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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.

  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.
  • 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.
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  • 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
  • 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.
    • The instrumental of "Glory Box" cuts out at 4:13 and is briefly replaced with a dark, slow drumbeat. One track on the Glory Box single, "Scorn", reverses the situation: it has said drumbeat as the main instrumental, maintaining Glory Box's vocal track, and briefly uses Glory Box's instrumental at the equivalent point in the song.
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  • 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.