“Disarm” by The Smashing Pumpkins

It’s acceptable if a reader can’t figure out the underlying meaning of the song based on the words. That is why, in such situations, we are always appreciative when the singer himself explains the importance of the songs.

The lyrics “Disarm you with a smile” explain Billy’s efforts to disarm his parents’ violence through smiling, making everybody cheerful, and lowering the likelihood of dispute.

“The killer in me is the killer in you” refers to Billy considering a vicious and violent vengeance against his parents while they were sleeping but realizing that his parents had trained him to use violence to solve problems by their abusive actions.

He understands that the violent behaviors he witnessed were solely the result of a bad upbringing. If he hurts his parents, the cycle will continue, and nothing will change. The phrases “what I choose is my option” or “what I choose is my voice” show Billy’s decision to stop the pattern.

“I used to be a little boy. So old in my shoes” refers to Billy having to mature too quickly, which is common in abusive households. Children reach adulthood far sooner than they should.

The Smashing Pumpkins, "Disarm" Lyrics
The Smashing Pumpkins' Billy Corgan talks about "Disarm"

Who wrote “Disarm”?

The Smashing Pumpkins’ Billy Corgan is officially recognized as Disarm‘s sole writer. Furthermore, he is also recognized as one of the two producers of the song. The other half of the production duo is Butch Vig of Garbage fame.

When was “Disarm” released?

It was released exactly on the 21st of February, 1994. Virgin Records released it as a single from The Smashing Pumpkins’ “Siamese Dream” album. This album, which is considered one of the greatest of all time, went on to sell more than six million copies all over the world. It was the band’s second studio album.


Chart Performance and Ban in the UK

While “Disarm” was unable to chart on the Hot 100 in the United States, it was quite successful on other Billboard listings, including Mainstream Rock (where it reached No. 5).

In the United Kingdom, it performed even better. Here, it peaked at position 11 on the UK Singles Chart. Simply put, it was a serious hit there. And what makes the fact that it hit big time in Britain is the fact that it was actually banned by the UK’s national broadcaster, the BBC. thanks to the content of its lyrics.

The primary reason for the ban was because of the phrase “cut that little child” which can be found in the lyrics. Owing to this ban, it received very little airplay on British radio.

Outside of the UK, it was also a major hit in Australia and Canada.

What musical genre is “Disarm”?

It falls underneath a category of pop rock known as alternative rock.

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