Portishead has just announced the next single from Third, and it’s my favorite track on the album, “The Rip.” Every time I hear the song, I’m instantly spellbound for its entire length, from the folksy opening reminiscent of Beth Gibbons’ Out Of Season album to her world-weary and spectral vocals to the eerily lulling synth arpeggios that emerge in the song’s final act.
A video for “The Rip” was released a few days ago, and while it’s currently offline on Portishead’s site, you can watch a lo-res version of the video courtesy of YouTube.
The video consists of a sketchy, constantly shifting animation reminiscent of Bill Plympton’s work at its ugliest and most grotesque, and depicting a world gone mad and consuming itself. Considering the lyrics — which, the more I read them, the more they seem to be about drug addiction — that isn’t all that inappropriate. But when compared to the other videos in the band’s oeuvre, this one strikes me as a little, well, amateurish.
Personally, I’d just be content to watch footage of the band performing the song, such as this Jools Holland performance:
Gibbons, and the rest of the band, just exude cool here, all dressed up in black and absorbed in their knob-twiddling and whatnot. I think I could watch Gibbons sway in time to those hypnotic synths, whilst draped over her microphone like a funeral shawl, all day long.
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I've also written for Christ and Pop Culture, ScreenAnarchy, Filmwell, and Christian Research Journal. I pay the bills by creating beautiful user interfaces and websites for Firespring and Red Bicycle.