Written by Hero Magnus

“Here it comes beating out of my chest,” begins Amy Guess on her new single “Lay Low.” Don’t let the title fool you: this song is anything but chill. 

“Not in the state of mind to hold my breath / my blood is rising / I’m too tired to disguise / I’m fed up / I don’t want to do this again,” she continues. The lyrics are mysterious: what’s driving this blue-haired powerhouse so crazy?

“Boundaries, setting boundaries when I’m feeling tapped. I want to be able to love the people in my life so well and when I’m feeling damaged, I can’t do that very well. The worst parts of myself start showing up, which is definitely okay, it’s okay to be sad and down and to communicate that freely and honestly. We need to let each other know what we’re really feeling and never have to hide that or bottle that up inside, but at the same time, it’s important to make sure that our relationships are healthy ones. If they start to make you feel a loss of worth or like you can’t be your honest self, or if they become primarily draining, it’s a good sign you need to take a step back.”

– Amy Guess

Guess answers in the chorus when she sings “maybe I don’t need a reason / that I’m feeling what I’m feeling.” Suddenly, this song becomes almost entirely about her own internal dialogue; She’s ready to put up strong boundaries and focus on maintaining mental equilibrium: “I gotta lay low for my sanity / take a break and let go / find some clarity.”

Musically, the song is just a constant build, a wall of sound, barely letting up for more than a few seconds until the bridge, which is where the first touch of sweetness comes in. We feel the onslaught of her struggle just as she’s narrating it for us. 

Although in the bridge, there’s still a persistent, anxious rhythm in the background, her voice is placed in artful layers as if with a vocoder, and we finally get an idea of what this laying-low will do for her. “Oh the years go by / they tell you how to see what’s real / oh the seasons changing somehow shows you how to heal,” she sings, angelically. This is a song about taking time to create a position of strength and stability. As for what she wants fans to take away from the song Amy says…

“To prioritize your peace and mental health, to know your limits and respect other peoples limits too, take breaks from relationships if they become toxic or draining to your spirit. You can’t recharge and bring your best self to those you love when you have nothing left in the tank. Love yourself enough to set boundaries when you feel you need them. Time is precious; spend it where your heart leads you.”

– Amy Guess

“Lay Low” is a signature example of Guess’ edgy kind of alt-pop. It shows off a lot of her brilliant lower register, which is rich and rough-around-the-edges. Her other recent single, “Save Me,” is similar vocally and stylistically and in Guess’ first EP, her voice wasn’t as dark. But, several times during the song she jumps to a high note for a single word in a hypnotic electric-slide style. All in all, it’s in great contrast to the roughness of her vocals in the rest of the song. 

You can’t really mention alt pop and great vocals without mentioning Hayley Williams, and besides the obvious similarity of brightly colored hair, Guess is definitely drawing from Williams’ classic combination of angst and power. But, in a recent interview with LADYGUNN , Guess cites a variety of influences, from Mitski to Lizzo. She’s finding her sound and looking everywhere for it.

“The process started with Scott Chesak in his studio, we knew we wanted to make the track big and bold and a hybrid of rock and electronic with big guitars at the chorus. Scott added the moving strings in the verses and a really cool guitar hook in the chorus, after that session I took it home to write and listen to and one afternoon the idea for the lyric and melody started flowing. I went back to LA soon after that to finish it up and cut the vocals with Scott, we worked on a few more ideas and JT Daly (who had produced a couple of my other tracks for this project) came on board to bring some of his signature sound to this one too.”

– Amy Guess

“Maybe I just need a minute / everybody’s got a limit,” sings Guess in the second repetition of the chorus. She’s giving us a roadmap to deal with toxicity. In short, she can handle herself. 

Step back from all the drama, take a bubble bath, and listen to “Lay Low” below. 

Listen To Amy Guess’ “Lay Low”

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