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“Floating on a Moment” by Beth Gibbons

The Portishead singer’s upcoming solo debut album explores themes of aging, motherhood, and menopause.

Consequence has reported that Portishead’s Beth Gibbons is releasing a solo album in 2024. Titled Lives Outgrown, the decade-in-a-making album explores such themes as aging, motherhood, and menopause. She says:

When you’re young, you never know the endings, you don’t know how it’s going to pan out. You think, “We’re going to get beyond this. It’s going to get better.” Some endings are hard to digest… I realized what life was like with no hope, and that was a sadness I’d never felt. Before, I had the ability to change my future, but when you’re up against your body, you can’t make it do something it doesn’t want to do.

Gibbons discussed the album on Instagram earlier this month:

As usual it reflects what’s been going on with me internally, my 50’s have brought forward a new yet older horizon. It has been a time of farewells to family, friends and even to who I was before, the lyrics mirroring my anxieties and sleepless nighttime ruminations, hence Lives Outgrown’. Not just because of the way we travel through emotional or psychological transitions in our lives but relating more to the time we leave this planet and our motion into the unknown. Something I fear but just need to try and celebrate as a moment approaching, gifting the ability to grow beyond the restraints of this physical world.

The sound was also a process, exploring structures within my own personal capabilities. I wanted to draw away from breakbeats and snares, focusing on the woody fabric of timbres away from the sugary addiction of high frequencies that satisfy like sugar and salt.

As you might expect, first single “Floating on a Moment” is a somber affair, but not morose. Gibbons’ beautifully weary voice is draped in a loping bassline, some acoustic guitar, slowly building arrangements, and a children’s choir as she sings about accepting the fragility of existence: “I’m floating on a moment/Don’t know how long/No one knows/No one can stay.”

I wasn’t quite sure what to make of the song in its first few seconds, but it grows more beautiful with each passing moment. And it’s definitely got me excited to hear the rest of Lives Outgrown, which will be released by Domino Record Co. on May 17, 2024; preorder here.

Gibbons will also embark on a short European tour through May and June to support the album.

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