Friends - Why are the vocals so hard to make out? Should I be relieved?
B&B - I think we've covered this.
Home - I like this one. I don't necessarily like when songs end with guitar feedback. Just a bit overused, is all.
Blaze On - A refined version of what we're used to. Weak-ass "woo!" after he kicks it to Leo.
Tide Turns - Horns sounded nice for a brief instant and then it turned to easy-listening cheese real fast.
Things People Do - I loved its live debut; now why just slap a Gordon demo on an album? And why did he have to include the lyric "scanning Pinterest"?
Waking Up Dead - I dig it. It's been a while since we've gotten a good rock song about vacuum cleaning.
Running Out of Time - Excessively sentimental, even for Trey. More like "running out of (decent) rhymes," amirite?
No Men - The slinky, slithery horns give this the good kind of a TAB feel. Page sounds great too.
Miss You - I didn't hate it on the Wrigley tapes and I don't hate it here. Musically, it's lovely; lyrically, it's pretty good ballad material. It's tricky to get these right but I'd say they did this time.
I Always Wanted it this Way - Retro-future sound spiced with some hot bongo action? Don't ever make the mistake of thinking that everyone's favorite receding-hairlined Keyboard Man doesn't dig the experimental shit.
More - Sounds like a 70's-flavored, analog version of a TV on the Radio song, and they would have pulled it off better. Points for effort though.
Petrichor - Pretty good. I like compositions, what can I say. Probably wouldn't play well live, as others have noted.
So. All in all, I'll share the sentiment that this album hits and misses. By my rough tally, this album bats around .461. Which would put you in the Hall of Fame! Just kidding, that's not good for an album. Big Boat feels more disjointed than Fuego, and maybe that's because it lacks the teamwork of its predecessor -- so we jump from a Page song to a TAB I mean Trey song to a Gordo song, etc. And, of course, how dare they not put Ass Handed on this.
I feel I owe this album an updated review. It's been a slow burn since its release, for sure. Suffice to say I've come around quite a bit on quite a bit of this record.
Friends - The lyrics initially strike you as cheesy/juvenile, but I think the band knew exactly what they were doing. It's a touch apocalyptic, a touch atheist, a bit fond and hopeful, and it has a real big sound. My only gripes, in fact, are that the mix seems kinda messy; I'd like to hear everything a little more clearly in this track.
B&B - Here's one that's benefited from my more generous approach to listening to this album. The dire, end-times lyrics are belied by the sunny, peppy music in a way that amuses me. Again, maybe my initial inability to get the irony was my problem, not Phish's.
Home - Still like it. The end portion especially.
Blaze On - Status quo.
Tide Turns - The Rolling Stone article shed some light on the story behind this song, and so of course I felt like an asshole for hating on it. Put in its context, I think it works rather well and I rather like it.
Things People - Neat enough once you hear the background on this, but I still would have preferred a full-blown version.
Waking Up Dead - Simple as it seems, for me Trey's backing vocals (meaning, really, just their existence) make me like this track even more. It's a view of Phish we don't get as often.
Running Out of Time - OK, it's fine. Can't say I love
it right as of right now, but I appreciate the sentiment and the production.
No Men - Same as before.
Miss You - I love it so much I wore it for Halloween.
Always Wanted - Got to hear this live twice this fall, affirming suspicions that this would turn into a heater of a second-set disco-party number. Even though Page can't quite figure his vocals out in the show environment.
More - Man, I must've been feeling cynical when I wrote my original review. Well, as of today I'm a fan of More, and to me it feels like the new Number Line.
Petrichor - Works slightly better live than I figured it would. I think the trick is that they not play it too tepidly, and over the course of tour the practice seemed to have paid off in that respect.