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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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