Oceania

Songfacts®:

  • This 9-minute epic is the title track of American alternative rock band Smashing Pumpkins' ninth studio album. Billy Corgan explained the significance of the Oceania title to Australia's Channel-V. "There's a couple of symbols there that are pretty easy to access," he said. "One, of course, is that I've had an interesting romantic association with Australia, with my woman Jess [Origliasso, one half of The Veronicas]. And Australia as a symbol, as an independent spirit. There's the famous quote 'No man is an island,' we all have to reconcile our own 'islandness,' for lack of a better word."
  • Regarding Oceania's themes, Corgan told The Australian that the 13 tracks address modern-day isolation. "I think we're all going through unique isolation right now, particularly as it applies to technology," he said. "Walking down the street with the phone - that's the new walk. You see it everywhere. I've started now... if I go for a walk I shut the phone off so I won't even be tempted to look... so I can walk for 10 minutes and just look at the trees. This is an isolation that is unprecedented. This is part of the Orwellian thinking of 'what does it mean to be part of a collective if everyone's brain is shut off.'"
  • Corgan explained to MusicRadar.com how this multi-sectioned song came together: "For the longest time, we just had the opening figure and some other parts," he said. The way that it's broken into three sections wasn't the original intention. It was meant to be a long song, but we were like, 'This is going nowhere.' So the arrangement that is there came together the day we recorded it. I just winged it. We felt strongly about it, and that was it.

    "If you take those changes, Section Two and Section Three, and played them over the opening beat," he continued, "they would feel kind of unremarkable. It was something about placing them in a different context a la Yes, with a little nod at the end to Vangelis [laughs], and it just seemed to work. We didn't sit around and intellectualize it. There it is - it works."
  • Corgan told Artist Direct that "there's a lot of unconscious stuff on Oceania." He continued: "What's weird is there are some lyrics on here lifted from other songs of mine. I'll hear a line and say, 'Did I rip that off from another song?' I wasn't even conscious of if I was appropriating my own material. It's kind of strange. In 'G.L.O.W.', which we did a few years ago, the first line of the song is 'I'm so alone.' The chorus of 'Oceania' is 'I'm so alone, I'm so alone.' In the past, if I saw a repetition, I would've just canceled it on form. It never even crossed my mind until the record was done. I thought, 'Oh s--t!' [Laughs] It hearkens back to little touchstones and moments, but it wasn't done consciously. I wasn't trying to be cute."

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