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If There Is A God
The Smashing Pumpkins

written by Billy Corgan

And if there is a God
I know he likes to rock
He likes his loud guitars
And his Spiders from Mars

If there is a God
I know She's watching me
She says She likes what He sees
But there's trouble on the breeze

Who are you this time?
Are you one of us, flying blind?
'Cause I'm down here throwing stones
While you're so far from home

And if there is a God
Aou know they're on TV
They're the spies with bedroom eyes
That cower in our skies

Who are you this time?
Are you one of us, flying blind?
'Cause we're down here throwing stones
While you're so far from home

And if there is a God
If there is a God





This song has always struck a chord - no pun intended - with me. This isn't a thorough analysis, just some observations on what I think is particularly interesting in a beautiful song and lyric. It asks a lot of rhetorical questions about God and beauty and how they're related. The overall feeling is one of a bittersweet love of making music despite not knowing where the music comes from.

If there is a god
I know he likes to rock
He likes his loud guitars
His spiders from mars
The most uplifting notion is in the beginning, a realist's ("IF") observations that if there is a God, God's got to like rocking out (to Bowie, specifically) just because it can be such a wonderful thing. God is in the mundane, silly, and even profane details. It's a really rather beautiful, if slightly silly, notion.
Are you one of us, flying blind?
'Cause i'm down here throwing stones
While you're so far from home
Billy wants to know if this is all just chaos - how God, who has provided so much love and beauty initially, could let us all mess with each other ("throw stones") while God observes ("so far from home").
And if there is a god
You know they're on TV
They're the spies with bedroom eyes
That cower in our skies
The final verse is where the realist starts getting a bit pessimistic, saying maybe this whole God thing is bull, and priests, the seductive spies we see on TV, scare us into believing. I am a big fan of how this is put - "spies with bedroom eyes." In another context it could be something you'd see in a Bond flick.

This song is really very pretty, a tone poem musing. I would call it optimistic, taking joy in making music despite all the doubts of the origins of the joys involved. Billy has been known to think of himself as a kind of lightning rod for musical ideas. On the VH1 Storytellers program, while talking about the song Stand Inside Your Love, he said, "Every once in a while, a song comes and it comes so fast that you can't even almost remember how it happened, and you almost feel kind of guilty because you almost feel like you don't own the song. Of course, you still take credit but um...(chuckles)..." Still, this attitude of just enjoying music and aesthetics as it comes regardless of whether or not there is a God is a fine place to start being happy with whatever it is you do. Billy never had any sort of consistency about the gender of God in the second stanza when playing this live.

There are two versions of this song, the first with just Billy Corgan and a piano (Late 1998 - Sadlands (Billy's house)) and also a full-band version (Nov 1998 - Oct 1999 - Chicago Recording Company). It was performed live fifty-two times, to various degrees of completeness, intermittently on the Arising! tour, between 1998/12/12 and 2000/05/13, and almost every concert for the Pumpkins Millennium Tour (their last), between 2000/09/18 and the last concert on 2000/12/02. Studio recordings are available on Available on Machina II/The Friends & Enemies of Modern Music, as well as "Machina Acoustic Demos" bootleg. There seem to be other versions, too, and if anyone could help me out where they came from, I'd appreciate it.




How to play it
Billy Corgan & the Pumpkins never seemed to really pick much in the way of an arrangement for this song (explaining the various versions it came in). The song itself is solid and very easy to monkey with - so I present the chords to you and encourage you to get creative.


Chorus x2
C Am-G-C-G
Am G-G-Am-Am
F Am
G C

C Am-G-C-G (If there is a God)
Am G-G-Am-Am
F Am
G C

Verse
Am-G-C-G

F-Am C (who are you this time)
G F
Dm F

Chorus
C Am-G-C-G (and if there is a god...)
Am G-G-Am-Am
F Am
G C

Am-G-C-G

F-Am C (who are you this time)
G F
Dm F

Chorus
C Am-G-C-G
F

Sources
http://www.spfc.org/
http://www.spfc.org/tours/song.html?song_id=267&display= (tour/song info)
http://www.spfc.org/data/music/gtab/ifthereisagod-1091.tab (for verification of chords)
http://www.angelfire.com/bc/billycorgan17/ (for "Storytellers" transcript)
http://members.ozemail.com.au/~kpfraser/tours.htm (for the name of their last tour)

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