Down

Album: Act One (2016)
Charted: 21

Songfacts®:

  • Marian Hill is an American electronic R&B duo consisting of producer Jeremy Lloyd and vocalist Samantha Gongol. They are influenced by theater: Lloyd studied music theater at Yale University and their name comes from two characters, Marian Paroo and Harold Hill, from the musical The Music Man, which they starred in together in middle school.

    They came up with their signature sound - chopped, pitched vocals and sultry lyrics and melodies - in 2013 with the song "Whiskey." In 2015, they signed with Republic Records and hit the festival circuit, earning a following with their live performances and online presence.
  • The lead single from Marian Hill's debut album Act One, this jazzy song was originally released on March 4, 2016. The track quickly gained heat the following January when it appeared in the iPhone 7 + AirPods – Stroll — Apple commercial, which was heavily Shazamed by viewers trying to find out more about the song. In the ad, the renown dancer Lil Buck does some impressive gravity dancing to the tune with the help from special effects that put him on walls and buildings. Thanks to exposure from the commercial, "Down" charted in America, peaking at #21 in March 2017, a year after the song was released.
  • Lyrically, this song finds an initially reluctant Samantha Gongol deciding to make the most of a Friday night out in a club. The song is the first track on the Act One album and sets the scene for a series of tracks that deal with a conflicted relationship. "Down" is an invitation, but it doesn't necessarily have a happy ending. Near the end of the album on the track "Same Thing," the couple is in a rut, just going through the motions to soothe their desires.

    "I like writing stuff that is open to interpretation, so it can be about all sorts of things," Jeremy Lloyd explained in a Songfacts interview. "We see it as the intro to our debut album, where we're like, 'Are you down? Come on in, here comes the show.' We started our shows with it for a while. It can be an invitation to whatever you imagine."
  • Jeremy Lloyd said regarding his production for the song: "I tend to find it really hard to use piano in a cool way but I stumbled into 'Down' while noodling around on the keyboard in the studio and Sam and I instantly fell in love with it.

    I threw the drums on it that night and I remember I found the snare and the hat sound in the moment and knew exactly what I was looking for (which is rare for me). Once we added the vocal chop for the hook we realized the song didn't need anything more – 'Down' is just drums, vocals, and piano – rhythm, harmony, and lyric – and I love setting our palette with it at the start of the album."
  • Asked by ABC Radio to elaborate what she means by an "invitation," Gongol admitted: "I don't think there is an easy answer. I mean, it's about giving in to possibility, about the possibility of this person that you're meeting, of the evening and taking a chance. It's definitely one of our favorites and, I think, open to interpretation too."

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