a Project of the Mockingbird Foundation

Performances Song History Lyrics

Sing Monica

Music/Lyrics: Anastasio/Marshall

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

Albums: Fuego

Debut: 2013-10-31

Historian: Dan Purcell (sausagemahoney)

Last Update: 2014-06-18

The kiss-off song is a rock n' 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 GenesisBobby 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. "Sing Monica" debuted as part of the Wingsuit set on Halloween 2013 (though the Phishbill listed it as simply "Monica"), and it's hardly as dark or definitive as "Free." The narrator of "Sing 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.

”Sing Monica” – 12/28/13, New York, NY

The lyrics are Trey and Tom at their cleverest, trading couplets full of puns, inversions, and double meanings complaining about Monica's fickle, trifling-ass behavior. She "stole the sun" from the narrator, which "de-lighted" him. Looking down from her "ivory tower," he was "in-spired." But she "stole [his] manhood," leaving him "de-sired." Just when he thought things were over, when his "tread was worn," she "re-tired" him. We could go on. Don't make fun; this stuff is harder than it looks, and the meticulous crafting of the lyrics helps "Sing Monica" stand out as a composition among the more jam-based songs on Fuego.

Musically the tune is a bright and peppy shuffle with interlocking vocal contributions from all four band members. As on "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 calling back to the summer of '96, with Trey on an acoustic guitar, Mike on a standup bass, Page on electric piano, and Fish on just a snare and bass drum. Both the subsequent performance, on the opening night of the 2013 New Year's Run, and the Fuego studio cut used the band's regular electric setup. It remains to be seen whether "Sing Monica" grows into a fist-pumping set-closer or remains a kooky mid-first-set earworm. Either way, if you happen to catch it, you're bound to find it stuck in your head on your drive home (or to the next show).

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jonesgator Reply
Does the melody remind anyone else of Cats in the Cradle?
Score: 5
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
Crazydiamond 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
ProfessorFrink Reply
"Musically the tune is a bright and peppy shuffle..." Sorry, I hate to nitpick, but in no way is this a shuffle.
Score: 0
funkbeard Reply
As for Kiss Off Songs.... Sing Monica is more a married man's kiss off song. Seems to not leave her down by the tracks, but just tells her to sing, sing on. Not sure I'm right, but there's a level of respect there with deep knowledge of what it can sometimes be like to argue with a spouse who knows all your tricks. Can even be exhilarating.
Score: 0
Uakari Reply
Uakari How can there be "Song History" already?
Score: 0
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
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: 0
elaubent Reply
Love this song
Score: 0
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