   Link

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