Desecration Smile

Album: Stadium Arcadium (2006)
Charted: 27
Play Video

Songfacts®:

  • This song is about lead singer Anthony Kiedis and how happy he is with his girlfriend, Heather. There is a reference to Heather in the line, "Beneath the heather lies the meadowlark." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Spencer - Equinunk, PA
  • When Kiedis sings about being "Serenaded by the terror bird," he's referring to a band called The Terrors, who Heather took him to see.
  • This is the opening track on Mars - disc 2 of Stadium Arcadium, the band's ninth studio album. It's also the album's fourth single.
  • RHCP fans first heard this at The Bridge School Benefit - an annual charity concert held by Neil Young and his wife, Pegi Young - in 2004. That rendition, however, had a different chorus compared to the album version.

    Their producer, Rick Rubin, was at the benefit and thought the song was incredible - noting that even Paul McCartney was nodding his head along to it in the crowd - but said the chorus was weak compared to the verses. Guitarist John Frusciante came back with the new chorus which, Frusciante said, "had a really major-key feel and then [went] back into the dark verse."
  • While this was inspired by Kiedis' own relationship with his girlfriend, he told Rolling Stone the songs reflected their collective experiences with love during the making of the album. "Love and women, pregnancies and marriages, relationship struggles - those are real and profound influences on this record," he explained. "And it's great, because it wasn't just me writing about the fact that I'm in love. It was everybody in the band. We were brimming with energy based on falling in love."
  • For the music video, the band reunited with "Under the Bridge" director Gus Van Sant. The simple clip, shot in one take, features the group huddled together while singing the tune. An alternate take incorporates clips of each member jamming against an ocean backdrop.
  • Emily Kokal of the indie-rock band Warpaint contributed backing vocals on the chorus. At the time, Kokal was dating John Frusciante.

Comments: 13

  • Shiloh from Seattle, WaI don't really know if this works, but I think it kinda references to their old guitarist Hillel Slovak with the "slow to finish and quick to start" emphasizing how instantaneously slovak joined, and how his death in the standard, and musical worl dwas a slow one.

    o.0 anyone agree?
  • Liz from Sydney, AustraliaMan, good days bad days. The progression of the guitar in this song is just awesome. And Kiedis fronts this so well. They really know how to work as a band. They actually have talent unlike some of these crappy Fall Out Boy, Panic! bands... yujkck.

    This is an awesome song. I don't know whether i agree that the whole album is awesome, i reckon that they have definitely produced better, but some of these songs (like this one) are just awesome. I think the Peppers have this 'zone' and when they get into it, they just write music like nothing else. They don't over do it either, which is so awesome. They have some serious talent. I can't really explain it, if you haven't read 'Scar Tissue' dang read it.
  • Sean from Philadelphia, Pai like actually like the original version a bit better. only the chorus is different but its more powerful and energetic i think
  • Robert from Glasgow, United KingdomI love this song because like Jo and Jaffay said it sounds like Neil Young. The guitar and lyrics really remind me of 1970's folk rock; the brilliant metaphors about life and lines like "heavy metal coming from your truck", "beneath the heather lies a medowlark" and "another girl bad for my health" are out of this world. I thought this song had a really sad feel to it though. I thought it would have been about more than just love.
    This is one of my favourite RHCP songs. I love the dark, old-style sultry feel to it. I think it has a similar feel to Blue Viens by The Raconteurs or something by Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan.
  • Mark from Worcester, Mithe band was encouraged to refine the older version when producer Rick Rubin reported positive feed back from non other than Paul McCartney on the first couple of verses.
  • Mark from Worcester, MiThis is an older Chili Pepper song that had a confusing chorus. Not as good as the verse they felt. John Frusciante came up with a new chorus and the song took hold. Kiedis: "That song work's out...it Haunts the heck out of me."
  • Jo from Bethlehem, PaAh! I thought I was the only one who was reminded of Neil Young in this song! TRUE TO THAT
  • Abby from Dublin, IrelandJohn Frusciante's girlfriend, Emily Kokal, sings on the chorus in this song.
  • Tricia from Edinburgh, Scotlandsorry the whole of stadium arcadium is sexxy
  • Laura from Gulf Shores, Alawesome song. it sounds kind of sexy...
  • Jaffay from Warsaw, PolandGreat song.You noticed that sometimes Anthony is singing like Neil Young?
    Especially in the "serenaded by the terror bird" line.
  • Derek from South Jersey, NjOne of the best songs on Stadium Arcadium.
  • Angelo from Las Vegas, Nv"We could all go down to Malibu and make some noise"....

    My faveorite part of this song
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Weezer

WeezerFact or Fiction

Did Rivers Cuomo grow up on a commune? Why did they name their albums after colors? See how well you know your Weezer in this Fact or Fiction.

Ralph Casale  - Session Pro

Ralph Casale - Session ProSongwriter Interviews

A top New York studio musician, Ralph played guitar on many '60s hits, including "Lightnin' Strikes," "A Lover's Concerto" and "I Am A Rock."

Into The Great Wide Open: Made-up Musicians

Into The Great Wide Open: Made-up MusiciansSong Writing

Eddie (played by Johnny Depp in the video) found fame fleeting, but Chuck Berry's made-up musician fared better.

Crystal Waters

Crystal WatersSongwriter Interviews

Waters tells the "Gypsy Woman" story, shares some of her songwriting insights, and explains how Dennis Rodman ended up on one of her songs.

David Clayton-Thomas of Blood, Sweat & Tears

David Clayton-Thomas of Blood, Sweat & TearsSongwriter Interviews

The longtime BS&T frontman tells the "Spinning Wheel" story, including the line he got from Joni Mitchell.

Jesus In Pop Hits: The Gospel Songs That Went Mainstream

Jesus In Pop Hits: The Gospel Songs That Went MainstreamSong Writing

These overtly religious songs crossed over to the pop charts, despite resistance from fans, and in many cases, churches.