0029. Portishead – Portishead [1997]


Mmmm… This one’s a BIG favorite of mine.  This was my first introduction to trip-hop.  I’ve put this on while I wrote chaotic word vomit (aka “poetry”).  Particularly notable tracks are Undenied, Mourning Air & Western Eyes, although I love every track on the album.  My all time favorite song of Portishead’s, though, is “Roads,” off their debut album, “Dummy.”  I first heard that on the movie Tank Girl when the main character took a sand shower.

Anyway, definitely check this album out if you’re a fan of Lana Del Rey, Lamb, Lorde, Massive Attack, Thievery Corporation, etc.  Most of you reading this are probably already fans of Portishead, so I don’t need to sell you on them.

Wikipedia Says:

Portishead is the second album by English band Portishead, released in 1997. The album reached No. 2 on the UK Album Chart[1] and No. 21 on the Billboard 200 chart.[2]

On 3 December 2008, Universal Music Japan re-released Dummy and Portishead as a limited SHM-CD version.[citation needed]


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars[3]
Entertainment Weekly (A)[4]
Robert Christgau (B-)[5]
Pitchfork Media (8.2/10)[6]
Rolling Stone 4/5 stars[7]
Slant Magazine 4.5/5 stars[8]
Melody Maker (positive)[9]
Vibe (positive)[10]
NME 8/10 stars[11]
Spin 9/10 stars[12]

Portishead received critical acclaim upon its release. Spin praised the record and noted that the band created a “gothic“, “deadly” and “trippy” atmosphere.[12] Commenting the textures of the music, music journalist Barry Walters observed that the group got “darker, deeper and more disturbing” in comparison to their previous effort Dummy.[12]


Publication Accolade Year Rank
Melody Maker Albums of the Year 1997 18[7]
NME 1997 Critics’ Poll 1997 32[7]
Q 50 Best Albums of 1997 1997 (*)[7]
Spin Top 20 Albums of the Year 1997 6[7]
Village Voice 1997 Pazz & Jop Critics’ Poll 1997 14[7]

(*) designates unordered lists.

Track listing

All songs written and composed by Geoff BarrowBeth Gibbons and Adrian Utley, except where noted.

No. Title Length
1. “Cowboys” (Barrow, Gibbons) 4:38
2. All Mine 3:59
3. “Undenied” (Barrow, Gibbons) 4:18
4. “Half Day Closing” 3:49
5. Over 4:00
6. “Humming” 6:02
7. “Mourning Air” 4:11
8. “Seven Months” 4:15
9. Only You 4:59
10. “Elysium” 5:54
11. “Western Eyes” 3:57


  • Only You” samples Ken Thorne from “Inspector Clouseau” and The Pharcyde from “She Said”.[13]
  • “Western Eyes” is listed as sampling “Hookers & Gin” by the “Sean Atkins Experience” in the album’s liner notes. In reality, this band does not exist; the sample was created by the band like most of the others on the album.[14]


All songs produced by Geoff Barrow, Adrian Utley, Beth Gibbons and Dave McDonald.

Additional Musicians
  • Clive Deamer – Drums
  • Sean Atkins – Additional vocals
  • John Baggot – Organ, piano
  • Andy Hague, Ben Waghorn, John Cornick – Horns
  • S. Cooper – Violin

Sales chart performance

Chart (1997) Peak
Australian Albums Chart[15] 2
Austrian Album Chart[citation needed] 6
Belgian Album Chart (FL)[citation needed] 9
Belgian Album Chart (WA)[citation needed] 23
Danish Album Chart[16] 6
Dutch Album Chart[citation needed] 31
Finnish Album Chart[citation needed] 14
French Album Chart[citation needed] 3
New Zealand Albums (Recorded Music NZ)[17] 1
Norwegian Album Chart[18] 7
Swedish Album Chart[citation needed] 6
Swiss Album Chart[citation needed] 11
US Billboard 200[2] 21

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