Joy (Phish album)

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Studio album by
ReleasedSeptember 8, 2009
RecordedApril–May 2009
StudioChung King Studios (New York City)
GenreAlternative rock, neo-psychedelia
LabelJEMP Records
ProducerSteve Lillywhite
Phish chronology
At the Roxy
Hampton/Winston-Salem '97
Singles from Joy
  1. "Time Turns Elastic"
    Released: May 26, 2009
  2. "Backwards Down The Number Line"
    Released: August 7, 2009
Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic3/5 stars[1]
Billboard Magazine(83/100)[2]
PopMatters4/10 stars[3]
Rolling Stone4/5 stars[4]

Joy is the twelfth studio album by the American rock band Phish, released on September 8, 2009, on the band's own label, JEMP Records.

Joy was Phish's first studio album since Undermind in 2004, and their first since they reunited in March 2009. The sessions also reunited the band with producer Steve Lillywhite, who last worked with Phish on their 1996 release, Billy Breathes. The album's second single, "Backwards Down the Number Line", was successful on Billboard's Adult Alternative Songs chart, reaching a peak of #9 in October 2009.[5]


The first single, "Time Turns Elastic"—originally a multi-movement work for strings, guitar and vocals released as an album earlier in the year by Anastasio—was released for iTunes-only download on May 26, 2009.[6] The album's second single, "Backwards Down The Number Line", was released on iTunes and began radio rotation on August 17, 2009. released an exclusive live version of "Backwards Down the Number Line", recorded at Red Rocks during the band's summer tour, as a download-only bonus track.

All ten songs were performed live during the band's 2009 summer tour, and have been generally well received by fans. However, "Time Turns Elastic" has been criticized as being too overly composed for ready translation to the live stage,[7] and the album's nostalgic ballads are sometimes thought to dampen the energy of Phish's typically acclaimed live shows.


Joy received generally favorable reviews upon its release, with a 65/100 critic score on Metacritic, based on nine reviews.[8] The New York Times commented that "Steve Lillywhite’s clear and ungimmicky production makes Joy sound like the band members onstage responding to one another,"[9] while Billboard simply stated "Joy is a journey not to be missed."[10]

Many critics also made reference to the band's enthusiasm, with Rolling Stone commenting that "what's most impressive here is how much they seem to be enjoying themselves—truly, deeply, gratefully."[11] Noting that 2009 marked the band's 25th anniversary together, Rolling Stone described Joy's songs as something akin to "a belated birthday party" characterized by nostalgic, reflective lyrics that appear to be influenced by guitarist Trey Anastasio's struggle with drug abuse during the intervening years. Rolling Stone praised the album as "genuinely great" and "a deeper trip than most Phish LPs".[11]

Track listing[edit]

1."Backwards Down the Number Line"Anastasio, Marshall5:37
2."Stealing Time from the Faulty Plan"Anastasio, Scott Herman, Marshall4:40
3."Joy"Anastasio, Marshall4:24
4."Sugar Shack"Gordon4:04
5."Ocelot"Anastasio, Marshall3:36
6."Kill Devil Falls"Anastasio, Marshall5:29
7."Light"Anastasio, Marshall5:04
8."I Been Around"McConnell1:57
9."Time Turns Elastic"Anastasio13:30
10."Twenty Years Later"Anastasio, Marshall5:09

Boxed set and Party Time[edit]

It was announced on August 10, 2009, that Joy would be made available for pre-order in several different formats, including CD, vinyl and the "Joy Box" which, in addition to the Joy CD, "will include ten individual Limited Edition posters designed for each of the album’s 10 songs, a complete second album titled Party Time, and a DVD capturing live performances from the first half of Phish’s summer 2009 tour—including footage from the 2009 Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival and the tour’s opening date at Fenway Park in Boston." [12]

A limited edition vinyl was also released at Superball IX, Phish's 2011 summer festival. Party Time is available as a LivePhish download, but has not yet been made available for stand-alone purchase as a physical CD.

Some of the songs on Party Time have become a part of Phish's live rotation, with Alaska and the title track appearing frequently, as well as appearances of Windy City, Gone, The Birdwatcher, and Let Me Lie. Liquid Time was soundchecked at Festival 8 in Indio, CA. Mike Gordon has played Only A Dream regularly with his solo band, and Trey Anastasio has played Gone and Liquid Time with his solo outfit.

Party Time track listing[edit]

  1. "Party Time" (Fishman) – 2:42
  2. "Alaska" (Anastasio, Marshall) – 7:16
  3. "Windy City" (McConnell) – 5:15
  4. "In a Misty Glade" (Anastasio, Herman) – 2:51
  5. "Gone" (Anastasio) – 4:09
  6. "Only a Dream" (Gordon) – 4:10
  7. "The Birdwatcher" (Anastasio, Marshall) – 2:16
  8. "Let Me Lie" (Anastasio, Marshall) – 3:57
  9. "If I Told You" (McConnell) – 3:53
  10. "Splinters of Hail" (Anastasio) – 3:33
  11. "Can't Come Back" (Gordon) – 4:38
  12. "Shrine" (Anastasio, Herman, Marshall) – 1:54
  13. "Liquid Time" (Anastasio) – 3:53



Trey Anastasio – guitars, lead vocals
Page McConnell – keyboards, backing vocals, lead vocals on "I Been Around"
Mike Gordon – bass guitar, backing vocals, lead vocals on "Sugar Shack"
Jon Fishman – drums, backing vocals
Produced by Steve Lillywhite
Engineered by CJ Eiriksson
Mixed by Steve Lillywhite & CJ Eiriksson
Assisted by Jesse Gladstone
Additional engineering on "Ocelot" by Ben Collette
Mastered by Gavin Lurssen


  1. ^ Allmusic review
  2. ^ Billboard Magazine review
  3. ^ PopMatters review
  4. ^ Rolling Stone review
  5. ^ "Phish Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved 5 November 2018.
  6. ^ Phish’s Time Turns Elastic on iTunes Glide Magazine. Online. Accessed: September 13, 2011.
  7. ^ ALBUM REVIEW: Phish's Joy Archived 2011-11-25 at the Wayback Machine Hightimes. Online. Accessed: September 13, 2011.
  8. ^ Phish's Joy Reviews & Ratings Online. Accessed: September 13, 2011.
  9. ^ "New CDs". The New York Times. September 7, 2009. Retrieved May 7, 2010.
  10. ^ Regen, Jon. Phish, "Joy" Billboard Magazine. Online. Accessed: September 13, 2011.
  11. ^ a b Hermes, Will (September 8, 2009). "Phish: Joy". Rolling Stone album review. Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2009-09-13.
  12. ^ Phish Dry Goods "Joy Box" Online. Accessed: September 13, 2011.

External links[edit]