Panopticon (song)

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Single by The Smashing Pumpkins
from the album Oceania
Released September 15, 2012
Format Digital download
Recorded 2011
Genre Alternative rock
Length 3:52
Label EMI/Caroline
Writer(s) Billy Corgan
Producer(s) Billy Corgan, Bjorn Thorsrud
The Smashing Pumpkins singles chronology
"The Celestials"
"Being Beige"

"Panopticon" is the second single from The Smashing Pumpkins's eighth album Oceania.[1] It was originally released as a promotional single to radio airplay on September 15, 2012.[2]

Background and recording[edit]

In an interview with MusicRadar, Corgan stated, "It's similar to Quasar in that we had the opening riff and didn't know what to do with it. It sat for a while, but everybody felt strongly about it. It had a, dare I say, 'modern-feeling' to it, but still in the style of guitar that I like to play. Ultimately, I just sat down and wrote the song on the piano. Sometimes, when you've got a riffy song, it helps to just play the chords with no rhythm, and then you hear the 'song' in it. It's those very Paul McCartney/Wings-type chords – Broadway-type chords. What I'm most proud of from a songwriting standpoint is how it goes from D major to A minor. It goes from a very 'majorly' feel into something sorrowful, almost a Spanish feel. I don't know how the heck I did that, but it's one of my favorite things in the song, how you can keep the key but change the emotion."[3]


NME described the song as "elegant and dreamy".[4] Consequence of Sound declared that it was "heroic".[5] Spin magazine's review of Oceania focused on Byrne's drumming on Panopticon, stating "the impressive, tom-heavy rumble of "Panopticon" quickly asserts his lithe, explosive, decidedly Jimmy Chamberlain-esque ferocity, a deft balance of muscle and sinew."[6] Artistdirect also emphasized Byrne's contribution by describing his drumming as "flawless percussive propulsion".[7]

On Corgan's voice, the Chicago Sun-Times said, "He sings (not barks, not whines) melodious lines above the fray."[8]

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer noted Nicole Fiorentino's "highly musical bass lines".[9]