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Music / Dummy

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Dummy is the 1994 debut album by British Trip Hop band Portishead. "Glory Box" and "Sour Times" were their most successful singles.

It was highly acclaimed, seen as one of the albums that popularized trip hop, and was listed at #419 in Rolling Stone's Rolling Stone: 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.

  1. "Mysterons" (5:02)
  2. "Sour Times" (4:11)
  3. "Strangers" (3:55)
  4. "It Could Be Sweet" (4:16)
  5. "Wandering Star" (4:51)
  6. "It's A Fire" (3:48)
  7. "Numb" (3:54)
  8. "Roads" (5:02)
  9. "Pedestal" (3:39)
  10. "Biscuit" (5:01)
  11. "Glory Box" (5:06)


Sour Tropes

  • Accentuate the Negative: The lyrics and music are very gloomy.
    • Subverted by "Sour Times", which has the line:
    Nobody loves me, it's true... not like you do.
  • Beneath the Mask: "It's A Fire".
    Cos this life is a farce
    I can't breathe through this mask
    Like a fool
    So breathe on, sister breathe on
  • Break Up Song:
    • "Pedestal"
    You abandoned me
    How I suffer
    Ridicule breathes a sigh
    You abandoned me
    Lost forever
    • "Biscuit"
    I'll never fall in love again, it's all over now.
  • The Cassandra: "Biscuit"
    I can't make myself heard no matter how hard I scream.
  • Cradle of Loneliness:
    • "Numb"
    But this loneliness, it just won't leave me alone.
    • "Roads"
    I got nobody on my side and surely that ain't right.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: The album cover is in color, but dominated by the color blue.
  • Despair Event Horizon:
    • "Biscuit"
    I'll never fall in love again, it's all over now.
    • "Glory Box"
    I'm so tired of playing
    Playing with this bow and arrow
    Gonna give my heart away
    Leave it to the other girls to play
    For I've been a temptress too long
  • Face on the Cover: Beth Gibbons, the lead singer, in the center of the album cover image. The picture is taken from their short film To Kill a Dead Man.
  • Fake-Out Fade-Out: "Strangers" has one.
  • Give Me a Reason: "Glory Box"
    Give me a reason to be a woman, I just want to be a woman.
  • Idealized Sex: "Sour Times"
    Covered by the blind belief
    That fantasies of sinful screens
    Bear the facts, assume the dye
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  • Love Hurts: Virtually every track is about lovesickness, break-ups and feeling sad as a result.
  • Lyrical Dissonance: Some of the music is actually quite catchy, while the lyrics are downright depressing.
  • Mood Whiplash:
    • "Sour Times", a very depressing song, with nevertheless a more hopeful refrain:
    Nobody loves me, it's true... not like you do.
  • Non-Appearing Title: The title doesn't appear in any of the lyrics. Also "Wandering Star", where Gibbons does mention the title, but in plural ("wandering stars").
  • One-Word Title: "Dummy", "Numb", "Mysterons", "Roads", "Biscuit" and "Pedestal".
  • Record Needle Scratch: All throughout the album.
  • Sampling:
    • "Sour Times" samples Lalo Schifrin's "The Danube Incident" and Smokey Brooks' "Spin It Jig".
    • "Strangers" contains a sample of "Elegant People" from Weather Report.
    • "Magic Mountain" by War is sampled during "Wandering Star".
    • "I'll never fall in love again, it's all over now" in "Biscuit" is a sample from Johnnie Ray's "I'll Never Fall In Love Again".
    • "Glory Box" has a sample from "Ike's Rap II" by Isaac Hayes, and a melody from the 1960's TV series The Adventures of Robinson Crusoe.''
  • Theremin: Prominent in "Mysterons."
  • Wholesome Crossdresser: Everyone in the video for Glory Box.


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