a Project of the Mockingbird Foundation

Performances Song History Lyrics


Music/Lyrics: Anastasio/Marshall

Vocals: Trey, Page (lead); Fish, Mike (backing)

Albums: Wingsuit

Debut: 2013-10-31

Historian: Dan Purcell (sausagemahoney)

Last Update: 2013-11-12

The kiss-off song is a rock and roll tradition. Bob Dylan made a career out of it, dismissing an ex-lover with wistful finality in "Don't Think Twice, It's Allright," tamping down the flames of an unwanted admirer in "It Ain't Me, Babe," and telling a self-promoting hanger-on to basically get fucked in "Positively 4th Street." In the mid-70s Dylan revived his career with Blood on the Tracks, which included as its centerpiece "Idiot Wind," maybe the most vicious lyric he ever wrote. The Beatles' kiss-off tunes spat venom at girlfriends ("Think for Yourself"), the concept of "celebrity" ("Baby You're a Rich Man"), and Maharishi Mahesh Yogi ("Sexy Sadie"). In "Solsbury Hill," Peter Gabriel dramatized his resignation from Genesis. Bobby Womack's clear-headed "It's All Over Now," obscure at first, found the broad audience it deserved through covers by The Rolling Stones and the Grateful Dead.

Phish has written the occasional kiss-off song over the years, including "Free," which is about throwing your bride out of a dirigible into the ocean. Goodbyes don't get much more emphatic than that. "Monica," which Phish debuted as part of the Wingsuit set on Halloween 2013, isn't quite so dark or definitive. The narrator of "Monica" may be overwhelmed, confused, and ambivalent, but he's sure not happy with the way he's been treated. It's not entirely clear what Monica did, but it's been going on for a while and the singer isn't going to take it anymore. Or at least that's what he says – though you get the sense he'd take her back again if she would just promise to do him right.

”Monica” – 10/31/13, Atlantic City, NJ

Musically the tune is a bright and peppy shuffle with interlocking vocal contributions from all four band members. As with "Rift" and "Limb By Limb," Trey and Page trade lines during the verse, but even Fish gets his spotlight with some extended, percussive vocals on the chorus. Taking advantage of the flexibility of the Halloween format, the debut saw the band use an acoustic setup reminiscent of summer 1996, with Trey on an acoustic guitar, Mike on a standup bass, Page on electric piano, and Fish on just a snare and bass drum. Possibly the catchiest number from Wingsuit, "Monica" left plenty of fans singing the chorus into Halloween night and looking forward to the song's presence in the rotation for years to come.

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jonesgator Reply
Does the melody remind anyone else of Cats in the Cradle?
Score: 3
tomwom51 Reply
You can't forget to mention The Beatles most sinister kiss-off song, "Run For Your Life"
Score: 2
johnnyd Staff Reply
johnnyd Girl, don't go away mad.
Girl, just go away.
Score: 1
Crazydiamond Reply
My favorite song from Halloween 2013. I was dumped by a girl three days before this show. She was coming from Florida and I had a room booked and all sorts of plans....spent a lot of dough. This song will always remind me of that week. Sing sing, April! I mean Monica.
Score: 1
Matt_Leaf Reply
Matt_Leaf I never thought of Free as a kiss-off tune. I always thought it was about the euphoria associated with the diving Trey and Tom did in the Caymans.
Score: 1
Piper72 Reply
Piper72 Josh006, is that confirmed about "Free"? "Official" story has always been as the writer described. "Billy Breathes" is about Trey's daughter, but re-reading the lyrics I can see what you mean. But I always thought it was Marshall's take on ending a relationship...the hard way.
Score: 0
elaubent Reply
Love this song
Score: 0
Josh006 Reply
Josh006 Free is about the birth of Trey's daughter. This song info is a bunch of hogwash that should be stricken from any/all record. my .02
Score: -1
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