My Top 1000 Songs #249: The Freed Pig
While less prevalent than the Road Song or the Break-Up Song or the Teen Angst Song, the obligatory "I've Left The Band To Go Solo" Song is a sub-genre all its own. Some artists go with broad allegory, like Peter Gabriel's first post-Genesis single "Solsbury Hill," where he proclaims, "You can keep my things they've come to take me home." Or you could tether the poetic imagery to a bit of hard-hitting side-eye, as Neil Young did in kissing off his CSNY bandmates in "Thrasher" ("So I got bored and left them there, they were just dead weight to me").
And then there's the more direct approach taken by Lou Barlow, who, upon leaving indie rockers Dinosaur Jr. to start up his own Sebadoh project, let loose with "The Freed Pig" (found on 1991's Sebadoh III). It's a splattering of anger and bile, directed both at Dino front man J. Mascis but at his own perceived issues. It's hard to tell if Barlow's self-deprecation is genuine or a sarcastic reflection of Mascis' complaints, and you can hear it going both ways. "You were right," he begins, "I was battling you, trying to prove myself. I tried to bury you with guilt, I wanted to prove you wrong."
None of that silly cryptic Gabriel/Young poetry for Barlow!
And he ends with a hearty jab: "Now you will be free, with no sick people tugging at your sleeve. Your big head has that more room to grow, a glory I will never know."
It's harsh stuff. But I can listen again and again because Barlow also came up with a chiming, distinctive that's just perfectly attention-grabbing, one of those magical guitar lines you hear for the first time and sort of marvel at the fact that nobody had come up with it before. It's an angry, bitter pissing contest given flight as a rousing, absurdly catchy indie rock anthem.Kim Deal, upon leaving the Pixies with some comparable anger, did a great and totally apt cover with the Breeders: