I don’t know how, but I kind of forgot about this album. It will always be one of my favourite albums from the decade of the ’90s, but somehow I have never written about it. I think I have this sick sense of personal ownership over it, like I am the only person who remembers this album even though Portishead were huge and sold incredibly well.
I think part of my hesitation is how there is no real instruments on the album. Portishead are one of the few acts that I jump to describe as Trip-Hop. That sleepy, almost dreamscape portrayal of soundscapes which only film better catches the emotions created by the sound.
Trip-Hop is one of the few genres that actually benefits from music videos, in my opinion. Still remaining completely unnecessary, The videos illustrate the worlds generated by the music. Few successfully capitalized on this as well as Portishead, even though they only released four videos over a career spanning from 1994 to around 2008 (as far as my research shows).
It is important to point out how 2008 is a softcap, as they went “silent” from 1997 to 2008 with little noise coming from their corner of the world. According to what I could find, they have done one-off teases to their fans and those still paying attention.
So, what about this album, I hear noone ask? As I mentioned before, it is quite important in my collection. It reminds me of a detective movie from the 1940’s. Heavy bass shots, mixed in with simple (but tasteful) drum loops. There are few albums that I can describe as “cool” with little else needing to explain what I mean, but this is very much a perfect example of exactly that.
Oh, her voice is a bit… different…? I am not saying that it is bad, by any stretch of the idea. Her ability is amazing and her range is unmatched. I completely understand if anyone is turned off by her tone, yet I implore you to listen again.
This song remains one of my favourite songs of all time. There is something perfect, and the video illustrates perfectly just how haunting the song is.