Lyrical Analysis Proves New Portishead Album a Tad Mopey


mojo-photo-portisheadthirdcover.jpgBristol, UK-based trip-hop combo Portishead are known for two of the bleakest albums of the late ’90s, Dummy and Portishead, whose claustrophobic, atonal soundscapes drew from jazz, soundtracks and cabaret. The music’s chill was matched by singer Beth Gibbons’ angst-ridden lyrics—witness 1997’s “Only You,” that kicks off the fun with the line “We suffer every day.” Well, good morning to you too Beth. So, the band have been “on hiatus” for nearly ten years, but their comeback album Third has just leaked onto the intertubes. One wonders: have the intervening years lightened them up at all?

To be blunt: oh, hell no. On the contrary, they seem to have spent their time off in an underground factory/torture chamber in Antarctica, returning to the surface only to be betrayed by objects of affection and promptly sent back down to their cold, echoey prison. Lyrics sheets aren’t yet available, so I poured a stiff drink and listened to the whole album, taking notes, and checking in with a counselor every few minutes. After the jump, a chart of all significant words that make more than one appearance.

mojo-photo-portisheadgraph.gif

Other vocabulary words making significant, if unique, appearances: afraid, bitterness, blinded, broken, cold, disappointed, drifting, empty, guilty, hesitate, pretend, reaching, sore, storm, struggle, tempted, tormented, wounded. Good times.

Portishead’s Third is out for real on Island on April 28th, two days after the band headline the Coachella festival in Indio, California.

Photo courtesy Island Records.

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