Mayonaise

Album: Siamese Dream (1993)

Songfacts®:

  • Billy Corgan got the title for this song after looking in his refrigerator. Corgan had many interesting names for songs. He said this about coming up with titles: "Say you write a song about a chandelier, and the chandelier gives off light. And the light is the color red and red reminds you of the color your not supposed to wear around a bull. So you name the song 'Cow.'"
  • The title is not the correct way to spell "Mayonnaise." Corgan also used alternate spellings with the song "Galapogos" (Galapagos) and the album Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness (Melancholy). >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Cam - St. Catharines, Canada, for above 2
  • According to Billy Corgan, when he wrote the lyric he just "threw together a bunch of weird one liners." He says that while the song doesn't have any continuity, it later made some sense to him, as he could see that it reflected what he was going through at the time.
  • In 1756 a sauce made from olive oil and egg yolks was invented by the French chef of Louis François Armand de Vignerot du Plessis, duc de Richelieu. While the Duke was defeating the British at the successful siege of the English-held St. Philip's Castle, his chef was creating a victory feast that included a sauce made of cream and eggs. When the chef realized that there was no cream in the kitchen, he improvised, substituting olive oil for the cream. Located in Mahón, port city and the capital of Minorca, the successful siege had resulted in the French's gain of the entire island. The chef named the new sauce "Mahonnaise," (or mayonnaise) in honor of the Duke's victory. (From the book Food for Thought: Extraordinary Little Chronicles of the World by Ed Pearce)
  • The distinctive guitar sound came about in a very lo-tech fashion. Corgan explained: "The origin of the squealing high note was, I bought this guitar for $65, and it was such a cheap guitar that every time I'd stop playing it would make that whistle. So when we wrote the song, we wrote in these parts that would stop so the whistle became part of the song because every time I would stop it would whistle."

Comments: 34

  • Ray Ray Reynolds from HomeWhat matters almost about music, is the way it makes you feel.
  • Austin from Elmwood Park, IlI agree with what some of you are saying. It seems like Billy just wrote this piece of music and didn't know what to write it or what to make it about. But I think that's ultimately what it ends up being about. He doesn't know how he feels and he worries he's not being true to himself. I think "fool enough to almost be it, cool enough to not quite see it" is about being yourself. Which is ultimately how it ends. When you're a teenager or really in any phase of personal development where you're meeting new people in a new situation, it's quite obvious we aren't really ourselves. You're foolish enough to almost let your guard down. But you're cool enough to not quite see that that's ultimately what needs to be done. It's a sarcastic "cool," an immature "cool." And it's also immature of that person to fight what's natural which is simply to react naturally in social settings. I think it's something that hangs with most of us all through our lives. Then the song ends with "I just want to be... me. And when I can, I will." I think this song surely touches on love interests and ultimately every aspect of Billy's life, but it seems like it's his up and down battle with just being honest with himself and essentially accepting defeat in the fact that he's not always going to be himself. It's an out cry from the heavens "I just want to be me!" But then an immediate "well... when I can at least" so I think it's an honest take on the fact that we aren't always going to be honest with ourselves and others. And that's okay. Nobody is perfect. Just do what you can when you can. Anything else is unrealistic to expect. The whole song just sounds like a weight being lifted. Just my thoughts.
  • Kevin Lang from Denver, CoI have my own strange and literary thought about this song (which is my favorite Pumpkins song on SO many levels). There was a terrific writer in the 70s named Richard Brautigan. He was a poet and a novelist, and wrote wonderful and strange whimsical tales. Think of Mitch Hedberg were a novelist, or if Vonnegut got his start in modern day. Brautigan's breakthrough book was called 'Trout Fishing in America'. It is terrific. and weird. and pointless. During the narrative in the book, the protagonist (who name is actually Trout Fishing in America) that he always wanted to end a book with the word mayonnaise. it isn't mentioned again, or dwelled on. On the last page of the book, though, is a the end of the story. Then, a blank page. Then, the word 'mayonnaise'.

    I realize it is far fetched. From what little I know of Billy that I have obsessively studied... it makes sense to me. Anyhow, go pick up a copy of the late Richard Brautigan's work.
  • Gladys from Chicago, IlWhen I was 24 and going through a pretty nasty divorce, I always saw this song as a promise to myself--"I just want to be/Me/And when I can/I will..." I felt stifled by a strict upbringing, by the expectations of my family and everyone else (I was one of those kids who are really only average at everyday things, but who knew how to score through the roof on standardized tests and the like, so I got a reputation for being really intelligent when I just had a big vocabulary) and I felt like once I reached my 20's, it was time to grow up, settle down, get married, have a solid career...I felt like I was never going to get to be the person I was meant to be, who (in my mind) was wild and creative and transgressive and possibly even interesting and/or NOT a waste of oxygen. When I heard this song, especially the ending, I promised myself that somehow I would one day become that person.

    Well, time has passed and life has intervened, and now I'm an unemployed 41-year-old living in my mother's basement. I still love this song--the whole album, actually--but man, do I feel like my life has been a total waste. Hooray for promises, I guess...Probably my favorite Pumpkins song, regardless.
  • Mike from Tempe, AzGod its really brutal reading about what people think a song is about and knowing how wayyyyyyy off they are. I think of all the times i have tried to find out the meaning of a song that meant so much to me, that i related to so much.......only to find out it didnt mean what i thought at all. Obviously it completely ruined it for me from then on. Anyway, i feel everyone hears music with their own heart and mind and whatever that song means to them at the time, they should just leave at that because that is all that matters. im sure if i were an artist and my music meant alot to people or got them through difficult times, it wouldnt matter what the music was so-called really about.
  • Jared from Corpus Christi, TxSome of these interpretative remarks are crazy if not funny to say the least...This song is a combination of many things...His childhood was rough, father divorced his mother (what a shock, "mother weep the years i'm missing , all our time cant be given back") And then remarried. The Stepmother was both physically & emotionally abusive to him & his brother Jesse who suffers from Tourette syndrome & other mental issues. His father divorced the stepmother leaving them to live with the bitter stepmother. The song IS about his LOST childhood due to the fact he spent much of it taking care of & defending his brother. JUNE is a girl in this song.... The song IS about giving up on things you can no longer obtain, nostalgic feelings like the time he was away from his birth mother.... It is about being human & failing but trying to move on... People this is not rocket science, I know a lot of you have to sit there daily reading Bull Sh!t . Try reading a little about his life growing up before making a statement. There have been many true unauthorized biographies published... Billy Corgan himself is writing a AUTOBIOGRAPHY that touches on MANY bases I mentioned here in this comment. It will be release next year... If your interested in knowing anything about his personal life & life with the band(s) I suggest picking it up... Rather than pretending to know it all already.
  • Dee from Newport News, VaThere are some songs that you sing along to, and others that you just sit and listen to on a bad day. "Mayonaise" is one of those. The first time I heard this song, I was suffering with depression. I still am to this day, but not as severe. But at the time, I didn't have anybody to talk to about it. My only real best friend had went to a different school. And the "friend" I'd been spending my time with, had only been using me. So, I was sad. But this song always made me feel better about everything, and it still does. It's a timeless song, and i"ll always love it. To me, a part of it means you're in a crowd where you don't really belong, but you stay with them simply because of a survival method in high school. And the reason I say that is because he keeps saying, "When I can, I will" then towards the end he says, "I just want to be me...but when I can, I will" and basically its all he wants to do. But that's just how I feel. I think the meaning's pretty neutral.
  • Karl from Ingatestone, United Kingdomi was hearing this until i was 16, and next time i do a Smashing Pumpkins tribute CD in my next pad, i use this as the closing song
  • Marielle from Salt Lake City , UtTiffany, I just read your comment and related to you so much it brought me to tears. It's unreal what some children have to go through and where that kind of pain takes us in life. I too have the pleasure of being a beautiful mother to my children. Unfortunately I went down the path with horrible addictions, depression, complete loneliness, failed marriages and suicide attempts. I am stronger now today than I think anyone could be and so grateful for who I am and where I've been. Every day gets a little bit better! This song has been there for me my whole adult life:) Thank you for your words!
  • Broc from Ass, MeJoel from Seattle, Billy Corgan was NEVER addicted to Acid. It's not even an addicting drug in the first place, and second of all, you have no proof of anything you are saying.
  • Matt from Houston, TxAlso I am glad you found some one as All I have is my amatuer band and the shack I live in.
  • Matt from Houston, TxI know where you are coming from tiffany and this song does help. I won't go to much into detail about myself, but sometimes when I was[and am] suicidal I like to play this on a cloudy day and look out on a rooftop and just letting go, at peace with my soul.then I might go out for my daily jog to blow off steam.
  • Tiffany from Lake Forest, CaI dont know all the facts of why this song was written or what for. All I know is what it means to me. I went through alot of pain with my mother growing up. She was in and out of drugs all my life (only the future can tell from here out) I was beaten alot and when I was 12 or so I would run away and hope to never go back. At the age of 14 I ran and was gone for weeks on end go back for a day or two then go again. At 16 I left for good, or so I thought. I went to a artist colony and was there for 10 months before the cops cought me and halled me off to jail. I remember crying while I was there so hard, Doing whatever drug I could find to not feel hungry, sleeping with men to have a place to stay. I hated my mom she couldnt cry enough to feel my pain growing up. I just wanted to have a childhood and grow up like a normal kid and not be told I wasnt good enough to join track, basketball, or a debate team. I was never good enough to do anything but be confined to my room while I was at home. Later when I did return at 17 I was not good enough to have friends or go to school because I was a stupid B*t*h that would have to be driven. I hitched rides to go to school at 17, I was doing hard drugs at 14-16, I was running away form the abuse at 12. I just wanted to be me. All that time cant be given back no matter what. I never went to a dance, I never had a date, I never did what a normal girl did. I then went through a drastic change I went to a punk show and came home stinking drunk and she was in the back yard smoking a joint. She asked me if I wanted to join her. I said no I dont want to become you. She left at that point. My sisters and I with my dad. I couldnt handle the pressure of being new mommy so I left too before my 18th birthday. I met my husband only a few months later who has helped me cope with some of this pain. We have been together for 8 years now and when I listen to this song It heals the pain just a little because Im not the only one who has felt this pain. But anyways thats what this song means to me, my past. I have a great life ahead of me with my kids who will never have to live the way I did. They will never have to see the inside of a shelter or piss in a container for mommy and daddy, or see me put a drug inside my body. I just want to be me, When I can I will.
    This song is a true metaphor to my life.
  • Andres from Deltona, FlThe word "June" in this song represents a special girl to him. Not the month!!

    Billy Corgan wrote a song early in the bands career called "Bye June"...

    June is a girl not a month on the calendar!
    (in this song anyway)
  • Joel from Seattle, WaThis song was writen by Billy Corigan to help him get over his drug addiction. Hence, "mother weep the years I'm miss'n, all the time can't be given back, shut my mouth and strike the deamons" He was addicted to Acid amoung other drugs at the time.
  • Andrew from Hue, OtherThis song is about ending a secret love relationship.

    -Fool enough to almost be "lovers"
    -Cool enought to not quite see "how it will work out"
  • Steve from Chino Hills, CaWhen it comes to thinking about song lyrics I think about what Sting said about "I'll be watching you." He told of couples who would write to him saying that it was the first dance song at their wedding. He said he wrote it about his ex-wife after their divorce!
    Sometimes you struggle with certain lyrics and in reality it may simply be that the words worked better with the melody. To me most of you guys figured out what the song is about. There is an age in a boy's life where you are tall, ackward, shy, looking like an adult and feeling like a kid. Being shy, isolated, aloof. That's where this song is from in my opinion. I think he is singing to more than one person, parts of it are sung to a lover, and other parts to his parents. He's trying to state his independance, and establish an identity, and hope, but he's got a lot of emotions and feelings going through his head (and probabably hormones). Somehow things seem more deep, more difficult, more extreme when you're a teenager.
  • Danny from Lincolnton, Gato me this song is about perserverence. things might suck, you don't wanna be were you're at, everyone you know hates you. so what!!! you're still you and you control your universe. as far as "june" goes i think that is someone he knew and loved. who didn't share the feelings. b/c he mentions her in several songs. i think he mentions her in rhino as well. and then in muzzle he says "and the words i'm singing in these songs, are for the girl i've loved all along, can a taste of love be so wrong" so thats what i think about june.
  • Derya from Edison, NjI agree most with Dennis from Toledo. I think that in this song, and a lot of their other songs, the narrator has a sort of revelation or awakening--"When your life is oh so dreary, dream." "No more promise no more sorrow, no longer will I follow. Can anybody hear me? I just want to be me!" "When I can, I will. Words defy the plan." It's something so simple, that it hit him like an apple falling on his head--Just have to live your life and go with the flow! It also kind of makes me think of Today from the same album, because, in that song he realizes that his life can't get any worse. He's lost hope and everything else--"Out of love and out of feeling" and I feel like, in Mayonaise, he realizes that now it can only get better.
  • Grayson from Cleveland, Ohi believe this song is the centerpiece of Siamese Dream, which i also believe is the Pumpkins greatest album.
  • Stacey from St.petersburg, FlMayonaise is my favorite Smashing Pumpkins song. The melody,lyrics,and vocals are perfect. And the song is beautiful. I believe(my opinon you don't have to agree)is this song is about running away from maybe love,place, or life maybe all. The lyrics are clear about someone leaving something or somewhere (And run away with me tomorrow
    June ) They would do this in June. But I really love this song no matter what its about.
  • Leedeeya from Singapore, SingaporeI have the faintest idea why but while my boyfriend was breaking up with me, this song was playing in my head repeatedly like some broken record player, hence making the song very significant to me.

    As for me, the song always seemed to have represented 'eloping' as he clearly stated 'run away with me tomorrow june'. It seemed to have quite a link to my strange relationship with my boyfriend because my relationship with him was a secret and forbidden as we defied several taboos and stigmas etc. Eventually fighting against society and family was too much so we split. In terms of the song, it almost sounds like as if he was kinda going through the same thing with this 'june' character and he wanted to run off with her and be free and do what he wants.

    'it' in the song (eg. "Fool enough to almost be it. Cool enough to not quite see it") seems to represent freedom. He doesn't want to be tied down by the stigma he's creating by being involved with June. He bids farewell to everyone and 'mother weep the years im missing' possibly could show that he really has no intention of ever coming back. 'When I can, I will' shows that when he can face them again for bringing upon this humiliation onto his family/social cricle, then he will. Probably even return. 'No longer will I follow' meaning he won't follow society's expectations and will just 'be me'.

    I find that it could be possible that the song could be about him wanting to die (as suggested by other users) and that possibly makes more sense. Knowing Billy Corgan as well ... he's more likely to write about suicide. My explanation for his use of the word 'june' is that it isn't a name but rather the month. He made the note'june' possibly to remind himself of the time he actually had these suicidal thoughts. I wouldn't know. I'm not his best friend or anything.

    but as i said, being in a forbidden relationship made me see the possibility that that is what the song is about. either that or i was so caught up in the relationship that everything seemed to sound like a forbidden relationship.
  • Ollie from Christchurch, New ZealandIt sounds to me like he is describing the thought of his own (potential) suicide. Fool enough to almost be it (dead), Cool enough to not quite see it Doomed (cool enough to not quite see that it is the wrong option) And run away with me tomorrow (Run away from the world through suicide)And I fail
    But when I can, I will Try to understand That when I can, I will (failed to commit suicide but when he can he will). Mother weep the years I'm missing All our time can't be given
    Back (time he is missing through being dead)So bad When I can, I will Words defy the plan
    When I can, I will (same thing). Probably badly explained but it still seems kind of logical personally. There are a few outlying lines from this theory but still get back to me with your thoughts.




  • Mutiny From You from Atlanta, GaThis CD is hard to relate to because It is about him and his struggles. Much different from everyone elses, but thats what is beautiful about it.
  • Mutiny From You from Atlanta, Gathis song is not about abortion... the whole album is about him and his parents (stepmom and dad) him hating them for making him feel lower than himself [Disarm: he wants to kill them][I think in this one hes talking to his mom telling her that her husband and his new wife killed his spirit][Rocket: his parents ignore him and he is forced to grow up by himself]

    I think if the acoustic version had the drums in it it would be awesome. The percussion is awesome. and the lyrics are great
  • Nathan from Bluehaven, AustraliaI love this song so much
  • Christine from Nowhere, MiIm not quite certain as to what the song factually means. I just relate alot of the lyrics to failure and regret. Regret toward things you never tried to suceed in. That feeling of hopelessness that we sometimes feel."No more promise no more sorrow
    No longer will I follow
    Can anybody hear me
    I just want to be me". This lyric is quite powerful and I think basically the reason for my thinking its based on regrets and frustration. Just finding yourself and looking past your failures. We try to cover them up by not talking about them and create a bigger inner demon. When we feel like things are going somewhat good those past regrets and aprehensions follow us and bring back that feeling of confusion and pain. It doesnt matter how much you grow and become more stable emotionally you still find yourself coming back to those same querks engraved in your personality. This song, in my opinion, is just talking about the daily struggles of life. This song is really powerful emotionally and you can feel the emotions throughout the entire song. Its probably my favorite song on Siamese Dream.
  • Mike from Newark, NjWonderful song. In my top 3 off siamese dream. To me, this song has Corgan's best vocals to date. (And I LOVE his vocals.) As mentioned, the acoustic version is also stellar, but I totally prefer the studio version. To me, Mayonaise, Today and Soma (though you have to wait for it) are the best of the trademark Pumpkins "real quiet start then blow you away" type of style. Fond, fond memories of turning up the volume to hear the beginning, then just blasted by the guitar, bass and drums all at once. No one does it like SP
  • Johnny from Roseville, CaI think It's about him wanting to help someone but cannot help himself so he finds challenge in helping others....
  • Jai from Blackstone, MaI honestly don't really know what the intended meaning of this song is. I'm not even sure if I really want to know. Like many many other SP songs, it seems to strike some kind of emotional nerve in my subconcience. I don't know what they are saying but I am flooded with emotions whenever I listen to them. I think if I knew the true meaning, I would lose what I feel. The Mellon Collie album might as well have been the soundtrack to my group of friends and I in high school and I'm sure that is part of it since I don't see them anymore but I know deep down it's much more then that.
  • Nader from Durham, NcSome of my favorite lyrics of all time, challenging even Tomorrow Never Knows and Across the Universe. The acoustic version is especially touching, and this is the song that opened me up to Smashing Pumpkins. "lyrical masterpiece" couldn't fit a song better.
  • Nicolina-maria from Cambridge, MaI've spent a lot of time thinking about this song. I listen to it at least two or three times a day, so it has really become engrained in me. I have often wondered if this song is about an unwanted pregnancy...as quite a few songs on Siamese Dream are... Specifically "Luna", "Disarm", and possibly "Today"...though that is only a listener's interperitation, not what Billy intended to relay (or so I've heard)
    ...(please note that some of it is more personally based than not)...So instead of just interperiting it one way, I've done two. The first is the interperitation referring to an unwanted pregnancy, but the second is my own interperitation (which greatly relates to my own life...hence why I love the song so d@mn much...you should probaly know before reading this that I am very ill as I have advanced autoimmune disease (particularly Rheumatoid Arthritis) and I have had many complications from the condition...now mind you, I am only 17). So here are my two interperitations...Enjoy!

    "Fool enough to not quite be it, cool enough to not quite see it...doomed" - refers to a boy who is not ready to step up and realize the responsibilities of fatherhood/refers to a teenager forced to become an adult far to young and struggling to keep up with the pressures and responsibilities.

    "Pick a pocket full of sorrow, run away with me tomorrow...June" - refers to the boy wanting to escape a life he didn't ask for and wanting "June" (the girl he got pregnant) to leave it all behind as well (possible abortion?)/refers to a life lived in misery and the desire to break free from a world that you can't handle with the one person who might just understand you.

    "We'll try and ease the pain, but somehow we'll feel the same" - if she has the abortion, they have killed a potential life, but if she has the baby, they've ruined their own lives/no matter what you do to try and escape, the guilt of abandoning your responsibilities (and giving up on yourself) always comes back to haunt you...it's a catch 22.

    "Well, no one knows where our secrets go" - this line moves more towards the idea of abortion (or adoption?) or possibly a back reference to him asking her to "run away with [him] tomorrow" so that no one finds out that she is pregnant/covering up the desire to run away from it all by hiding all signs of pain and anguish from the world and losing sight of all that could have been.

    "I send a heart to all my dearies, when your life is oh, so dreary...dream" - suggests that he is still holding on to his old life (dearies=friends?) and that he is suggesting the only way to relive what you once have is to hold it in your dreams/starting to say goodbye to the people closest to the heart and giving them advice to live by that was not possible in this lifetime.

    "I'm rumored to the straight and narrow, while the harlots of my perils...scream" - he begins to live up to his new responsibilites but still yearns for a different life/never letting anything be a bother on the outside and always doing exactly and only what is right all while screaming inside to break free.

    "And I fail...but when I can, I will...try to understand that when I can...I will" - he is doing his abslute best to do the right thing yet is still falling short. Yet even in his struggle, all he really wants is to be everything for her and their child, even if it means failing along the way/no matter how powerful the battle is against them, tears do fall out of pain and pitty, but even in the face of the greatest adversity, the drive to get up and move forward is the first and foremost thought in the brain.

    "Mother weep the years I'm missing, all our time can't be given back" (this is my absolute favorite line in the song) - asking his mother to recognize the loss of his childhood and that he did what he did and cannot take it back/Asking a mother to not be afraid to cry for a life that will be cut short and that all the time they spent together was not in vain; that no matter what, the mother will always have her memories and no one can take those away from her.

    "Shut my mouth and strike the demons that cursed you and your reasons, out of hand and out of season, out of love and out of feeling so bad" - he gives up on trying to win back his childhood and finally steps up completely into the role that he is forced to play. He is protecting his "family" (Jane and the child?) to such lenghts that after them, he has nothing left to give anyone else. Yet because he finally realizes how truly important they are it doesn't matter to him any longer/Silently fighting a losing battle for the sake of someone else. It is not the right reason to be fighting (out of hand) and the time to do so has already passed (out of season). The fight has drained out every last emotion (out of love) and all that is left is complete numbness and no one (especially the "warrior") cares anymore.

    "Words defy the plan" - he says one thing and thinks another about the entire situation/The plan is to let go, but others beg for more time and the selfless give in and hold on for a drawn-out death.

    "Old enough to always feel it, always old, I'll always feel this" - he's getting comfortable in his new skin yet realizing how much he has grown up because of it and how old he feels now. He will never forget the mistakes he made and he's finally old enough to reflect and learn from them/Carying the burden from the first moment and growing up immediately because of it. Never actually being young, simply existing in a world that has passed by long ago but the pain of this "loss of innocence", so to speak, will forever be more real than anything else.

    "No more promise no more sorrow, no longer will I follow...can anybody here me? I just want to be me!" - moving forward with their new life, but living it in their own way and not depending on others to tell them what to do/Accepting a fate come too quickly with grace and dignity and living out what is left by personal morals...finally becoming a real person before it is too late and stepping out from behind the shadows of greif. Living completely before it's too late to live at all.



  • Dennis from Toledo, OhAlso, Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness is not a misspelling as much as it is a large pun. "melancholy" means sad, gloomy, or upset, so it was turned into a girl's name. Apparently the title of the album is a result of BC and James Iha playing a pun game back and forth.
  • Dennis from Toledo, OhLook at the lyrics to this song. "When I can... I will." It describes a bunch of attempts to do things, with the implication that they end up falling short. It's just a song about a man trying his best, and telling you to relax and go with the flow, and he'll get done what needs to be done. There's also a reference to a girl, just because BC has some sort of trend going with mentioning June. Obviously this is a song that could be seen as a dialogue to a lover, so the idea of a girl here is not totally far-fetched. And if you could understand what the entire song meant, it wouldn't have quite the same meaning to you would it?
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