The most famous song by the Smashing Pumpkins, the mid 1990s most famous rock band, is “Bullet With Butterfly Wings”. Everyone’s heard it, and everyone has always thought the lyrics groaned by morose Pumpkins singer Billy Corgan were about the usual 90s topics: depression, anomie, loneliness, and apathy.
BUT! Over at r/shittyfantheories, Reddit user Iamnotbroke has published an extremely convincing close read of the song’s lyrics, and come to an entirely unexpected conclusion: Bullet With Butterfly Wings is actually about Super Mario.
What follows are the lyrics to the song (set off in quotations), annotated with Iamnotbroke’s theory.
Decide for yourself.
3. “The world is a vampire, set to drain.”
The world is called Mushroom Kingdom; mushrooms are parasitic organisms.
4. “Secret destroyers, hold you up to the flame.”
Bowsers minions, some of whom shoot fire-balls, not to mention jet flames, spinning flame wheels and sentient flames in desert levels and of course Bowser who shoots flames.
5. “And what do I get, for my pain? Betrayed desires, and a piece of the game.”
Mario collects coins but his real desire is Princess Peach who is always ‘in another castle.’
6. “Even though I know - I suppose I’ll show All my cool and cold - like old job.”
Mario knows what will happen every time he wakes up but he shows up anyway, he now has ice flower power-ups, it is his old job.
7. “Despite all my rage I am still just a rat in a cage.” (x3)
Mario is frustrated at his existence, to save the princess over and over and over.
8. “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?”
Mario can change into a frog, cat, racoon etc, he knows it’s just a game and when he gets hit he becomes the same as he’s always been.
9. “Tell me I’m the only one Tell me there’s no other one Jesus was the only son, yeah. Tell me I’m the chosen one Jesus was the only son for you”
Mario is jealous of his brother Luigi who now gets his own spinoff games even though he is the one and only real hero.
10. “And I still believe that I cannot be saved.”
From Mario’s point of view every time he dies he does so in real life, he is unaware of the save game feature.