Roads (track) by Portishead
Roads appears on the following album(s) by Portishead:Dummy (this album) (1994), Roseland NYC Live (1998).
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One of the most haunting and amazing tracks you'll ever find.
What a beautiful track! THAT is how you use a strings section! absolutely gorgeous
Pure desperation exudes from Beth Gibbons' mouth as the sweeping, emotive strings fill the air. It's all synchronized and held together by a stellar rhythm section consisting of a Rhodes piano, bass, and drums. There is embellishment consisting of various programming, guitar and a Polynesian nose flute of all things.
This may not have been the intent of the artists, composers, and producers behind the creation of "Roads", but the slow oscillating Rhodes piano and guitar parts seem to reflect a feeling of uncertainty, dolorously straying from a balanced equilibrium, which I feel suits the topic of the piece perfectly. It, in turn, heightens the emotional impact of the piece on the listener whether he or she realizes it or not. That's the brilliance to the surprising complexity of Portishead - attention to details.
The deep lyricism augments the enchanting aesthetic of this piece. The continuous internal 'battle' for fulfillment that every person faces manifests itself as a losing contest of self vs The World. Humans often seek balance through others and materialistic possessions, a method to procure happiness, but ultimately this results in isolation ("no one on their side"), and an unfeasible struggle between one's self and societal norms / expectations. Once someone attains a niche in life and society, he/she can easily feel that that niche is attained by sacrificing their authenticity. Beth Gibbons cries 'how can it feel this wrong?', which is probably rhetorical. Naturally, because when people reach that niche they never truly find balance within themselves, and their happiness in life is shot. It goes without saying that individuality and veracity are imperative characteristics of the human condition, but sometimes the standards set forth by governmental and communal institutions undermine these.
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