"This Is a Low" is a song by English alternative rock ban Blur for their third studio album, Parklife.
Music and lyrics
The song is in the key of E major
and is in 4/4 time
. In total, the song contains two verses, two choruses, a guitar solo
and two further choruses. The music commences with a four-chord guitar progression, before moving straight into the first verse. The music is based in the mixolydian mode
, highlighted by the fact the V chord (B minor) is minor instead of major.
The song's lyrics are about a low in pressure hitting the country. The lyrics are based on the Shipping Forecast, with references made to the various areas surrounding Britain. According to bassist Alex James in his 2007 autobiography Bit of a Blur, "Damon was struggling with the words. For Christmas I brought him a hankerchief with a map of the shipping forecast regions on it... you can never tell where the muse is going to appear. It went on to become Blur's most popular song".
Locations named in the song
This is a list of the forecast locations mentioned in the song (in context):
"This Is a Low" is often chosen as a stand-out track from the album, including as a selected highlight by Allmusic
, who describe the track as a "swirling, epic closer" . It is also very popular within the band, this is proved by the surprise inclusion on Blur's Best Of
compilation album. "This Is a Low" was the only album track included on the album, selected ahead of some a-sides. The tracklisting was selected by the band members. Its popularity is further highlighted by the above quote from bassist Alex James.
The song has been performed live many times, most notably as the final song at Blur's most famous concert, Mile End stadium gig of 1995 , as well as Glastonbury 1994, where the song was voted by fans on the festival's website to appear on the compilation DVD Glastonbury Anthems.