Song of the Week: Beth Gibbons reflects on the end of her first solo song

Song of the week result’s weekly column featuring the latest and greatest new songs. Find these new favorites and more on Spotify’s Best Songs playlist, and for other great songs from up-and-coming artists, check out our Spotify New Sounds playlist. This week, Beth Gibbons delivers her solo wish with “Floating on a Moment.”

Thirty years after Portishead’s debut and 16 years after their last effort, Beth Gibbons has announced her long-awaited solo project, Long Live. While this isn’t the first time Gibbons has ventured out into the world of Portishead — he’s released more than one collaborative album and lent his voice to artists like Kendrick Lamar — People of no more cows is the first complete collection to bear Gibbons’ name and Gibbons’ name alone. Judging by the single, “Floating at a Time,” it’s going to be heavy.

The road, led by as a resultThe 2023 Producer of the Year James Ford, shows a disappointment which, according to Gibbons, is a sign of the direction of the new album. “People started dying,” Gibbons said Long Live. “When you’re young, you never know how it’s going to end, you don’t know how it’s going to end. You think, ‘We’ll get through this. It will get better.’ Some endings are hard to digest… I feel what it’s like to live without hope, and it’s a sadness I’ve never felt before. Before, I had the opportunity to change my future, but when you are against your body, you can’t make it do something it doesn’t want to do.

Despite the expansive and raw sonic beauty of “Floating at a Time,” one cannot help but feel the darkness of the baroque instrumentation. Especially with Gibbons’ thoughts on death and grief in mind, the softly sung lines about walking into nowhere and being too scared to express the song’s concerns . There seems to be the tiniest glimmer of hope as the song fades, with dreamy, childlike vocals and Sufjan Stevens-esque folk instrumentation backing Gibbons as he sings, “All we got is here and now.” However, it feels more like a defeated surrender than a defiant embrace these days.

Of course, the sound of the song is beautiful. Despite the darkness of the lyrics, the soaring chords, shimmering arpeggios, and Gibbons’ performance are comforting. Squint you might find the song warm and uplifting. But take a closer look, and you’ll wonder how you ever thought things were so good.

Jonah Krueger
Editorial Coordinator

Honorable Mentions

Blitzen Trapper – “Cosmic Backseat Lessons”:

“Education Cosmic Backseat” is magic for the various experiences of “education” happening in the back of the car. At times, the song explores an unrequited sexuality: “In the back seat of the Chevy, well, she taught me how to live / Our love is like a rope and to fall is to believe / Tethered me to he was tied up and all I did was make him sneeze. At other times, it showcases the simple joy of listening to the radio. A soundtrack brimming with nostalgia, shared memories and worldly experiences. – Venus Rittenberg

Les Savy Fav — “Legendary Tippers”

For their first single in 14 years (!), Les Savy Fav picks up where they left off. “Legendary Tippers” is sarcastic, sarcastic, and yet still useful. There’s a classic post-punkism, a bit of vocal distortion, and a structure that builds on itself with each passing verse. Perhaps most impressively, they’re not dated at all, proving that perhaps they laid more of a foundation for modern, noisy post-punkers like IDLES or Viagra Boys than they’re often given credit for. – J. Krueger

Lindsey Lomis – “Far Down”

Lindsey Lomis’s acrobatic voice is perhaps her not-so-secret weapon. The alt-pop artist wields her instrument like a sword, especially on her latest release, “Long Way Down.” The track offers a slightly heavier sound than some of Lomis’s singer-songwriter fare, relying on charged lines in the chorus, but Lomis dances without there is a meaning above all this with the songs he plays. “Long Way Down” is the first preview from his recently announced EP, Be careful, expected to drop in March. – Mary Siroky

Mini Tree – “Shapeshifter”

The Mini Trees are back this week with “Shapeshifter,” a funny number about the struggle to be authentic rather than turning into the person others want you to be. Instead, the transition of wide-open chords in the drums feels like Mini Trees just opened all the windows in the room, and their clear sound is bright and accurate. The syncopated keyboard line that underpins the song is also a perfect conduit for its shape-shifting theme, especially when it gives way to warm guitars and atmospheric synths. — Paolo Ragusa

MX LONELY – “Communication”:

“Connection” from MX LONELY’s new EP, SARAH, juxtaposing thundering instruments with rhythmic melodies, creating close-to-the-shoes lyrics with guitars and drums. Filled with shimmering fuzz, the song maintains its energy throughout its duration, but is very exciting towards the end with whispering vocals. It was an incredible moment of catharsis, demanding concentration and building to the level of anything that had happened in the song up to that point. – V. Rittenberg

renforshort – “serpentine”

There’s something comforting about the lonely feeling of “serpentine,” a new release from LA-based artist renforshort. The gradual introduction of the strings builds to a charged bridge where he puts himself: “Lately, I’ve been thinking too much / My head is racing, lost in the flood / But I love you,” he admits. In a statement, the artist mentions the influence of Elliott Smith in the writing process, especially when it comes to the melody “serpentine.” Angry, sad, and sensitive all at once, the song sticks as it wraps. – M. Siroky

Tei Shi — “QQ (Keep Loving Me)”

Keep an eye out for Tei Shi, whose music is always captivating with every release. Independent artist prepares for LP – Valerie, lands April 19 — and her new single, “QQ,” is bilingual bop that eases the pain of romantic struggles. Go scream at the moon, if you will, the music video seems to say; Take the catharsis and let it go and heal as much as you can. There’s no denying that Tei Shi is setting himself up for a North American tour, so get on now. – M. Siroky

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