How Low – Unraveling the Depths of Selfish Pursuits


You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for José González's How Low at Lyrics.org.
Article Contents:
  1. Music Video
  2. Lyrics
  3. Song Meaning
  4. A Haunting Question: How Much Will You Sacrifice?
  5. The Echo of ‘Punch Line after Punch Line’
  6. The Metaphor of Monsters in Modern Society
  7. Foretelling the Inevitable: The Hidden Meaning in ‘How Low’
  8. Contemplating a Shift in ‘Where to, will you relocate’

Lyrics

How low are you willing to go
Before you reach all your selfish goals
Punch line after punch line
Leaving us sore, leaving us sore

Absorbed in your ill hustling
Feeding a monster, just feeding a monster
Invasion after invasion
This means war, this means war

Someday you’ll be up to your knees
In the shit you see
All the gullible that you mislead
Won’t be up or it

Where to, will you relocate
Now that it’s war, now that it’s war

Full Lyrics

José González’s ‘How Low’ is a profound meditation on the consequences of unchecked ambition and the moral descent it can provoke. With a melody that carries the weight of gentle reproof, González crafts a narrative of a soul in danger of losing itself to ruthless individualism.

This song isn’t just another mellow track to get lost in; it’s a quiet storm, rife with poetry that slices through the facade of the hustle culture. It forces listeners to confront the price of success — not in currency, but in humanity.

A Haunting Question: How Much Will You Sacrifice?

The song’s opening line poses a question that reverberates throughout its narrative, challenging listeners to reflect on their own limits. How far are you willing to go, and at what cost? González uses the imagery of ‘low’ not only in a physical sense but also as a measure of moral descent.

Each verse is a layer peeled back, revealing the hollow nature of victories won at the expense of others. It’s a cautionary tale that targets the listener’s core values, questioning the very foundation of their aspirations.

The Echo of ‘Punch Line after Punch Line’

The recurring mention of ‘Punch line after punch line’ pounds the message home with each iteration, likening the relentless pursuit of goals to a comedy that’s lost its humor. It serves as a stark reminder that ambition can sometimes turn into a cyclical joke, where the pursuit of more becomes an end in itself.

González’s subtle use of these words speaks volumes about the seduction of success and how it can leave ‘us sore’, both the pursuer and those trampled in its wake.

The Metaphor of Monsters in Modern Society

The phrase ‘Feeding a monster, just feeding a monster’ is an indictment of the destructive cycle fueled by self-centered ambitions. The ‘monster’ can be interpreted as a metaphor for the insatiable appetite for success and power that leads to societal ‘Invasion after invasion’.

González’s poetic diction calls out the aggressiveness of expanding one’s influence without regard for the impact on community and environment – ‘This means war, this means war’ underlines the severity of the consequences.

Foretelling the Inevitable: The Hidden Meaning in ‘How Low’

What might at first seem like a melancholic folk tune unravels into a prophetic message warning of karma’s toll. The line ‘Someday you’ll be up to your knees / In the shit you see’ is a powerful premonition of the self-inflicted downfall that awaits the blindly ambitious.

González doesn’t just diagnose the problem, he predicts its outcome, offering a glimpse into a future where the ‘gullible that you mislead’ find the strength to rise above deception.

Contemplating a Shift in ‘Where to, will you relocate’

The closing queries of ‘How Low’ leave listeners with an unsettled contemplation on the idea of escape or change. By asking ‘Where to, will you relocate / Now that it’s war, now that it’s war’, González implies that the fallout of one’s actions isn’t just external but a war within, prompting a desperate search for refuge from oneself.

It’s a sobering thought that underlines the pervasive impact of our actions, highlighting González’s belief that the true battle is often with the enemy within, rather than external foes.

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