54.) Portishead - Third (2008)
Everyone knew what to expect when it was announced that Portishead would reunite some eleven years since their last record and record something new. But then the record, Third, came out and everyone was like "What? That's not what we expected at all."
Portishead were a beloved band from a long since dead moment in popular music known as trip-hop. Their 1994 record Dummy is one of the true classics of the genre (if you ask me there was only one other - Maxinquaye by Tricky - but that's just me) and it would have been perfectly acceptable for Portishead to go back to the well and do something similar. That they didn't only added to their reputation. In fact, re-uniting bands should all look to Portishead when planning their comeback.
But how are they different? How is this Portishead Version 2.0 exactly? For starters with Third they swell now and they have synths and the drums kick in hard and fast at points and I'm pretty sure that's a ukulele driving the Beach Boys-esque harmonies in "Deep Water"! It's still a bit moody, but you can't expect Beth Gibbons voice is still in tact though - as vulnerable as you remember it, but also as beautiful. Third is really a triumphant second act for Portishead as it's a nuanced yet accessible record and "The Rip" could slug it out with but a handful of other songs to take the prize for track of the decade.
Posted by Pat Driscoll