The world is a vampire, sent to drain
Secret destroyers, hold you up to the flames
And what do I get, for my pain?
Betrayed desires, and a piece of the game

Even though I know -- I suppose I'll show
All my cool and cold-like old job

Despite all my rage, I am still just a rat in a cage
Despite all my rage, I am still just a rat in a cage
Then someone will say what is lost can never be saved
Despite all my rage, I am still just a rat in a cage

Now I'm naked, nothing but an animal
But can you fake it, for just one more show
And what do you want, I want to change
And what have you got
When you feel the same

Even though I know -- I suppose I'll show
All my cool and cold-like old job

Despite all my rage, I am still just a rat in a cage
Despite all my rage, I am still just a rat in a cage
Then someone will say what is lost can never be saved
Despite all my rage, I am still just a rat in a CAGE

Tell me I'm the only one
Tell me there's no other one
Jesus was an only son, yeah
Tell me I'm the chosen one
Jesus was an only son for you

Despite all my rage, I am still just a rat in a cage
Despite all my rage, I am still just a rat in a cage
Then someone will say what is lost can never be saved
Despite all my rage, I am still just a rat in a CAGE

Despite all my rage, I am still just a rat-in-a
Despite all my rage, I am still just a rat-in-a
Despite all my rage, I am still just a rat in a cage

Tell me I'm the only one
Tell me there's no other one
Jesus was an only son for you

And I still believe that I cannot be saved,
And I still believe that I cannot be saved,
And I still believe that I cannot be saved,
And I still believe that I cannot be saved!

[Please do not change these lyrics, they are exact. I don't want to have to fix them again]


Lyrics submitted by Ice, edited by Mellow_Harsher, Birdo33

Bullet with Butterfly Wings song meanings
Add your thoughts

197 Comments

sort form View by:
  • +6
    General CommentThe title says it all... Billy Corgan feels like he has to be a bullet to get anywhere in life, but bullets don't kill vampires, so he will be forever trapped in this world that drains the life out of humans and in the end death is inevitable.
    bean17on January 06, 2009   Link
  • +6
    Song MeaningI don't see how this song could be anything other than a thinly veiled jab at the music industry...

    ** First: The Verses **

    "The world is a vampire, sent to drain
    Secret destroyers, hold you up to the flames
    And what do I get, for my pain?
    Betrayed desires, and a piece of the game"

    The first verse is Billy Corgan explaining the trade-off between art and commerce ("the game"). What does he get for throwing his art to the wolves? "Secret destroyers" being critics, snarks, executives, etc.

    "Now I'm naked, nothing but an animal
    But can you fake it, for just one more show
    And what do you want, I want to change
    And what have you got
    When you feel the same"

    The second verse is a dialogue with fans regarding the nature of touring and the emotional cost to the performer. Is he just a dancing monkey? The final lines are a call the Alternative scene, imho.

    ** The Chorus **

    "Despite all my rage, I am still just a rat in a cage
    Then someone will say what is lost can never be saved
    Despite all my rage, I am still just a rat in a cage"

    Despite all his rage, he's still at the mercy of the music industry. "Why are you trying to change a lost cause?"

    ** The Religious Allusions **

    In Biblical terms, Job was a righteous man who lived with integrity. However, Satan believed Job only lived this way to get God's praise and protection. Satan proceeds to mess with Job in order to provoke him to denounce God...but he remains a man of integrity and ends up even better off than before.

    This can be seen as a metaphor for what Billy is trying to say about the music industry. Billy believes that he is being accused of paying lip service to the Alternative scene, when in reality, his artistic integrity is authentic and will prevail in the long run.

    The Jesus reference pertains to being sacrificial lamb for the Alternative cause.

    ** Finally: The Title **

    This song is a hit for the music industry while also criticizing it. In other words, a "Bullet with Butterfly Wings"
    Radiosquidon May 05, 2012   Link
  • +3
    My InterpretationBilly Corgan is describing no less then the fundamental human crisis & dilemma. Stuck in this world, a broken dysfunctional being apparently incapable of salvation (liberation - freedom - from our own self - from our own mind).

    Ultimately, We, (you, myself, and each and every being) are the essence and totality of the Universe and We Are Love Itself. There is nothing else.

    As we come into manifestation (human form), some of us remember much. However, most are dissuaded from our innate knowledge and wisdom into ignorance and forget who we truly are. (Most of) the World of humans constantly tell us to forget that we are infinite, to forget that we are Love, to forget that we are whole and complete.

    We fall into a state of feeling incomplete, without love. Most people spend their lives looking, desperately, in vain, outside of themselves for what is infinitely available everywhere, and always, and only, Within: Our own God-Like presence. Even the bank robber is motivated the same: to steal the money to get the feeling of being abundant and being free (our own true essence)- his aim is mistaken as is everyone who acts out of a sense of lack. (The way out is through observing one's mind and getting to see the patterns and to ultimately realize that You are NOT your Mind!, you are the Universe Itself!" The mind is just something that is (also) happening. (Google "meditation" for more about that)

    "The world is a vampire, sent to drain"
    The world is an illusion, a temptation, seeming to appear as offering fulfillment of our desires, yet when we chase after those desires, we become more lost and confused and weak. Hence the Title of the song represents the world, beautiful, as a butterfly, but it's a bullet that will kill you
    "Secret destroyers, hold you up to the flames"
    What appear as apparently beautiful temptations are actually destroyers and burn you, hold you up to the flames - the suffering - arising out of your own ignorance.
    "And what do I get, for my pain?"
    What is the point of this game? What do I gain from it? What am I doing here?
    "Betrayed desires, "
    the illusion/lie of fulfillment from seeking desires (obviously not a gain)
    "and a piece of the game"
    a sense of belonging; membership in an ignorant human society. Because to have self knowledge in an ignorant human society is often to be alone. So beings give up (often through coercive scolding and punishment) the Totality to be "together" with the other limited "humans" around them.

    "Even though I know I suppose I'll show
    All my cool and cold like old job"
    Even though I am a knowing being, and know the way of Love and humanity, it's so extraordinarily difficult to remain strong in a world that hates self knowledge that I will bend like I always have and pretend I am ignorant once again. I cannot seem to walk my walk of integrity. Not sure about Job reference, don't have a bible.
    "Despite all my rage I am still just a rat in a cage"
    A Rat here represents a selfish, heartless, ignorant creature (sorry, rats, don't know if that's entirely true). No matter where we are, we are still motivated by our own selfish desires on some level. We manufacture our own suffering, our own rage (resulting from unfulfilled desire, of ultimately to be Love. Our misguided and mistaken desires arising out of an ignorant and false belief of lack) Our Rage is our own byproduct of our self induced ignorance. We build our own cages. So our emotions, coming from the same mind that traps us, will never liberate.

    "Then someone will say what is lost can never be saved"
    (ignorant humans tell you "you cannot be whole, complete, you cannot be Love, forget it!)
    Despite all my rage I am still just a rat in a cage
    Now I'm naked, nothing but an animal
    acknowledging the truth of this, I am unclothed, not human, I have failed to walk my walk, I am not more than animal
    "But can you fake it, for just one more show"
    everybody wants Billy to be the star, just keep faking it for us
    "And what do you want, I want to change "
    What are YOU doing here? I want to Change!
    "And what have you got When you feel the same "
    What are you doing here idolizing me? Demanding this charade; I am unfulfilled the same as you! What have you gained from me? Nothing! (to his more mainstream audience)

    "Tell me I'm the only one
    Tell me there's no other one
    Jesus was the only son
    Tell me I'm the chosen one
    Jesus was the only son for you"
    A society that sees only Jesus as Savior will never accept You as whole and complete and the essence of Love. Only Jesus can do that!, step down son how dare you represent Love!, you are but a mere sinner, one of us fallen ones!

    "and I still believe that I cannot be saved"
    is he screaming defeat? or is he saying he cannot be saved by (your) Jesus, "don't lie to me, only I can save myself!"

    Of course, Billy's passion in this song can be a call to action, a call to awaken to this dilemma, perhaps a result of his finding a way out and exclaiming the futility of being stuck so that others will navigate their own way to freedom. Or maybe it's just his pure expression of the state.
    nextarion June 11, 2013   Link
  • +3
    General CommentIt's about being a rodent.
    macychickon August 26, 2013   Link
  • +2
    General CommentYeah!!! Someone finally got the words to one of my FAVORITE songs!!! I believe it's about trying to express how you feel. They feel trapped, just as I do.
    vampyrblood15on December 06, 2001   Link
  • +2
    General Comment"Jesus was an only son for you
    ...
    and i still believe that i cannot be saved"

    Well, he says that Jesus is Gods son, but nevertheless, he still thinks he can't be saved. Maybe he thinks he's done such terrible things that he can't be forgiven or saved, perhaps the reason he feels like a "rat in a cage."

    By the way, I thought this was for discussing lyrics, not telling our favorite songs. =P
    crone85on May 25, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThe world is relentless. We're all trapped in it. There's no way to escape. After all. life is a terminal disease. No one can survive it for long. Our life flashes before our eyes in the moments before death, and it's called living. Despite the strength of our emotions, love, hate, anger, we can't really achieve anything permanent except our own destruction.
    I hadn't really considered the POW angle before, but I think this song relates to their survival of the horrifying conditions, and having the pride to keep on going, day after day, as they say: "Can you fake it, for just one more show." Hide the pain, and fuck them all. Sometimes all that sustains us is our hate.
    Lemon June 20, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General Comment@ash, sorry for sounding this way, but did you even read Job? God didn't just take all of Job's possessions. God killed all of Job's children. Everyone and everything Job loved, God took away from him. Then he tortured Job and caused Job to torture himself by ... well, I'll spare everyone the graphic details, but then everyone in town decides that Job must have sinned and turns on him. That's a heck of a lot more powerful than just taking all his stuff. Heck, I've lost all my stuff several times over, good luck getting someone to listen to me complain about it much less get a story about me passed down over thousands of years.

    And as to the whole point of the story, Job does not turn on God. He simply asks God why, to which God answers (summing and paraphrasing) "I created you". Then God gives him his belongings back and Job has several replacement children.

    It really is okay for you to crack open a Bible and read it for yourself, Martin Luther made sure you had access to it and wouldn't get in trouble or burned at the stake or anything. It's easy enough to understand without the aid of a pastor, although asking one for help couldn't hurt either. Just please understand that, no matter what you believe, those stories are a powerful part of our history and have a lot of deep personal meaning for people, even non-Christians. And I guess, without sounding like too much of a jerk, it made me a little sad to think that someone out there has it good enough that merely losing all their possessions is enough to earn a comparison with Job. I think I even felt a sharp tinge of jealousy.
    sumyunguyon July 08, 2009   Link
  • +1
    Song MeaningThis song is about feeling the frustration of the prison system around you that sucks out your life force.

    You are but a mere slave in this system were we build the world for the governming elite rich. A system that sucks out your life force( vampire life drainers) by the secret destroyers (the illuminati) and for what misery, entrapment ,lies and follow forced false happiness ideals. We are under the illusion were free in this world. this quote explains this.
    '' The world is a vampire, sent to drain ,Secret destroyers, hold you up to the flames
    And what do I get, for my pain?, Betrayed desires, and a piece of the game''.

    Even though a lot of people know the world is corrupt they still
    play along in the system and even defend it because they have become so dependant on it.
    '' Even though I know - I suppose I'll show, All my cool and cold - like old job'' .

    As frustrating as this world is people follow it as they see no other way out. And they are right in a sense but remember things can always be changed if you try and change it. The government works for us and if you get enough people to see through them they will be overturned. This quote describes his anger and frustration with the world as he sees no way out of the cage (the system) and feels like a small harm and power less animal(rat) to the big controlling human .
    '' Despite all my rage I am still just a rat in a cage'' .

    People need to stop listening to the idea '' Then someone will say what is lost can never be saved'' . we can always reclaim this world and all that is lost, a change in mindset is all.
    digoe04on June 03, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentIt's about feeling helpless, and being frustrated by your own uselessness. He wants to change and be a better person but he can't. He's alone. And he feels like a "rat in a cage." The fact that he uses a rat shows how lowly he thinks of himself. As some sort or filthy vermin. The sad part is, no one would really want to help a rat if it's already in a cage. Rats aren't exactly man's best friend. Therefore, no one will bother with him. He's going to remain trapped in his own misery expecting nothing but what it already has, and hoping for a change.
    watchingforelephantson May 10, 2011   Link

Add your thoughts

Log in now to tell us what you think this song means.

Don’t have an account? Create an account with SongMeanings to post comments, submit lyrics, and more. It’s super easy, we promise!

Back to top
explain