Lay Me Back Down

Album: Censored Colors (2008)
Play Video


  • "Lay Me Back Down" is the first track on Portugal. The Man's third album, Censored Colors. It came at a time when they were bonkers busy and feeling a bit nostalgic for their native Alaska.

    "Those sessions were ridiculous," lead singer John Gourley, who wrote the song, said in a Songfacts interview. "We were running a hundred miles per hour that whole time. We recorded that whole album in two weeks, so everything was just these pieces."

    Lyrically, he said the album is "about family, and about Alaska," adding, "It's more about the references within the music and this desire to be back home with family. Like, that homesick, 'I just want to drive around and listen to music.' That's the content of Censored Colors as a whole, and 'Lay Me Back Down' is just another piece of that."
  • The guitar riff was meant to evoke metal bands like Slayer and Pantera, which John Gourley grew up listening to. He admits it sounds nothing like those bands, but that was the intent. "It mixes this big riff with like Motown, soul, and Beatles - that stuff we grew up on," he said. "It had this nice little bop to it."
  • Around this time, Portugal. The Man made a lot of quirky videos shot by their friends. "Lay Me Back Down" takes place on a rocky mountain where gold-colored people show up and mill about. It appears to be an homage to Star Trek, as their keyboard player, Ryan Neighbors, gets in a battle with a diaphanous alien. On the show, Captain Kirk was often getting in these kind of scraps on various planets.
  • In 2008, the same year this song was released, the band recorded a live performance at a studio in Portland, Oregon, in what came to be known as the Oregon City Sessions. They loved it, but quickly moved on, going back on the road and then recording their The Satanic Satanist album. In 2020, they finally had some time on their hands thanks to the pandemic, and decided to release the sessions as an album, which they did in 2021. There is also video footage from the sessions that the band used to make a new music video for this song.


Be the first to comment...

Editor's Picks

Female Singers Of The 90s

Female Singers Of The 90sMusic Quiz

The ladies who ruled the '90s in this quiz.

Peter Lord

Peter LordSongwriter Interviews

You may not recognize his name, but you will certainly recognize Peter Lord's songs. He wrote the bevy of hits from Paula Abdul's second album, Spellbound.

John Lee Hooker

John Lee HookerSongwriter Interviews

Into the vaults for Bruce Pollock's 1984 conversation with the esteemed bluesman. Hooker talks about transforming a Tony Bennett classic and why you don't have to be sad and lonely to write the blues.

Don Dokken

Don DokkenSongwriter Interviews

Dokken frontman Don Dokken explains what broke up the band at the height of their success in the late '80s, and talks about the botched surgery that paralyzed his right arm.

Grunge Bands Quiz

Grunge Bands QuizMusic Quiz

If the name Citizen Dick means anything to you, there's a chance you'll get some of these right.

90s Metal

90s MetalFact or Fiction

Test your metal - Priest, Maiden, and Beavis and Butt-head show up in this one.