Song of the Week is Consequence’s weekly column highlighting the most recent and best new tunes. Discover these new favorites and extra on our Spotify Top Songs playlist, and for different nice songs from rising artists, take a look at our Spotify New Sounds playlist. This week, Beth Gibbons introduces her solo ambitions with “Floating on a Second.”
Three many years after Portishead’s debut and 16 years after their most up-to-date effort, Beth Gibbons has lastly introduced her long-awaited solo undertaking, Lives Outgrown. Whereas it’s not the primary time Gibbons has stepped exterior of the Portishead universe — she’s launched multiple collaborative album and has lent her voice to artists like Kendrick Lamar — Lives Outgrown is the primary full-length assortment to bear Gibbons’ identify and Gibbons’ identify alone. Judging by its lead single, “Floating on a Second,” it’s going to be a heavy one.
The monitor, helmed by Consequence’s 2023 Producer of the Year James Ford, exudes a sure hopelessness that, in line with Gibbons, is emblematic of the brand new album’s route. “Folks began dying,” Gibbons said of Lives Outgrown. “Whenever you’re younger, you by no means know the endings, you don’t know the way it’s going to pan out. You assume, ‘We’re going to get past this. It’s going to get higher.’ Some endings are arduous to digest… I noticed what life was like with no hope, and that was a disappointment I’d by no means felt. Earlier than, I had the power to alter my future, however whenever you’re up in opposition to your physique, you possibly can’t make it do one thing it doesn’t wish to do.”
Regardless of the always-developing, understated sonic great thing about “Floating on a Second,” one can’t assist however sense the bleakness behind the baroque instrumentation. Particularly with Gibbons’ ideas on loss of life and disappointment in thoughts, softly sung strains about heading to nowhere and being too afraid to be happy reveal the track’s existential considerations. There’s seemingly the slightest glimmer of optimism because the track fades out, with dreamy, child-like backing vocals and Sufjan Stevens-esque folks instrumentation supporting Gibbons as she sings, “All now we have, is right here and now.” And but, it feels extra like a defeated give up than a defiant embrace of the current.
In fact, the punchline is how fairly the track sounds. Regardless of the darkness of the lyrics, the prancing baseline, glistening arpeggios, and Gibbons’ delicate efficiency are paradoxically comforting. Squint and also you would possibly discover the track to be heat and uplifting. Look nearer, although, and also you’ll marvel the way you ever thought issues have been okay.
— Jonah Krueger