In the ear­ly Nineties there was sud­den­ly this thing called Trip hop, which man­i­fest­ed out of an­oth­er di­men­sion and came to earth in Bris­tol, not oth­er­wise fa­mous for very much. Its dis­tin­guish­ing char­ac­ter­is­tic is be­ing slow and dreamy and, I al­ways thought, kind of sexy. Sour Times is prob­a­bly the most fa­mous Trip-hop song ev­er, by Por­tishead, along with Mas­sive At­tack the canon­i­cal trip-hopheads.


When you lis­ten to it first, you tend to just sink in­to the slow melody and Beth Gibbons’ beau­ti­ful, haunt­ing singing. But there’s a lot more hap­pen­ing; this one is worth lis­ten­ing to a few times.

There are two record­ings of this song; it was the big hit on their de­but al­bum Dum­my, and ap­peared on Rose­land NYC Live, in an elab­o­rate ar­range­ment with a big or­ches­tra. They’re both great, and they made a movie of that con­cert too, which I think is way cool. Any­how, any time you’re in the mood for some­thing silky and se­duc­tive, you can’t beat Sour Times, as­sum­ing you can ig­nore the fact that it’s kind of sad.

This is part of the Song of the Day se­ries (back­ground).

Links · Spo­ti­fy playlist. This tune on Ama­zon: Rose­land/Dum­my; on iTunes: Rose­land/Dum­my; on Spo­ti­fy: Rose­land/Dum­my. Here’s re­al­ly ex­cel­lent live video of the live record­ing.


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From: John Cowan (Mar 26 2018, at 16:35)

Bristol? Not famous? It's famous because its people pronounce an /l/ after words ending on /o/, which is why it's called Bristol and not Bridgestowe, as it shoulda been.


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