This song always reminds me of my senior year of high school. I had a radio clock that I used as my alarm. At 6:45 A.M. when the alarm went off, “Around the World” almost always seemed to be the song that came blasting out of the tiny speaker to wake me up. The loud, distorted bass from Flea that opens the song is quite unnerving when you’re half-asleep let me tell you.
Though quite popular upon its release, “Around the World” seems to be one of the forgotten singles from Californication. You mostly hear “Scar Tissue”, “Otherside” and the title track on ‘90s oriented stations. It’s a shame, because “Around the World” is probably one of their better singles from that period. It’s certainly better than “Otherside” and I get kind of tired of hearing “Scar Tissue”.
“Around the World” is also a perfect showcase for John Frusciante’s preference for restraint. He could have ended the song with a wild solo, but instead chose a repeated circular rhythm. Bonus points to Anthony Kiedis using non-sense lyrics as a melody line in the third chorus.
This song always reminds me of summer with its laid-back groove and smooth bass-line. It’s also the closest thing that the Smashing Pumpkins ever came to writing a pure pop song. Indeed, it’s light weight feel comes as a welcome relief to the heaviness that surrounds the rest of Mellon Collie & The Infinite Sadness. Billy Corgan isn’t usually one who comes off as fun, but “1979” sounds downright fun compared to some of his other songs. Even the name is bouncy compared to such other song titles as “Fuck You (An Ode to No One)”, “Bullet with Butterfly Wings”, “Cherub Rock,” etc.
What’s odd though, is that’s its’ not the melody that gets stuck in your head but the background voice that is looped throughout the entire song. That’s the part that everyone remembers about the song.
The video seems to capture the song’s feel and brings in a feeling of nostalgia. There’s parties abound: a roll of toilet paper being thrown at Corgan as he sings. It’s a direct contrast to the video for “Bullet with Butterfly Wings” where the band plays in a mud-bath. That video screamed self-loathing as did the song’s famous hook. But “1979” offers something much simpler, which is why even when I grow tired of The Smashing Pumpkins and Corgan’s ego posturing, I still love this song.