Whiskey

Songfacts®:

  • Marian Hill is an electronic R&B duo from Philadelphia consisting of vocalist Samantha Gongol and producer Jeremy Lloyd, two friends who went to high school together and teamed up to make music when they each went off to college. "Whiskey" was the first song they wrote together as Marian Hill; they recorded it over spring break 2013 in Lloyd's parents' basement and released it for free on Soundcloud later that summer.
  • This song set a the template for the Marian Hill sound and convinced the duo that they had a future in music. Lloyd considered himself an amateur producer, but when he came up with the track for "Whiskey," he knew this could be more than a hobby. Gongol added the vocal melody and the track came together with ease. When it got a positive reaction, they decided to forge ahead, leading to their breakthrough track "Down," which was featured on a popular commercial for Apple AirPods.

    "When we made 'Whiskey' it was the best song I had ever produced by a quite significant margin," Lloyd said in a Songfacts interview. "Sam heard it among other things I was playing and wanted to sing on it, and then something just clicked in the relationship between the big, kind of dark and super-forward drums, the touch of blues and her vocal, and that became the template going forward, kind of the bible I would extrapolate from."
  • Marian Hill got this song out there by sending it to various music blogs, many of which posted and touted the track. This was a viable marketing strategy in 2013, when blogs like Hype Machine had a lot of influence. They released the song independently on the EP Play in 2014, then included the song on their 2015 EP, Sway, after signing a deal with Republic Records.
  • Lloyd told The Huffington Post that the tune, which compares a guy to a whiskey, "sort of created itself." He explained: "I came home with a beat I had been messing around with and Sam started singing this thing to it. Then we got really excited and we wrote for like a day and the result was 'Whiskey.'"
  • In this song, Samantha Gongol brings some swagger, singing about a guy who takes care of her business like a good shot of whiskey. It's loaded with bar and alcohol metaphors, like how he's on the top shelf, a reference to where they keep the good stuff behind the bar.
  • The line, "I like the whiskey with my lullaby," is a reference to the song "Whiskey Lullaby" by Brad Paisley.

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