Acclaimed Albums – Third by Portishead

List item: Listen to the 250 greatest albums
Progress: 249/250Title: Third
Artist: Portishead
Year: 2008
Position: #226

In the four years (count them, four) since I first listened to Dummy, I have kept my Portishead listening relegated to that album. Why I didn’t take some time with their second self-titled album is beyond me, given how much I liked their debut. Now I am finishing off the 2000s in this album challenge, I have finally gotten around to Third.

When I wrote about Dummy and saw that Third would be a move away from trip-hop whilst still keeping something innately Portishead, I didn’t completely gel with the idea. I mean the swirling nature of Dummy was what I loved most. Then I got about halfway through my first listen of Third and I got it. Between ‘The Rip’ and ‘We Carry On’ I started to understand what they were trying to do. Then came the re-listens and Third just kept opening up more and more.

There is a bit of a thing about the music that Portishead produces being the perfect food for a depressive mind. Considering everything I went through jobwise in 2020 and continuing into 2021, maybe that is why Third hit as hard as it did. 

This is not an everyday listen by any means. When I was deeper into my post-Covid brainfog, the sounds on this album would have been way too much for me – especially the beginning to ‘Machine Gun’. Now my brain is healing somewhat, although I am still losing words mid-sentence, I think I get what they were trying to do – and it’s something I should have listened to back when I was 18.

In the expanded list, Portishead’s second and self-titled album will finally appear on my radar and I’ll have a reason to give it a proper listen… other than because I have really liked the other two entries in their discography. Might wait a while until we live in a post-covid world though. I have enough moody music for the time being.

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