London Grammar’s “Californian Soil” Lyrics Meaning

“Californian Soil” is another track in a long line of many, put forth by various artists throughout the decades, which speak to the negative effects of making it big in the music industry. By this point in the game London Grammar, a crew from England, has already experienced considerable success, such as topping the UK Albums Chart twice (including with the California Soil album). 

But throughout it all, frontwoman Hannah Reid has come to realize that success wasn’t as enjoyable as she envisioned it. Rather she found herself in a situation where she was not in control of her own career. Moreover, she postulated that such could possibly be so due to the fact that she’s a woman.

A Beautiful Yet Dark Place

So with all of that in mind, the first verse comes off as feeling both victorious and defeatist at the same time. On one hand, it appears as if Hannah may have discovered a new level of inner strength while resident on “California soil”. 

And to some degree, we can say that this is one of those cases where the word “California” is synonymous with Hollywood, i.e. the music industry. However, as explained by London Grammar, the title also alludes to the overall beauty, including it would seem the allure of Hollywood. 

London Grammar's Hannah Reid talks about "Californian Soil"

That is to say that the Golden State is naturally beautiful, and it also possesses a more-secular, manmade appeal, i.e. the prospect of blowing up as an entertainer.

But that being noted, a sentiment of defeat comes across even stronger. Or rather let’s say that the “they” who are causing the vocalist the discomfort she is experiencing are constantly on her behind. And as such, since dealing with them in apparently a professional capacity, she has “never felt the same” as she did prior.

The Price You Pay for Success

And in terms of how they make her feel, as revealed at the beginning of the second verse, it is somewhat like a tool or a robot. She doesn’t actually have any free will. 

But at the end of the day she still achieved her primary goal. And the said goal was to become famous. Or put differently, all of the negativity above is the price she has paid for her stardom. And conclusively, being mistreated in such a manner is like part and parcel of the package.

"Californian Soil"
London Grammar discusses "Californian Soil"
"Californian Soil"

Credits for “Californian Soil”

The song was composed by the three songwriters:

  • Hannah Reid, a songwriter and lead singer of London Grammar who is known for her distinctive and expansive vocal range.
  • Dominic “Dot” Major, a member of London Grammar.
  • Dan Rothman, also a member of London Grammar.

The production credits of the song are attributed to:

  • London Grammar
  • Charlie Andrew

Charlie is a British songwriter and producer known for working with several artists like Laurel Collective, Clive Langer and Francobollo.

When was “Californian Soil” released?

The song was made available to the public on 1st October, 2020. It was released as single prior to its album of the same name. The album eventually came out on 16th April, 2021.

Did Eagles’ “Hotel California” inspire this song?

The song’s lyrics/theme is a little bit similar to Eagle’s iconic “Hotel California“. But we don’t know if “Californian Soil” was directly inspired by “Hotel California”.

That being said, it should be noted that “Hotel California” has acted as inspiration for countless songs over the years. So it wouldn’t be surprising if it also inspired the theme of this one.

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