There have been plenty of songs about getting high, but not so many about getting low. In this song, David Lowery of Cracker tries to convince a girl to go down with him - not an easy sell.
There are drug references all over this song - "junky cosmonaut," "A million poppies gonna make me sleep" - but especially in the chorus:
I'll be with you, girl, like being low
Hey, hey, hey like being stoned
Lowery has never been clear on the meaning, but his record company did make him sign a letter saying that the lyric was "like being stone" in an effort to convince radio stations that the song was not about drugs.
This is the 1993 hit that put their album Kerosene Hat on the charts and Cracker on the world stage of alternative music. As can be glimpsed in the video, the album Kerosene Hat was recorded at a sound stage built in an old barn in Pioneertown, California. This is close to where lead singer David Lowery first met guitarist Johnny Hickman.
In our interview with Johnny Hickman
, he explained how "Low" came together: "The song started with me coming up with that guitar riff just noodling around at a soundcheck in Portland one day, but it's really David's song. He wrote the title and lyrics after the fact, which are fantastic. David and Davey Faragher (bassist) started looking for chords to play around my guitar riff. A few days later David had the song completed."
The black-and-white video was directed by Carlos Grasso, who came up with the concept after interviewing David Lowery and deciding that the song was about a conflict between his masculine and feminine sides. To play this out, he filmed a raging Sandra Bernhard driving to a makeshift boxing ring, where she knocks out Lowery. Grasso was going through a split with his girlfriend at the time, which provided some inspiration.
While Lowery was born in San Antonio, Texas, his childhood spent moving around with his father, who was stationed in the US Air Force, eventually landed him in Redlands, California, where he attended school. He formed the band Camper Van Beethoven in Santa Cruz, where perhaps his most famous accomplishment was the song "Take the Skinheads Bowling," used as the theme song to Michael Moore's film Bowling for Columbine. Lowery has also worked as a record producer. Amongst the many bands he's produced for are Sparklehorse, Counting Crows, Lauren Hoffman, September 67, and Tea Leaf Green.
This song saw release in the UK as a compilation single, together with the tracks "I Ride My Bike," "Sunday Train," and "Whole Lotta Trouble."
This was used in the 2012 film The Perks of Being a Wallflower and included on the soundtrack.