Beth Gibbons, the review of Lives Outgrown

There’s something the Pet Shop Boys say and I’m afraid it’s partly true. And that means that over time, what remains are not the records we think are important, the ones with weighty messages, the great works celebrated by critics and enlightened listeners who look down on those with standardized musical tastes. Some stay, that’s clear, but above all the pop songs stay. These are the ones that penetrate people’s lives and say who we are as a community. According to this argument, Outgrown lives by Beth Gibbons is a record of those who do not last. And it’s great.

Here’s something else that’s not very song-like and not poppy at all: Outgrown lives It is a record about middle age and therefore about the body becoming weaker, about menopause (really), about the prospect of death, which becomes a little more concrete at 59, about the effect of witnessing the deaths of friends and family . There is in the lyrics the certainty that all of us, they and we, are on the way to nowhere, too scared to feel free, stupid, who realize at the last moment that they have to live longer and better. It appears to be something specifically designed to keep the public out.

Since Gibbons is a rather reserved person (for those who don’t know her: it’s a euphemism), she hasn’t said much about these songs, which were produced with James Ford, one of the architects of the Arctic Monkeys’ Space Lounge, and over a thousand other records, including the last one by the Pet Shop Boys (but you think) and Remember death by Depeche Mode (also Outgrown lives after all, it is something like a memento mori). However, Gibbons says one thing in a press release: “I realized what a life without hope is like.” It’s a sadness I’ve never felt before. Before I had the chance to change the future, but when you clash with your body, you can’t force it to do something it doesn’t want to do.

In a world of prefabricated sounds, Outgrown lives It has a unique “voice”, an unrepeatable folk sound made of stringed instruments that you can almost touch, choirs that seem to come from another world, a piano that Ford plays with a spoon and then Tupperware, wooden drawers, cans, a paella pan and other things smashed by Talk Talk’s Lee Harris. Beats forbidden. Acoustic and electric timbres are often crafted in a complex and somewhat masked manner without the use of plug-ins. It is folk, a step away from esotericism, with Middle Eastern influences that add mystery to the mystery and cinematic sound passages like the second half of Beyond the sun.

Beth Gibbons is one of pop’s last secrets. She is far from the winning trends of today’s music, communicates little and rarely releases records. Outgrown lives it can be considered his first true solo album. It comes 22 years later Off-season together with Rustin Man, the pseudonym of Talk Talk’s Paul Webb, and five years after the re-reading of Górecki’s Third Symphony, a little right (the great composer Krzysztof Penderecki conducts) and a little strange (she is a contralto in a role). a soprano). Given the topics, Outgrown lives It is his most personal work and also the one he worked on for the longest time, ten years. If in the Symphony of sad songs Among other things, the singer took on the role of a mother who mourns her son who died in the war; here she is the middle-aged woman who sees the possibilities dwindling and is forced to accept that not everything will be okay. Sometimes the album feels like the powerful soundtrack to a death scene, sometimes like a rustic poem about physical decay, sometimes like a collection of existential litanies. In any case, it’s stuff you won’t hear anywhere else.

Some will say it’s a boring album, but that’s nonsense. The only boring music is uninteresting music, and this instead has its own charm, created by the interweaving of Gibbons’ expressive vocals and deliberately fragile timbre with the material sound of the instruments. They can sing about fading, suffering and dying and do so with grace and mystery. One of the albums of the year. If the Pet Shop Boys are right, a record that won’t last.

Related Post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *