Radio Quarantine – Portishead: Glorybox (1994)

I can’t front. PORTISHEAD never occupied much time on my turntable and still doesn’t. Maybe they just weren’t where my head was at in 1994, wherever that was. To the best of my memory that year was one of dire conflict between unthinkable joy and unspeakable panic. That year was about trying hard to pretend that I hadn’t made some serious missteps and feeling guilty because with the birth of my second son it should have been the happiest time in my life. That year was about trying to pretend hard enough to make the joy and wonder weigh more than the fear and regret.

Look, I told you I don’t do reviews. I’m just trying to keep it real, and sometimes real means real funky. The truth doesn’t always smell fresh and clean.

Glory Box appeared on my radar about a decade later long after the charade fell apart. It was in another one of those what the fuck am I doing here situations, this one in a smoke-fugged apartment in Jersey City. No names given right now and no names necessary but she must have put the song on repeat. It burned into my gray matter while I was lying on the parlor floor feeling like it was probably a good thing that breathing was something you don’t have to remember how to do. Probably a good thing but maybe not. Like I said, sometimes keeping it real means keeping it real funky. I felt like The Universe had eaten me up, digested me and shat me out right where I was.

Curious that not only can I listen to the song but actually love it, no? It came during one of those first moments of clarity. It was one of those first things have to change or I have to change because this is bullshit moments of clarity. That was about fifteen or sixteen years ago and it could have been an hour ago. It’s really just that clear. A song can do that, you know, put you right back in the moment. I’d honestly sort of forgotten that Glory Box existed. It’s not what could be considered a gamechanger for me and did little to heighten my appreciation of Portishead. It’s a vibe though. It’s a mood. It brings me back.

Mining the 90s. Mining the 00s. Objects are closer than they appear.

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