by Brittney Corridean
A band’s debut is not always ultimately defining and fruitful, but that’s exactly what Portishead’s Dummy was able to accomplish. Since their beginning, Portishead has been majorly attributed to the trip-hop music genre, and for good reasoning. The slow rhythms and Beth Gibbons’ soft, airy voice give substantial meaning to the true sounds of hip hop.
The 1994 release starts out with “Mysterons” and then goes into “Sour Times”. The songs just seem to flow into each other which makes it very easy to listen to the whole album without interruption. Each song presents its own uniqueness and has you liking the next track a little more than the last one.
“Roads” opens with an echoing sound that ripples on throughout the entire song. Once Gibbons comes in with her lyrics, it takes a different direction by incorporating strings such as guitar and violin. It’s this nostalgic song that reminds you of a memory before it even happens…if that makes sense.
“Ohh, can’t anybody see
We’ve got a war to fight
Never found our way
Regardless of what they say”
So many different sounds and instruments culminate throughout Dummy. It’s truly an alluring album. It goes from dreamy, whimsical to heavy beats and hip-hop induced sounds. The lyrics are incredibly poetic and potentially aesthetic to the listen. To each his own, but it has definitely been affiliated with making the trip-hop scene come to light.
Other songs on the album that reached high acclaim are “Numb” and “Glory Box” (which most recently can be heard to the back beat of Alessia Cara’s “Here”). It’s got a little bit of a spin to it and Gibbons’ vocal style compared to Cara’s are quite different. Cara’s a bit more heavy and on the soul side, but it doesn’t take away from the original version by any means.
If you yourself are not big on the whole trip-hop thing, no biggie. However, if you did want to experiment a little bit and broaden your horizons, I would definitely give this a listen. You might learn something (for nothing-insert lyric!) or learn about yourself.