Music that expresses intensity subtly, through powerful lyrics and a perfectly executed instrumental piece, can be very powerful, but admittedly there’s something extremely energizing and cathartic about songs that are upfront about their intensity, that don’t hold back in their aggression and unleash it musically as well as lyrically.
I think that’s what I find so engaging about “Low” by Marianas Trench, off of their 2006 debut album Fix Me. Though their earliest work lacks the same finesse, compelling use of a capella elements, and engaging use of parallels and recurring melodies, it still packs an emotional and powerful punch in its straightforward and much more rock-oriented nature.
Lyrically, it’s a song of frustration and defeat, driven by aggressive vocals and guitar. It’s about falling down and messing up, about the shame and frustration of knowing you’re letting down the people around you and making it harder for them, but also about letting yourself down and wishing you were stronger than you are.
“Low” starts off with a simple guitar riff, and the song quickly explodes as drums and full, loud guitar kick in. It immediately gives the song a drive and intensity, and the lyrics accompanying it fill out its energy. The feeling of defeat combined with Josh Ramsay’s powerful vocals as he sings, “I feel so ashamed” at the start of each chorus is truly the defining piece and the pinnacle of “Low.”
It’s not a song that’s complex or groundbreaking, but a song doesn’t need that to be excellent and worth listening; all it needs is genuine emotion and an enjoyable quality, and both of those things are pulled off with aplomb in “Low.”