Archive | September, 2017

Certain Songs #998: Low – “Just Make It Stop”

Album: The Invisible Way
2013

Produced by Jeff Tweedy, 2013’s The Invisible Way wasn’t really much of a departure from the now well-established Low sound. Maybe slightly few atmospherics. Maybe slightly more piano.

That said, my favorite song on the record, the Mimi Parker-driven “Just Make It Stop,” did had something approximating a fast tempo.

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Certain Songs #997: Low – “Nothing But Heart”

Album: C’mon
Year: 2011

I’m nothing but heart

Repetition is a tricky thing. Building an entire eight-minute song around singing a single lyric over and over and over again in theory probably shouldn’t work, but on their greatest song, Low slowly builds an entire tower of song around a single, slowly repeated phrase.

I’m nothing but heart

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Certain Songs #997: Low – “Nothing But Heart”

Album: C’mon
Year: 2011

I’m nothing but heart

Repetition is a tricky thing. Building an entire eight-minute song around singing a single lyric over and over and over again in theory probably shouldn’t work, but on their greatest song, Low slowly builds an entire tower of song around a single, slowly repeated phrase.

I’m nothing but heart

There are other lyrics on “Nothing But Heart,” and in fact, it opens up with Alan Sparhawk singing an entire verse by himself while a guitar groans in the background.

I would be your king
But you wanna be free
Confusion and art
I’m nothing but heart

At that point the drums slowly kick in, and establish the beat they’ll be riding for the rest of the song, and Mimi Parker joins Sparhawk with the usual gorgeous harmonies.

I’m nothing but heart

At first, there’s just the drums and an organ supporting them, but eventually a guitar comes arcing in, and eventually another, and eventually another, and at some point Mimi Parker splits into multitudes, and not only continues to sing harmonies with an entire heavenly choir backing her up, but also sings a counterpoint, which you can barely even hear through the chaos.

I’m nothing but heart

Said chaos, of course, is unfolding at the usual unhurried pace: call it apocalypse in 2/4, as “Nothing But Heart” isn’t interested in running you over as you cross the street, but rather crushing you with a gradual increase in gravity.

I’m nothing but heart

It goes without saying, of course, that you’re singing along by, say, the fourth repetition, and by the 10th or 100th or 1,000,000th, you’ve been reduced to nothing but heart by this amazing song.

“Nothing But Heart”

“Nothing But Heart” performed live in 2011

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Certain Songs #996: Low – “When I Go Deaf”

Album: The Great Destroyer
Year: 2005

But it was this song that made me a fan.

As somebody who’s been told that “the music’s too loud” for over four decades (and now has to watch TV with the closed captions on), “When I Go Deaf” resonates with me on multiple levels. For one thing: it’s almost unutterably gorgeous. Until it isn’t. And even then, it really is.

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Certain Songs #995: Low – “California”

Album: The Great Destroyer
Year: 2005

I’m going to be honest: if Low has made a great song between 1994’s I Could Live in Hope and 2005’s The Great Destroyer, I haven’t heard it.

And I’m not being snarky: outside of Long Division, which I’ve just added to my current mix and haven’t remotely processed, I just haven’t heard any of their records in that period. That said, The Great Destroyer was the first Low album I ever heard, and I haven’t missed one since.

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