Roads by Portishead Lyrics Meaning – Delving into the Depths of Loss and Isolation


You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for Portishead's Roads at Lyrics.org.
Article Contents:
  1. Music Video
  2. Lyrics
  3. Song Meaning

Lyrics

Oh, can’t anybody see
We’ve got a war to fight
Never found our way
Regardless of what they say
How can it feel, this wrong
From this moment
How can it feel, this wrong

Storm, in the morning light
I feel, no more can I say
Frozen to myself
I got nobody on my side
And surely that ain’t right

And surely that ain’t right

Oh, can’t anybody see
We’ve got a war to fight
Never found our way
Regardless of what they say
How can it feel, this wrong
From this moment
How can it feel, this wrong

How can it feel, this wrong
From this moment
How can it feel, this wrong

Oh, can’t anybody see
We’ve got a war to fight
Never found our way
Regardless of what they say
How can it feel, this wrong
From this moment
How can it feel, this wrong

Full Lyrics

In the frosty light of Portishead’s ‘Dummy’ album, ‘Roads’ emerges as a haunting ballad carved out of the shadows, with lyrics that explore the intricate terrains of the human soul stripped bare. The track encases listeners in an aural cocoon, spun with the webs of melancholy and introspection. The British trip-hop ensemble, led by the inimitable Beth Gibbons, remains as masterful storytellers of the psyche’s darker corridors, drawing us into a world where every note is a lingering whisper, every lyric a soft cry against the void.

Delicate and soul-piercing, ‘Roads’ is one of those timeless pieces where its potent melancholia trickles well beyond the barriers of genre. The song is less a linear narrative and more a canvas of emotion, prompting a deep dive into the essence of feeling ‘this wrong.’ With throbbing beats and ethereal melodies, Portishead captures the quintessence of an internal struggle that resonates through the years, cementing ‘Roads’ as an anthem of haunting beauty.

A Wartime of the Soul: Unpacking the Struggle

The utterance, ‘We’ve got a war to fight,’ in ‘Roads’ sets the stage for a conflict that is far more profound than any physical battle; it is a war within the self. A perpetual combat against the invisible forces that skew and distort personal navigation through life. Gibbons doesn’t offer us any specific enemy or cause, but rather evokes a general sense of conflict that is universal and, sadly, often perennial. It’s an internal siege where no peace treaty seems in sight and where the battleground is eternally shrouded in fog.

The path they’ve ‘never found’ speaks to a journey marked by constant detours, one that’s devoid of a clear destination. This ambiguity mirrors the real human experience, where certainty is ephemeral and journeys are seldom straight. In the light of this interpretation, ‘Roads’ becomes an ode to every soul that wanders in search of itself, finding solace only in the acknowledgment of their own disorientation.

Isolation’s Echo: The Loneliness We Face Together

Portishead’s refrain, ‘I got nobody on my side,’ is a stark admission of isolation that echoes throughout the verses of ‘Roads.’ But it’s the collective ‘we’ at the start of the song that binds this solitude to a communal human experience. Even amid a personal plight, the shared sensation of loneliness, of combating unseen adversaries with no ally at one’s flank, is solace in itself. It resonates with each person as a reminder that even in our silent battles, we are not alone.

In ‘Roads,’ we find ourselves frozen, paralyzed by our own insecurities and failings. The light of dawn brings no warmth, but a storm – an inner turmoil that fails to subside with the sun’s ascent. Gibbons’ vocals seem to beckon from a place of stoic acceptance, languid and reflective, not in search of rescue but a harmonic coexistence with solitude.

The Frozen Self: Analyzing Personal Standstill

The term ‘frozen to myself’ transcends the mere sensation of cold detachment; it speaks to a paralysis of spirit, a point in one’s life journey where motion ceases, and the chill of stagnation sets in. This musical sculpture carved from despair captures that arresting moment of self-recognition, a confrontation with the parts of oneself that remain immovable, cold, and distant from the passionate dance of life.

The arrangement of ‘Roads’ mirrors this stasis, with its slow, deliberate bass serving as the chain that binds one to the spot. And in the sparse yet swelling orchestration, there is a cry for movement – a cry swallowed by the consuming inertia. The lyrics pull listeners into a reflective imprisonment where the prospect of freedom is as remote as it is desired.

The Hidden Meaning: Seeking Understanding Beyond the Lyrics

Is ‘Roads’ a coated layer of textured lyrics or do they veil an unspoken realization? The ‘war to fight’ and the ‘storm in the morning light’ allude to deeper themes of addiction, depression, and existential dread. Each listener’s interpretation may differ, but the heart of ‘Roads’ lies not in its poetic obscurity, but in the evocative emotionality that ties these themes together, making the song viscerally identifiable to so many.

The hidden meaning doesn’t unfold itself easily. It requires an introspective ear, one tuned to the frequency of the soul’s quieter confessions. Perhaps Beth Gibbons doesn’t seek to offer clarity or answers but instead looks to open a space for contemplation, an emotional haven where each of us can find our own meaning in the visages of her words.

Lingering Lines:

1st long paragraph of content

Roads by Portishead

Provides Scarce Calm in a Sea of Emotional Turbulence

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