A Song of its Time

A Song of its Time
Noel Harrison

Two of Portishead guest DJd on All Songs Considered a few weeks back. They brought in a varied combination of music that was important to them as a band and were mocked playfully for including Noel Harrison’s cover of Michel LeGrand’s ‘Windmills of Your Mind’ in the list. They defended this track by describing it as a sonic experience that displays orchestration techniques and studio production that is no longer available to us today and is ‘perfectly of it’s time’. This has stuck in my mind because I feel that we often lack language to describe all of the hidden forces of what makes music ‘great’ to us and they kind of hit on something there. It is a bit of a paradox: in order for a song to become timeless it needs to be of it’s time. It is this perception that enables us to connect with the some old songs – ignoring the shifted tides in production, language and themes while we attack other songs for these same failings. If a song is not speaking of it’s own time with honesty and energy it will never speak to another time. OK now I’m confused and I must stop.

‘Third’ is worth listening to as well.


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