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Secret Name

4.6 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Audio CD, April 6, 1999
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Editorial Reviews

Secret Name is unadulterated lo-fi/sadcore, semi-orchestrated pop/rock par excellence. The power trio is augmented by a string section, tympani, and piano on this beautifully understated chamber pop outing by a misunderstood Midwestern band. Mimi Parker's voice is stunning on "Weight of Water," which at times sounds like it might take flight, but naturally, it never does -- and that's not a criticism. When Parker and Alan Sparhawk duet, as on "Missouri" or "Immune," the result is as chilling as anything Gram and Emmylou ever conspired on -- though that's not to say it's country-tinged, just straight from the heart. What Low do particularly well is stay grounded, close to the earth and real. The music is so warm it's a literal caress from the speakers -- and that's no mean feat in their notoriously chilly genre. ~ Denise Sullivan, All Music Guide
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 6, 1999)
  • Original Release Date: March 30, 1999
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Kranky
  • ASIN: B00000IAD0
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #178,329 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
In the progression of Low albums, this record marks a significant change for the Duluth trio. Their first three full lengths, while all filled with wonderful songs, sound quite similar. On Secret Name, Low switches to Kranky as their label, and Albini as their producer. The results are incredible. This is Low coming into their own. This album shows incredible growth and a very noticable improvement in song writing and sound experimentation. They've kept living up to expectations whith their later records in my mind, but this album marks the change and it will stick with you.
I won't go into great details about each song, but this record has the highest concentration of classic Low songs of all their releases. I have yet to meet a fan that doesn't put at least three songs from Secret Name in their top-five favorite Low song list. The progression of Two-Step, Weight of Water, Missouri (sung misery), and Don't Understand is almost too much to take. Beautiful vocal harmonies and some of the most simple, but moving melodies that I've heard in a long time make up these songs.
Low always gets described as a sad sounding band, and this record is the best reason for this. However, I would disagree with this label. Low aren't for sad depressed people, they're for people with longer than average attention spans who like to sit and reflect. People that want tangible substance in their music. If you're one of these people, Low won't make you feel sad. They'll make you feel better.
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By A Customer on September 15, 1999
Format: Audio CD
Unreal. This band is getting the beautiful sound bands have struggled to obtain by spending more and more money in the studio, hiring orchestras, and getting the best producers. Difference is, Low is just laying out some tracks. This album sounds like it was recorded in a few hours. But it is so beautiful I can't put it away. Great music if you like to listen to slow stuff. If you don't maybe you should.
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By A Customer on August 18, 1999
Format: Audio CD
I have been a fan of Low since "Long Division." This album harks back to their earlier work -- almost baroque compared to the nakedness of some tracks from "Songs for a Dead Pilot." Particularly mesmerising is "Two Step" and "Weight of Water" -- reminiscent of listening to my mom vacuum on a rainy day, with Carole King playing on the stereo.(and I mean that in a good way.)
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Format: Audio CD
I don't think I'll ever understand all the hype surrounding Low's Things We Lost In The Fire. While it's a solid release, for my money, this album beats it in every possible way. This is without a doubt my favorite Low album, the perfect bridge between the minimalism of their early releases and the experimentation they've done since then.

Strings, tympani, and piano have been added to their signature guitar-bass-minimal drums trio sound, and they perfectly color every wonderful song. A few experiments with sampling ("I Remember" and "I Don't Understand") also work out pretty well. But moreso than the sounds, it's the songs themselves that make Secret Name so good. "Starfire" may be slow and low key, but it's as good of a pop song as they've ever written. "Weight Of Water" and "Missouri" showcase their religious beliefs without ever feeling preachy. "Will The Night" and "Home" perfectly close an album full of beautiful guitar tones and gorgeous harmonies. But as far as I'm concerned, the real treat here is "Two-step," which might just be the best song they've ever recorded. The voices of Alan (guitar) and his wife Mimi (drums) perfectly compliment each other on this stunning song that is worth the price of the CD by itself.

Low have fast (how ironic) become one of my favorite bands, and they have a number of amazing albums. But if you only own one CD of theirs (which I think would be a tragic mistake), you would be wise to make it Secret Name.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
A very damn fine low record. Minimalism at its finest. I can't think of anything wrong with this one other than it might get too light and emotional for some. From Starfire to Missouri I don't think anyone could argue the greatness of this album. The other tracks kind of hover around and go other ways but I think those 4 are the rock they build around. If you only get two or three Low albums this is a definite contender. It just has that peaceful and haunting quality you want from this band in this stage of their career. Amazing live.
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By A Customer on April 8, 1999
Format: Audio CD
On this new release, Low do not deviate from their well-rehersed formula for making music. The pondering and melodic basslines, lazily strummed guitar, and the gentle taps of a cymbal and snare drum once again combine for some special moments. Add to that the soft, pretty voices of Al and Mimi, and their at times cryptic, at others obvious lyrics and what results are some wonderful songs. Low have added some keyboards and strings to several songs, and additionally "Soon" is played on an acoustic guitar. These additions are welcome, and prevent the band's formula from wearing thin after five years. I interviewed Low for my fanzine about four years ago, and wrote that their music was perfectly suited for those cold, snowy winter days when you are walking through the woods and all you can here is the sound of snow scrunching up underneather your boots. Their music did, and still does conjure up visions of isolation and solitude. Low, however, are able to tap into the beauty of those times and feelings, and that is their real strength.
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