‘Empti­ness is lone­li­ness / And lone­li­ness is clean­li­ness / And clean­li­ness is god­li­ness / And God is empty just like me’

Kerrang! (UK) - - Smashing Pumpkins - ZERO (MEL­LON COL­LIE AND THE IN­FI­NITE SAD­NESS, 1995)

Zero wasn’t just a song. It was a con­cep­tual bridling at the no­tion of the rock­star. And it was some­thing of an al­ter-ego for Wil­liam Pa­trick Cor­gan Jr., an anti-su­per­hero per­sona based on pow­er­less­ness rather than power. So, un­like the other lyrics here, these lines per­haps shouldn’t be taken ut­terly se­ri­ously. But they do speak of Billy’s gen­uinely con­flicted at­ti­tudes to­wards fame, and the ways he was try­ing to ex­press that. As he said in a 1996 Spin in­ter­view, when asked whether he meant the ‘God is empty just like me’ line, “363 days out of the year, the an­swer is no. But for those two days I feel it, I feel it pretty in­tensely.”

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