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Low: Hey What (Sub Pop Loser Edition)

Low Hey What Clear Vinyl

I just covered the new album by Spoon the other day, and like that band Low has been around since 1993. It’s shocking to think that was 30 years ago, but here we are. In 2021, Low gave us their 13th studio album, Hey What, which led to a Grammy Nomination for Best Engineered Album.

Loser Edition on Clear Vinyl

“Disappearing” first came onto my radar when Low first released it as a teaser for their then forthcoming LP Hey What.

I was hooked immediately; the song resonated and I threw it on repeat a few times last summer as I sped down North Texas trails on my road bike. The distortion, the vocals, the dizzying fuzz. Holy fuck, I thought. This is amazing!

The night after I first heard “Disappearing,” I preordered the Loser Edition of Hey What directly from Sub Pop. As with all Loser Editions, Hey What comes as a limited pressing on colored vinyl–clear wax, in this case–in an unknown quantity. Probably 1,500 to 2,500.

Low Hey What Loser Edition

Let’s take a look under the cover in my vinyl unboxing video:

Best Album of 2021

I think I was pretty cemented in placing Low’s Hey What in the #1 spot prior to hearing the album had been Grammy nominated for Best Engineered Album. Why? For likely the exact same reasons it received a nomination.

Hey What is cohesive with impeccable flow. It has highs and lows that blend and swirl together, all courtesy of engineering and production, yet it has superb tracks that stand on their own.

Standalone standouts exist, and they work very well on their own. But the album as a whole is amazing from beginning to end because of the flow and that credit goes to the engineering. Despite not being released until September, it even landed a spot among my top-spun records of 2021.

Hey What … About the Songs?

In the last section, I shared some of what led Hey What to be my #1 Album of 2021. Now let’s pivot to look at the songs that made an impact on me, because a cohesive album can only take you so far.

“Days Like These” was the other teaser Low gave us from the album prior to its release, and this one took a bit more time for me to fall in love. At first, the static was a bit too much, a bit too overpowering. I grew to love it, it just didn’t happen as quickly as with “Disappearing”.

“More”, however, was even more instantaneous. The song may be my all time favorite by the band! I think it’s easy to hear why–the song starts strong right out of the gate with a powerful, pointed guitar hook. And the lyrics simply WORK.

I gave more than what I should have lost
I paid more than what it would have cost
You have some of what I could have had
I want all of what I didn’t have
La la la…

I learned more than what they ever taught
They thought I could never pull it off
I saw more than what I ever sought
I should have asked for more than what I got
La la la…

Lyrics to “More” by Low

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