Say Goodbye
By: Beck Hansen

Written by: Beck Hansen

  1. Say Goodbye (3:29)
    Available on Morning Phase.
    Fats Kaplin: Banjo
    Justin Meldal-Johnsen: Bass
    Bram Inscore: Bass (Electric)
    James Gadson: Drums
    Beck Hansen: Guitar (Acoustic), Producer, Tambourine, Vocals
    Cody Kilby: Guitar (Acoustic)
    Ben Baptie: Mix
    Tom Elmhirst: Mix
Say Goodbye [Version (a)]:

See the sleet that rests upon
The quiet street we're standing on
Is it time to go away
And try again some other day?
'Cause these are words we use to say goodbye
These are the words you use to say goodbye

Bones crack, curtains drawn
On my back and she is gone
Somewhere else I do not know
Time will tell and I will go
These are the words we use to say goodbye
These are the words we use to say goodbye

I will wait, take a turn
Sort it out, let it burn
Empty out an empty drawer
In my pockets, there's nothing more
These are the words you use to say goodbye
These are the words we use to say goodbye
The Song:

"Say Goodbye" can be found on Beck's 2014 album, Morning Phase.

Beck has noted that a lot of the songs on Morning Phase took a bit of work, reworking and re-recording parts until they fit just right. "Say Goodbye," however, was his example of the opposite: "Some of the songs were done pretty quick and as live - like 'Say Goodbye' which I'm making up the melody as you hear it." (The Sun, Feb. 2014).

This quickness may have led to a song that in many ways feels a bit like a demo, weightless, straightforward, lacking frills. But this remarkable simplicity betrays some exquisite acoustic guitar/banjo interplay, and allows the song to obtain more life on the stage.

There is a cinematic quality to the words, especially the open image of a rainy street as a backdrop for break-up scene. The second verse may be in reference to Beck's pre-Morning Phase injury, laid up on his aching back. Perhaps, his injury hampered his creativity, feeling unable to write -- "empty out an empty drawer / in my pockets, there's nothing more." It, above all, expresses the feeling of emptiness, of feeling spent, either literally or figuratively or both.


Played live 60 times:
Earliest known live version: February 28, 2014
Latest known live version: August 14, 2023

Morning Phase tour - 2014

Beck played "Say Goodbye" at about half of the 57 shows in 2014. It was played quite regularly for the first half of the tour, but then infrequently for the second half. They extended the intro and outro, which was a useful touch, but beyond that, the song remained the leisurely acoustic song you can hear on the record.

post-Morning Phase tours 2015-2017

Beck did not play "Say Goodbye" in 2015, but it did show up at a handful of his non-festival appearances June 2016. It was then played quite often during the summer of 2017.

Colors tour 2017-2018

Beck took to adding an acoustic band section at some of the non-festival shows on the Colors tour. In it, he and his band would do some of his quieter songs (i.e., from Sea Change or Morning Phase) together. They had a revolving choice of songs, though mostly always did "Blue Moon" and "Lost Cause." But at 14 of the 59 shows, Beck did do "Say Goodbye" (not all 59 had acoustic sets).

Their "Say Goodbye" follows the path of the record, almost to a t, however. In the past, keyboardist Roger Joseph Manning Jr. would play the banjo, while Beck and Jason Falkner played acoustic guitars. With this band, Roger continued to do the banjo (there's no keyboard part), but Jake Sinclair _also_ joined in on a second banjo. The B-53s (Alex, Cecilia, and Jake) mostly sang harmonies and added a little percussion.