Lay Me Back Down

Album: Censored Colors (2008)

Songfacts®:

  • "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.

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