in brief : but she's not dead! nor, apparently, is portishead ...
"requiem for anna," from a french-released gainsbourg tribute, represents the first new material from portishead in nearly nine years.
so, it's a cover version. one might then think that there are constrictions, there are v. few choices that can be made. oh, sure there is the artistic act of interpretation, but we can learn v. little from this about what the band, should they proceed forward, will sound like in the two-thousand-zero-zeros. certainement pas!
first, there's the song choice. the band digs deep into the gainsbourg oeuvre, somehow finding the only song ever penned in which anna karina could possibly contemplate dying an old spinster, nobody loving her--hard to believe, but true. the "requiem" in the title, added by the band, brings to mind several things : a hello to anna karina, wherever she is; a nod to gainsbourg's "requiem pour un con," the drum pattern utilized here; but most of all a goodbye-to-all-that to portishead's old sound.
cf. "requiem for anna" w/ the anna karina original. the drum pattern, as i said, is from "requiem pour un con," but it could just as easily be from portishead's own "mysterons." the roiling guitars could be from "melody"--or "glory box." "requiem for anna," then, is an ideal crossroads, honoring gainsbourg while effectively conjuring up the band's old trademarks. it leaves the listener wondering what's next, or if there will be a next. after all, my bloody valentine's last release was also a cover, the bond theme "we have all the time in the world," a title more telling that we all thought at the time. hopefully, portishead don't take their own title literally : it'd be a sad state of affairs if the bell really was tolling for them.