Third

  • Record Label: Mercury
  • Release Date: Apr 29, 2008
User Score
8.3

Universal acclaim- based on 171 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 14 out of 171

Review this album

  1. Your Score
    0 out of 10
    Rate this:
    • 10
    • 9
    • 8
    • 7
    • 6
    • 5
    • 4
    • 3
    • 2
    • 1
    • 0
    • 0
  1. Submit
  2. Check Spelling
  1. MitchellZ.
    May 1, 2008
    9
    Third is not as instantly gratifying as Dummy. The hyper-stylized noir paranoid fantasy is gone. Instead, Third sounds as fractured and threatening as the times it reflects, while pulling up musical references to psychedelia of the 60's. I've only listened to it twice through, and it requires a bit of attention. But the music is astoundingly mesmerizing at times. And it really Third is not as instantly gratifying as Dummy. The hyper-stylized noir paranoid fantasy is gone. Instead, Third sounds as fractured and threatening as the times it reflects, while pulling up musical references to psychedelia of the 60's. I've only listened to it twice through, and it requires a bit of attention. But the music is astoundingly mesmerizing at times. And it really sets you on edge, with the vocals subdued and other parts sounding like their being played from the back of an empty hall (to good effect). Really worth the wait! Expand
  2. AlexA.
    Apr 30, 2008
    9
    Their best and most emotional effort yet.
  3. ChrisS.
    May 22, 2008
    10
    It's their best album so far. It's no easy-listening, and it takes some time, but it's definetely worth the effort. I LOVE IT!
  4. JeremyF
    Apr 29, 2008
    7
    Some really amazing tracks ("The Rip", "We Carry On", "Machine Gun", and "Small") but the rest just kind of don't impress much. While there isn't any BAD tracks here, I would much rather go listen to Dummy ten times over.
  5. JimmyH.
    Apr 30, 2008
    8
    Has some of their best songs (The Rip, Plastic) and also their worst (nylon smile). But being the worst Portishead song is like being the slowest ferrari. A solid effort overall.
  6. Dave
    May 3, 2008
    10
    Well, I figured the reviews for this would be all over the place and sure enough they are. As much as I LOVE Dummy, I think I like this as much as that masterpiece. It took a few listens, but I am totally loving Third now. Machine Gun, We Carry On, The Rip and Silence are as good as anything Portishead has done. Yes, it is very different from "Dummy" and "Portishead", but it is no less Well, I figured the reviews for this would be all over the place and sure enough they are. As much as I LOVE Dummy, I think I like this as much as that masterpiece. It took a few listens, but I am totally loving Third now. Machine Gun, We Carry On, The Rip and Silence are as good as anything Portishead has done. Yes, it is very different from "Dummy" and "Portishead", but it is no less great. I really thing this may be not only one of the best of this year, but this decade. I was lucky enough to catch their only North American live performance at Coachella, and it was nothing short of brilliant! Collapse
  7. AlanO.
    May 8, 2008
    10
    This is a stunning album! To be frank, I am not a Portishead fan...I recognize their history and had ocasionally bumped into their brand of Trip-Hop back in the day which mostly left me dry. This new album is something different. Fans of Jane Siberry, Stina Nordenstam, David Sylvian, Talk Talk, and Mimi Goese take note. The songs are experimental in nature but infused with warm This is a stunning album! To be frank, I am not a Portishead fan...I recognize their history and had ocasionally bumped into their brand of Trip-Hop back in the day which mostly left me dry. This new album is something different. Fans of Jane Siberry, Stina Nordenstam, David Sylvian, Talk Talk, and Mimi Goese take note. The songs are experimental in nature but infused with warm electronics, etheral background shuffles, and stark, introspective lyrics. I have no idea what their traditional fans will make of this...might be a bit challenging. This is a record you have to get to know, spend time with, and ponder. Some definate reference points: Stina Nordenstam -"This is Stina Nordenstam," "When I was a Boy," - Jane Siberry," and "Soak" - by Mimi Goese. Candidate for album of the year hands down... Expand
  8. marcg
    Apr 29, 2008
    7
    Good but not great.
  9. JoolsH.
    Apr 30, 2008
    10
    The Masterpiece of the century.
  10. DMoney
    May 6, 2008
    7
    Fitfully brilliant music, iffy vocals. Not much hip-hop, no sex to speak of. A job well done by Mr. Barrow and Mr. Utley. Beth Gibbons, get over yourself.
  11. Mar 11, 2011
    10
    I HAVE BEEN LISTENING TO THIS ALBUM FOR MANY YEARS NOW AND I HAVEN'T BEEN ABLE TO PUT IT DOWN. SURE IT HAS MANY NEW SOUNDS BUT IT PUSHES PORTISHEAD INTO A WHOLE NEW WORLD OF GREAT MUSIC. PORTISHEAD A SEXY ROCK BAND? YOU BE THE JUDGE! AFTER MANY YEARS OF WAITING FOR ANYTHING NEW THEY TRULY DELIVER THE GOODS. BE SURE TO GIVE IT MORE THAN JUST ONE LISTEN BECAUSE LIKE ANYTHING GREAT IT GROWSI HAVE BEEN LISTENING TO THIS ALBUM FOR MANY YEARS NOW AND I HAVEN'T BEEN ABLE TO PUT IT DOWN. SURE IT HAS MANY NEW SOUNDS BUT IT PUSHES PORTISHEAD INTO A WHOLE NEW WORLD OF GREAT MUSIC. PORTISHEAD A SEXY ROCK BAND? YOU BE THE JUDGE! AFTER MANY YEARS OF WAITING FOR ANYTHING NEW THEY TRULY DELIVER THE GOODS. BE SURE TO GIVE IT MORE THAN JUST ONE LISTEN BECAUSE LIKE ANYTHING GREAT IT GROWS ON YOU AND NEVER LET'S GO. Expand
  12. michaele.
    May 3, 2008
    10
    Not one of these lame combacks, but a brilliant return to form and class with disturbingly fresh sounds. Beth Gibbons' voice has found new territories to move along!
  13. DecepticonPom
    May 5, 2008
    9
    A satisfying challenge of a listen. Too early to compare to the first two - ask me again in a year.
  14. giannym.
    Apr 30, 2008
    10
    Brilliant and great!
  15. PeterX.
    May 22, 2008
    10
    Classical rock enviroment, dense & brutal. Kraftwerk/Pan Sonic meets the Pink Floyd. Albert Ayler laughs at the corner.
  16. SimonV.
    May 2, 2008
    10
    Superb Album. Elements of radiohead/björk in places. Nice to see them still being 'Portishead' but moving things on and not riding the orchestra/strings coat tails of the past. A perfect soundtrack to a movie. Still got the haunting thing down to a tee...
  17. JesseShort
    May 4, 2008
    10
    Just keep listening to it. It's not always easy, but what is worthwhile never is.
  18. MarkR.
    May 8, 2008
    10
    exceptional, truly exceptional, i would implore anyone who cannot immediately get to grips with it to persevere. it is dark and unsettling in a way that will annoy the coffee table fans of their previous work, which is also a bonus : ). a pretty good litmus test for those that have real taste in music and those that just think they do ; )
  19. leiris
    Jul 28, 2008
    9
    Excellent - as good as anything they've released.
  20. DanielS
    Oct 19, 2008
    10
    The first time I listened to Third I was superstoned and cleaning my house. As I was upstairs and the music was downstairs, it mostly sounded just like noise. When I went downstairs for a better quality sound, the Album was already on track 7, Deep Water. This song got me intrigued in the album. Machine gun came on, a whack beat, but I tried to be openminded and did end up loving it by The first time I listened to Third I was superstoned and cleaning my house. As I was upstairs and the music was downstairs, it mostly sounded just like noise. When I went downstairs for a better quality sound, the Album was already on track 7, Deep Water. This song got me intrigued in the album. Machine gun came on, a whack beat, but I tried to be openminded and did end up loving it by the end of the song. Small came next and I knew I had a gem. So dark it fries your mind and sends a shiver down your neck. I listened to the rest of the album and I haven't stopped listening to this album on a daily basis for the last two months. I must admit, this shit makes me quiver with delight. At first I used be comatozed whenever I got to listen to it on my headphones, but today I'm singing and dancing to it. Honestly, this album makes you dance like you've never danced before. Best album since Amon Tobin's Foley Room and Cannibal Ox The Cold Vein. Expand
  21. SamB
    Apr 29, 2008
    10
    much 'cooler' than their others. melodrama is a little more weighted in inventive melodies and recordings
  22. Will
    Apr 29, 2008
    10
    Portishead's 'second debut' certainly isn't for the faint hearted. At first it proves to be a difficult listen but over time that initial fear it hits you with turns into excitement. They've ditched the 'trip hop' for more upbeat songs, but with Beth's voice and Utley's magnificent guitar work this is still unmistakenly the Portished we all Portishead's 'second debut' certainly isn't for the faint hearted. At first it proves to be a difficult listen but over time that initial fear it hits you with turns into excitement. They've ditched the 'trip hop' for more upbeat songs, but with Beth's voice and Utley's magnificent guitar work this is still unmistakenly the Portished we all know and love! Album of the year so far. Expand
  23. AlexZ
    Apr 29, 2008
    10
    This is their best effort yet. They're not coming up with a new sound but they have taken their trip hop sound to a level of perfection.
  24. Sean
    Apr 30, 2008
    10
    Even though I agree with their score, I absolutely do not agree with what The Onion actually says in their review. This album is NOTHING like coffee-shop music. What kind of coffee shops does that critic frequent? This is highly experimental, challenging electronica right here.
  25. AJP
    May 1, 2008
    10
    Stunning beyond what words can only describe. A triumphant comeback exceeding previous albums by 1000-fold.
  26. aw
    May 30, 2008
    9
    Amazing. After repeated listens, it grows on you like a weed.
  27. DwongK.
    May 4, 2008
    9
    Easily one of the best albums of the year.
  28. Jason
    May 4, 2008
    10
    ALBUM OF THE YEAR!!!!
  29. DommiR.
    May 6, 2008
    10
    Orgasmic.
  30. AlbertoU.
    May 7, 2008
    10
    Why bothering about people who find this album difficult? This is the best album of the year, none other.
  31. JodieL.
    May 8, 2008
    8
    This so far is one of the albums of the year. Incredibly interesting listen, it takes balls to move away from a formula that works, and that is why there are great bands that are trend-setters and on the other hand pretenders that just follow the norm like sheep. These guys are by no means sheep. Flavours of Kraftwerk, Suicide,Silver Apples etc. Not as loungey as their first two, a lot This so far is one of the albums of the year. Incredibly interesting listen, it takes balls to move away from a formula that works, and that is why there are great bands that are trend-setters and on the other hand pretenders that just follow the norm like sheep. These guys are by no means sheep. Flavours of Kraftwerk, Suicide,Silver Apples etc. Not as loungey as their first two, a lot darker and more disturbing, not so much vinyl scratching this is more beats orientated. Expand
  32. ArtoS.
    Jul 29, 2008
    10
    The most haunting albums of Portishead...brilliantly complicated and emotional...the combination alt-rock+electronic music has never sounded so fresh like "Third" does...
  33. AniruddhaB
    Apr 13, 2009
    10
    The best thing by portishead... and one of my favourite albums of all time.
  34. Ray
    Apr 29, 2008
    10
    Wow. Anyone labelling this album as "difficult" or "unmelodic" is hardly worth paying attention to. Such a fine atmospheric delight.
  35. DiegoL.
    Apr 29, 2008
    10
    What's wrong with Blender?? Third is one of the best albums of 2008. It's obscurely extraordinary.
  36. mattv
    Apr 29, 2008
    10
    Simply amazing, stunning work. I've had it since this afternoon and listened to it 4 times. I haven't had this kind of first day experience with an album in a very long time. It's breathtakingly good. And the people at Blender need a brain exam.
  37. Patches.
    May 10, 2008
    10
    Brilliant!
  38. JoshuaG.
    May 1, 2008
    10
    A wartime masterpiece. This is the sound of now.
  39. GuyH
    May 12, 2008
    9
    This album is really on the pulse and that is the greatest compliment you can pay a band who haven't released any new material in over 10 years. 'We Carry On' is the surging adrenaline and panicking heartbeat at the centre of this very scary ride. It's the sound of our collective urban nightmare! 'The Rip' is an instant classic - just beautiful and yes, a bit This album is really on the pulse and that is the greatest compliment you can pay a band who haven't released any new material in over 10 years. 'We Carry On' is the surging adrenaline and panicking heartbeat at the centre of this very scary ride. It's the sound of our collective urban nightmare! 'The Rip' is an instant classic - just beautiful and yes, a bit sad. 'Machine Gun' and 'Plastic' wear obvious Aphex Twin and Burial influences but are still uniquely different to anything else out there. Comeback of the year Expand
  40. Zach
    May 16, 2008
    10
    It's acoustic despair, but brilliant.
  41. JackT.
    May 7, 2008
    10
    It's Gorgeous! It takes a few spins to correctly wrap your brain around it's thorny sides. Gone, would be the shiney production. and comfortableness. Anyone familiar with the last album knows that hints of this direction were ever present in songs like "half-day Closing". If Portishead were to come out of a ten year coma sounding exactly like Portishead in 94 and 97, we'd It's Gorgeous! It takes a few spins to correctly wrap your brain around it's thorny sides. Gone, would be the shiney production. and comfortableness. Anyone familiar with the last album knows that hints of this direction were ever present in songs like "half-day Closing". If Portishead were to come out of a ten year coma sounding exactly like Portishead in 94 and 97, we'd quickly write them off as just wanting cash in on what made them famous: Authoring a sound and being THE face of "trip hop". But, come on... This 2008. We live in fear induced enviroment, post 911 and currently in a war... this is reflected in the anxiety ridden landscape of Third. Beth Gibbons voice is the only tangible sign of comfort leading us through the darkest hallways of reality. Highlights Like "The Rip","Hunter" and "deep water" underscore what still remains present... Portisheads cinematic niche. 10! Expand
  42. DanC.
    Jun 5, 2008
    9
    Really great, has improved with repeat listenings immensely..thoroughly recommended.
  43. ChrisC.
    Jan 18, 2009
    9
    Portishead proves once again that they are true artists. They are still a haunting band of depth that goes against the grain without sounding pretentious.
  44. JoseY.
    May 28, 2009
    10
    What a masterpiece! So innovative, noisy, powerful, delicate, beautiful... Try to make a beautiful melody just kicking empty plastic bottles and throwing cans to the air. If you think that's impossible, well, that's easier than what Barrow did on this album. And what can we say about Gibbons' voice? Her singing is enormously sweet and complex over painfully dark lyrics. And What a masterpiece! So innovative, noisy, powerful, delicate, beautiful... Try to make a beautiful melody just kicking empty plastic bottles and throwing cans to the air. If you think that's impossible, well, that's easier than what Barrow did on this album. And what can we say about Gibbons' voice? Her singing is enormously sweet and complex over painfully dark lyrics. And who said it's an album to admire, not to listen to? I am listening this album at least once a week since it was released and never get tired of it. One of my top five albums (along to Franz Ferdinand, The downward spiral, OK computer and Trans-Europe Express). Now, if you excuse me, I have to leave you. I have to listen to Machine Gun. Again. Expand
  45. TimC
    May 29, 2009
    9
    Simply superb.
  46. RicardoC
    Jul 25, 2009
    9
    I can't really understand how Blender found this album difficult, the album is amazing. If you listen to it carefully and loud, its even better. One of my favourite.
  47. Clif
    Nov 3, 2008
    9
    People who rate it under 8 are totally insane! This album is pure genius, and not noise, as we can sometimes read (Brian, for example). It's simply different sounds, repetitive sometimes, but this to penetrate in your soul. Machine Gun, The Rip, Hunter & Silence are simply pure genius! And don't forget that real artists evolue, and Portishead just couldn't do another People who rate it under 8 are totally insane! This album is pure genius, and not noise, as we can sometimes read (Brian, for example). It's simply different sounds, repetitive sometimes, but this to penetrate in your soul. Machine Gun, The Rip, Hunter & Silence are simply pure genius! And don't forget that real artists evolue, and Portishead just couldn't do another strictly Trip-Hop album, it would be great, yeah, but so repetitive (because their previous and first 2 albums were pure Trip-Hop). We can't deny that Portishead is one of the best bands with Radiohead. Like Grace Jones says, people who only care and rate Pussycat Doll's (or things like that pile of shit) better than Portishead are Corporate Cannibals! Expand
  48. MattW.
    Dec 22, 2008
    9
    Hands down, the best thing Portishead have ever done.
  49. dodomo
    Apr 28, 2008
    10
    Re-invented and perfect!
  50. BrandonS.
    Apr 29, 2008
    8
    Self titled sucked. This one's fresh.
  51. FernandoS.
    May 16, 2008
    8
    No esta al nivel de sus dos primeras obras, pero Portishead logra reinventarse , entregado un disco sorprendente, y muy por encima de la media.
  52. TaffyP.
    May 18, 2008
    10
    Smply outstanding, easily one of,if not, the best comeback albums of all time.
  53. Roberto
    Jun 13, 2008
    10
    A very challenging album, but it is Portishead at its best: dark, sometimes claustrophobic and oppressive; but at the same time the sound has an organic quality that makes it unique. A modern masterpiece.
  54. JamesB.
    Jul 22, 2008
    9
    Outstanding comeback album by Portishead! It's beautifully and darkly sublime. I'm not the least put off by the changes in their "trip hop" sound. And Beth's vocals are, of course, amazing and indelibly haunting. "Third" is easily one of the best albums in 2008!
  55. Joe
    May 24, 2009
    9
    A nice album. I have never heard any of their earlier work but this is a very nice album.
  56. PaulR
    Nov 27, 2008
    10
    Going from the reviews on here, it's obviously an album you either get or you don't. But if you do get it, the rewards are there to be reaped. This is easily their best album and all the more astonishing is the fact it's been released after a hiatus of 11 years. This and Seventh Tree by Goldfrapp are my two favourite albums of 2008.
  57. Aug 30, 2010
    10
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. If darkness can find an image perfectly involved into kindness, it´s in Third, a majestic point of view of how music can speak for itself. And we can´t say it doesn´t exist when Portishead must firmly make us hear it does. Expand
  58. Mar 27, 2011
    9
    When I first listened to this album, I really did not like it at all. It was loud and abrasive, and left me feeling quite unsettled. It's strange, but that's exactly what I love about this album now. That very first track pulls you in slowly, builds and builds and then socks you square in the guts. And that sets the tone for the album perfectly. It's full of big, bold sounds, hauntingWhen I first listened to this album, I really did not like it at all. It was loud and abrasive, and left me feeling quite unsettled. It's strange, but that's exactly what I love about this album now. That very first track pulls you in slowly, builds and builds and then socks you square in the guts. And that sets the tone for the album perfectly. It's full of big, bold sounds, haunting vocals, and fair few killer punches. 'The Rip' is gentle and full of emotion, 'Nylon Smile' brims with otherworldly mystery and 'Machine Gun' is exactly as it appears: loud, brutal and all-encompassing. This definitely is an album to listen to over and over to appreciate it's complexities, and one that should only be listened to in its entirety. Brilliant right to the end.â Expand
  59. Oct 2, 2011
    8
    This is not my favorite album (though it probably is my favorite portishead record), but for some reason I always want to hear it again, and I keep coming back to it. It is so jarring and abrasive at times, but it is also so original and forward thinking, that my initial reaction is always forgotten and I end up giving it another spin.
  60. Mar 21, 2012
    9
    Great third record from English experimenters. Not the most accessibly record you'll ever hear but it has loads of really good ideas that come together to make some really good tracks. The single, Machine Gun is my favourite track on it. This one sounds pretty much like it's title, and it's got a Terminator type theme climax to it. You have to listen to this to get what I'm talking aboutGreat third record from English experimenters. Not the most accessibly record you'll ever hear but it has loads of really good ideas that come together to make some really good tracks. The single, Machine Gun is my favourite track on it. This one sounds pretty much like it's title, and it's got a Terminator type theme climax to it. You have to listen to this to get what I'm talking about really. It's Portisheads' Kid A record. Unfortunately it's 4 years old now and who knows when we will get a follow up. Expand
  61. Apr 24, 2015
    7
    A fairly good but challenging album. This is definitely Portishead's most musically complex album, and the overall feeling is somewhat mysterious and ominous. I like it and think it's quite strong throughout, but I hesitate to rate it higher because there aren't really any standout tracks, other than perhaps We Carry On. For the most part, Third is about texture and atmosphere, so it'sA fairly good but challenging album. This is definitely Portishead's most musically complex album, and the overall feeling is somewhat mysterious and ominous. I like it and think it's quite strong throughout, but I hesitate to rate it higher because there aren't really any standout tracks, other than perhaps We Carry On. For the most part, Third is about texture and atmosphere, so it's great background music for studying, but not necessarily for normal listening. Expand
  62. Oct 7, 2015
    8
    Overwhelming, completely. Melancholic and out of control. Like broken long ago and pasted randomly with expired glue. No doubt It's a new yet old Portishead right there.
Metascore
85

Universal acclaim - based on 38 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 35 out of 38
  2. Negative: 1 out of 38
  1. 30
    It's groove-deprived and difficult, and not in a particularly inventive way. [May 2008, p.78]
  2. Both ancient and futuristic, a mildewed signal from a more advanced culture that failed to survive the ice age, Third doesn’t make you pay attention to its desolate contours, but rather stare out of the window, creeping panic causing your mind to dart in a million dark directions at once.
  3. Long awaited comeback from Bristol trip-hop outfit proves worth the wait.