Music/Lyrics: Robert Schneider
Original Artist: The Apples in Stereo
Original Album: New Magnetic Wonder (2007)
Last Update: 2016-02-14
“Energy,” the fourth track off of The Apples in Stereo’s 2007 release New Magnetic Wonder, burst onto the Phish scene as the second set opener on 7/5/13 at SPAC. Initially thought to be a new original song, it was quickly revealed to be a cover. This fact disappointed some fans who had long been awaiting new original material, while simultaneously relieving others that the Mr. Wizard-meets-Greg-Brady lyrics were not written by Phish. Of course, many of Phish’s own lyrics have had their fair share of detractors over the years, too. Say what you will about the lyrics, chances are after hearing the song you’ll be singing “Eeeelec-tri-city” to yourself hours after hearing it.
At first blush, “Energy” seems to be an unlikely Phish cover; but dig a little deeper and it’s not entirely shocking. For one thing, The Apples in Stereo wear their power-pop Beatles and Beach Boys influences on their sleeve (the “It’s gonna be alright” line in “Energy” is pretty much lifted straight from The Beatles’ “Revolution 1”). The “Apples” in the band’s name was inspired by “Apples and Oranges” by Pink Floyd, another clear Phish influence. Additionally, Phish had already covered “In the Aeroplane Over the Sea” by Neutral Milk Hotel, another band that along with The Apples in Stereo was part of the Elephant 6 Collective. Fans looking to draw even more attenuated connections may be interested to learn that New Magnetic Wonder was recorded by The Apples in Stereo after they had taken an extended hiatus; in this respect, it is their Round Room, or Joy.
The Apples in Stereo, "Energy"
“Energy” caused many fans to recall the debut of TV on the Radio’s “Golden Age” on 11/27/09. While the tunes occupy different worlds musically, the comparison does seem apt in at least one respect: “Energy” seems primed for extended second set treatments, and early indications are that it will not have to wait as long as “Golden Age” to get it. Frequently soundchecked in the shows following it’s debut, Phish’s second attempt at “Energy” on 7/17/13 in Alpharetta descended almost immediately into deep space. Aided by Fish’s Marimba Lumina stylings and clocking in at just under ten minutes, the song is the jamming centerpiece of the set.
Three shows later at Chicago's Northerly Island, “Energy” was stretched even further temporally, though this version did not venture quite as far into the stratosphere before giving way to “Ghost.” An unfortunate irony for those watching the webcast was the “energy” necessary to power internet transmission was knocked out by the halftime storm, so this “Energy” through mid-way in “The Lizards” was not seen live. “Energy” demonstrates just how far out Phish can take a jam even in a short period of time, and serves as a fitting song to have debuted on Summer Tour 2013 – “Apocalypse Now” – when forces of energy played such a prominent role.
”Energy” 7/5/13 Saratoga Springs, NY