Friday, November 9, 2012

Trey Anastasio "Pigtail"

Continuing down a tributary of yesterday's post . . .

I wasn't crazy about the first single "Let Me Lie" off Trey Anastasio's new album "Traveler."  Lyrically, it was pretty weak, and musically it just wasn't a cut above the rest of the songs in the "Going For Adds" pile.

But Trey is one of those artists that I feel like we should be playing if he's got a new album out.  That the audience expects us to play if he's got a new album out.

So Barbara suggested I look to another song, something she had played during her new music show "Uncharted Waters."

Right away "Pigtail" grabbed me with a good, enjoyable hook.  It immediately felt like something that mvy could play.

I was grooving to the song as it seemed to be circling to its conclusion.  But it kept going.  And going.  Repeating the refrain "Your pigtail has been dipped in ink/Your pigtail has been dipped in ink/Your pigtail has been dipped in ink/Your pigtail has been dipped in ink."  And repeating.  A full minute passed from when I thought the song was about to end, until the song actually did end.

Ugh.  Like a friend who doesn't know how to end a conversation, no matter how interesting they are, you start to dread talking to them knowing you're going to be stuck in an overlong uncomfortable fade out.

So I put Trey on the back burner.

Seems like radio, in general, felt as lukewarm as I did about the first single "Let Me Lie," because Trey's label moved pretty quickly to single number two.  And wouldn't you know, it was "Pigtail."

I knew Barbara had listened to the song, but I thought we could listen together and discuss.

Sometimes, when a label sends a single, they'll include a "radio edit" which might shorten the track to make it more "single-y."  Unfortunately, they didn't do this for "Pigtail."  I assumed that was going to be a dealbreaker for me. 

About halfway through the tune she ask me what I thought.

"Well, up to this point, I think it's great.  But then it goes on and on."

So we listened.  And listened.  And listened.

I talked about how there really needed to be an editor on this song, to have cut it short.  Barbara pointed out that sometimes there is a vision on the part of the artist and there is a reason a song may include a certain part.

Funny thing happened.  On this listen I focused less on the repeating "Your pigtail has been dipped in ink" refrain, and heard what was going on underneath it.  The various, slightly altered reading of the lines, the horn solo, the background singers rising and falling.

What felt like simple repetition, was actually a clear journey.  The song needed time for the horns to wind around, for the background singers to come and go, for the song to fully circle in for a landing.

I liked the song much more, on this listen.

So I guess the question is if we start playing it, which song will listeners hear?  The one that has a subtle but pleasing logic to its last quarter of running time?  Or an irritating acquaintance they try to avoid contact with for fear of being stuck in a refrain that won't quite end?

Hear the song on Youtube.

1 comment:

  1. My thing with Trey and Phish has always been the annoying quality of their lyrics. I've always enjoyed listening to their music when I ignore the lyrics...unfortunately...I was never able to do this well enough to keep them in my own personal rotation. Now Widespread Panic....