Starting off in rockabilly, Pale Blue Dot is a heavy-concept tune that’s all about feel. Crisply captured drums and thrumming bass punctuate the swagger of the opening section and an expensive-sounding production supports a very human lead vocal. It’s a vocal which moves between Hound Dawg twang and then a more timorous sensitivity to carefully finish off phrasing.
Just as the first-time listener is settling into the groove, the tune takes a radical left turn. We spin off, in slow-motion, for a minute-long excursion into a Dark Side of the Moon outtake that’s a wonderful distraction, allowing for some expressive vocal gymnastics. Guitar notes are sustained and bent in a psychedelic whirl that suits the concept of the song (the journey and experiences of Voyager 1) perfectly.
‘Aim for the space’, declares the vocal at the end of the section, and then we get a sparing, effective guitar solo as the swagger and beat of the original section re-establishes itself and we charge on to the central message of the song: ‘Please take care of the pale blue dot / It’s the only one we got’. Backing vocals come in to warm up proceedings towards the end, and a highly accomplished piece of work climbs back down to the reverb-y depths of space it came from.
A word here about the rather splendid accompanying video. It’s been loved, as has the tune. It retains a homespun feel, but the vision, rather like the song, is pretty grand.