Given that this is Low, a band with a longstanding predilection for, shall we say, leisurely-paced songs (don’t call it slowcore, at the band’s request), nothing unfolds too suddenly here. But I’m immediately engaged by the heartbeat pulse that wanders in at :07 and stays with us the rest of the way (with a five or six second break late in the song; listen for it)—it gives us both the tempo and the tension upon which “Especially Me” is constructed.
But note how that pulse is accompanied by a triplet rhythm, each beat of the measure divided swayingly into three. This complicates the tension nicely, and contributes to the hymn-like nature of the deliberate melody drummer Mimi Parker intones. The song simmers; a cello is incorporated beautifully into the apprehensive flow. The cumulative effect of the succinct, thrice-repeated chorus (note the lyrical change in the third iteration), with its gathering harmony, is at once hypnotic and cathartic; the titular phrase, with its casual (but not) addition (“and probably you”), sits at the musical center of the song. Something is being partially explained, partially released, something still is left unsaid, and the grave weight of a relationship seems to hang in the balance. I don’t need to know exactly what’s going on; the words and the music in combination convey emotion beyond pure narrative.
Low was here back in 2005 for the terrific song “California” (it’s still online, check it out) from The Great Destroyer. The trio has a new bass player since then—Steve Garrington, who joined the husband-wife team of Parker and Alan Sparhawk in 2008, the year after the Duluth band’s last release, Drums and Guns. “Especially Me” is from C’mon, which was released this week on (them again) Sub Pop. MP3 once more via Sub Pop.