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Performances Song History Lyrics

Say Something

Music/Lyrics: Gordon, Murawski

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

Albums: Overstep

Debut: 2013-07-27

Historian: Grant Calof (That_Guy)

Last Update: 2013-10-03

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From time immemorial, humankind has been driven by the desire to find new and more effective manners of long-distance communication.  For centuries, smoke signals were de rigueur in locales as far reaching as Ancient China and Greece to Pre-Columbian America – and as recently as the latest papal conclave.  But as times change, so does technology evolve… 

The initial appearance of Alfred Vail, Joseph Henry and Samuel F.B. Morse’s electric telegraph in 1836 America was arguably preceded overseas, but all the first prototypes lacked a codified language that could effectively translate short electric pulses into text. Out of necessity, Morse and Vail created a new language that enabled decipherable communication over vast, previously unimaginable distances… the Morse code.

Morse code quickly grew to become the worldwide standard for electrical coding systems for the next 160 years, but like any communication technology, an inevitable shelf life was enfolded therein.  Though it had no competition, to prove nature abhors a vacuum, the advent of radio was already lurking on the horizon.  And while Edison may have held some of the initial patents, it was Nikola Tesla who first explored wireless technology in the 1890’s and Guglielmo Marconi who made the first broadcast to ultimately usher in the era of radio.  With a truly novel sound that could be heard by anyone within range, radio offered a new generation of actors, newscasters, singers and musicians the means to communicate further than ever dreamed.  Finally given a voice that could reach beyond the local stage or coffeehouse, poets and songwriters had a new platform from which they could perform, share ideas and truly say something. 

As the soda-shop pop of the ‘50s faded into the psychedlia of ‘60s acid-rock and the shameless glam of the ‘70s gave way to the Day-Glo ’80s, more and more musicians used their own unique voices to ‘say’ things that might’ve been unthinkable in bygone eras.  In 1975, Fleetwood Mac was unafraid to “Say You Love Me,” though it took Hall and Oates until 1983 to offer their rebuttal with “Say It Isn’t So,” Not to be outdone, in October of ‘83, Paul McCartney teamed up for a duet with hit-maker and future Beatles catalog purveyor, Michael Jackson, to demand the world, “Say Say Say.” And yet only two years later, MJ and Sir Paul found themselves summarily conquered by the unstoppable Lionel Richie (circa 1985) and his ninth number-one song, “Say You, Say Me.” And though Weezer begged the kids to, “Say It Ain’t So” in 1994, not surprisingly, it wasn’t until Destiny’s Child asked us to  “Say My Name” in 1999, that the masses truly started to embrace what musicians were trying to say. All that said, few would argue that Gordon and Murawski’s “Say Something” wasn’t the next natural evolutionary step. 

“Say Something” made its Set I debut on 7/27/13 and wasn’t seen again until the first night of Dick’s (8/30/13) in the midst of the backwards spell-a-thon (this time during Set II).  The song’s “Emotional Rescue”-like falsetto is punctuated by a soaring but succinct J.J. Cale-esque guitar solo (each time -- not just aptly at the Gorge), a bridge that sends echoes of “Destiny Unbound” bouncing across the brain stem and a still-in-development outro jam that hints at monstrous potential.  The lyrics introduce us to a faceless hero’s hapless efforts to try and convey a meaningful message – that may not be received as intended by the intended receiver – using multiple platforms, including smoke signals, Morse code and the radio.  And yet, even with only two permutations to date, “Say Something” has already started turning heads. Unafraid to color outside the proverbial lines, it’s a tune that portends great things for the tour – and years – ahead. 

*Morse Code Translation: First spotted at the Gorge Amphitheater on July 27th, 2013, many in the audience questioned whether they were hearing an original tune or a new cover.  And while “Say Something” was authored by the writing team of Mike Gordon and Max Creek's Scott Murawski, it is undeniably Phish. 



”Say Something” 8/30/13 Commerce City, CO

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7beatspersecond Reply
How weird....this song has been on my mind all day; listened to it twice before 8 am! I attended the gorge run and loved it live. Thank you for the thoughtful article.

Just another example of how great PHISH is.......we're blessed to have this shared experience.
cheers peeps.
Score: 1
Doctor_Smarty Phish.net Staff Reply
Doctor_Smarty Love that first paragraph...
Score: 1
ivy_light Reply
ivy_light Expectations are high now for the next new song history. I'm think a video introduction in semaphore might be in order?

:)

Well done, @That_Guy! I'm looking forward to hearing more of this tune - from Phish but especially from Mike Gordon Band. Hopefully we see their version in the near future.
Score: 1
Gratefulphish123 Reply
Gratefulphish123 Here's the lyrics from the Overstep booklet in case anyone wanted to know

I get affected, you make a sound and you mute me
I get rejected, when you move about and you lose me
Tongue tied, I can hardly get myself to
Say Something, gotta say it in Morse code, gotta say it on the radio
Say Something, I gotta get loose

I'm finding nothing, when I cruise the other side
Then I find you jumping out on the alley cat sidewalk so high
My, you fall! so gracefully, just gaze my way and
Say Something, gotta say it in Morse code, gotta say it on the radio
Say Something, and we can finally get loose sometime
Take it on high- you can testify

Just when you get a little impulse to almost start vibration in the inside of your throat
Someone has to make an interruption, they tap into a hydrant, spray us with the hose
Lets talk about the time through dirty little streets we can roam
Park in every cul-de-sac and hide so we never get home
Talk is cheap anyway, words can get overblown
Let the transmission do its thing and we can swing in the drone

Say Something, say it in smoke signals
Say it in Morse code, slur it so the words erode
Say Something, move it in charades
But baby there's no need to stay clammed up today

In your fifteen minutes of fame, with all the network cameras aimed
Could you just one time come up with a line that expresses everything that you wanted to
Say Something
Score: 0
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