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!


Lyrics submitted by Ice, edited by Mellow_Harsher, Birdo33

Bullet with Butterfly Wings song meanings
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197 Comments

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  • +7
    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
  • +7
    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
  • +4
    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 CommentI get many diffrent things out of this song.. the fact that he is a rat in a cage indicates to me he feels Trapped with as MysticDragon said no control over his life..NO ones listening no one is trying to understand."the world is a vampire, sent to drain " i love this first line, explaining how i feel, that the world will suck your blood out.. leave you lifeless...Its an awesome song.. All about sin, pain, frustration, change, etc.. All in all a top song.A top band.. infact the best >;) but i would say that...
    bogan_gurlon May 30, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General Commentit's about someone who is trapped in a situation they have no control over. they're so angry and yet they have no influence over what will happen - "despite all my rage i am still just a rat in a cage"
    Maggoton June 08, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General CommentWell, this is quite obviously the most populat pumpkins song....i remember this from like 2nd grade!
    But anyway, "despite all my rage, I am still just a rat in a cage..."
    I think that even though he's so frustrated and angry because he's oppressed by rules and laws and society, but the people who are oppressing him just make fun of something he takes so seriously. they're like: aww, how cute, a rebellious angst teen, not like we haven't seen one of those before...
    PeaceGypsy420on June 17, 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

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