I cannot count the number of times I was warned of regrets for inaction, but never reminded that actions themselves could also be rued. That gut hurt, that vulnerability more mental than physical we dolefully feel when we disappoint ourselves and others. We are all human, and therefore fallible, but that is of little consolation when mistakes are made that cannot be retracted or adequately amended, especially when unclear. “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change …” is of little solace at times like these. And so we roll through this life, picking up bits of damage here and there, some worse than others, but all painfully cumulative, resulting in our bodies and our memories at once both failing and failing to fail us.
“The taste of life,
I can’t describe.
It’s choking on my mind.
Reaching out I can’t believe.
That faith it can’t decide.”
Bristol, England’s Portishead began back in 1994 with their debut album Dummy, an audio film noir masterpiece of breathtaking beauty to those of us enamored of such shadowy mysteries borne of days of yore. The Dick Tracys and the James Bonds, the Alfred Hitchcocks, Perry Masons, and the Rod Serlings, all with their theatric music playing on the reflective heartstrings of innocents and psychopaths. The malaligned and the bedeviled.
Taken from Portishead’s third album, aptly titled Third, the song appears as a love letter to band Silver Apples’ 1968 track ‘Oscillations’ (shared below for comparison and sheer beauty). Album Third, despite being widely heralded, highly influential, and reaching near-mythical status, was downplayed by the band’s own Geoff Barrow. “It’s nice to have people interested in your work but It’s really quiet [sic] boring, Just lots of tea and loops going round and round and round.” This from a band that recorded their second album, the eponymous Portishead, pressed it to vinyl, warped said vinyl, and sampled the result back into the original mix.
“On and on I carry on
But underneath my mind
And on and on I tell myself
It’s this I can’t disguise“
Truthfully, on Third, Barrow and his bandmates Adrian Utley and Beth Gibbons combine psychedelia, post-punk, electronica, krautrock, folk, and soundtrack music into an indelible blend of simultaneous motion and stillness. It comes across like sheer terror in musical form, and the ever-reclusive Gibbons’ lyrics are the band’s darkest to date, all delivered in her signature ghostly, solemn tone. [avclub.com]
[The] song was originally called ‘Peaches’, which makes sense, I think. The fruits represent the vital and sensuous “taste of life” that makes a mockery of the daily grind through which we force ourselves to carry on. (e.g. the grind of life in general, or maybe the going-through-the-motions of a romance gone stale and inert.) In any case, the cost of carrying on may well be self-deception; the heart knows the truth and bleeds because of it.~ Anarchitect on songmeanings.com
“Oh can’t you see
Holding on to my heart
I bleed, no place is safe
Can’t you see the taste of life?”
Cover Art “para-sight” © 2023 – disturbedByVoices – All Rights Reserved