Sour Times

Album: Dummy (1994)
Charted: 13 53

Songfacts®:

  • "Sour Times" isn't exactly the feature single from Portishead's first album, Dummy, but it might as well be. It's the one whose video samples scenes from their short film To Kill a Dead Man, whose images also make up the cover for the Dummy album.

    Let's start with To Kill A Dead Man. It's a short film included on the bonus section of the 2002 DVD version of Portishead's Roseland NYC Live. We'd be hard-pressed to describe it, beyond saying it's a film-noir assassination story, sort of like if David Lynch made spy movies. See it here.
  • "Sour Times" originally only charted as high as #57 in the UK Singles' chart. Then after their single "Glory Box" made a big splash in the charts at #13, "Sour Times" was re-released and this time was really noticed.

    The album Dummy as a whole attracted critical acclaim and won the 1995 Mercury Music Prize. It is also credited with founding the Trip-Hop genre. This song is in fact a very good demonstration of the Trip-Hop style: moody, a little psychedelic, and containing just a lick of R&B roots.
  • The eerie percussion and guitar were sampled from Lalo Schifrin's "Danube Incident," music composed by the Argentine composer for an episode of Mission Impossible.
  • British R&B group The 411's 2004 Top 40 single "Teardrops" was built around a sample of "Sour Times."

Comments: 1

  • Mitsuki Yadate from TurkeyONE MORE FACT:
    This song "Sour Times" was an inspiration for the world's first dictionary-based social media network's name "Sour Dictionary" (originally in Turkish: "Eksi Sozluk").
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