Portugal. The Man have released seven albums since 2006 and along the way have created some amazing music, which has earned them a cult following. The band has gone through quite a few line-up changes over the years but the group's founders, guitarist and singer John Gourley and bassist and vocalist Zach Carothers, have been mainstays for the outfit.
While they have not scored a tremendous amount of mainstream success, Portugal. The Man are gaining more and more fans with each album as they expand their unique psychedelic sound and progressive rock style.
The band’s 2009 album, The Satanic Satanist, was a breakthrough of sorts for the Alaska-born, Portland-based rockers. The effort is a seamless, fluid record with now-classic songs like “People Say,” “Everyone Is Golden,” “Mornings” and “The Sun.” Their 2011 album, In The Mountain in the Cloud, is just as solid with stand out songs including "All Your Light (Times Like These)," "So American" and the anthemic "Sleep Forever."
The band’s latest effort, Evil Friends, which was produced by Danger Mouse, broke new ground for the group. The combination of Portugal. The Man’s unique style and the producer's signature touches resulted in their most-successful record to date, spawning the radio friendly songs “Purple Yellow Red and Blue” and “Modern Jesus,” as well as fan favorites like “Evil Friends,” "Creep in a T-Shirt," “Plastic Soldiers” and “Waves."
While it was no easy task, below we have compiled our list of the 10 best Portugal. The Man songs.
"Modern Jesus"'Evil Friends' (2013)
“Modern Jesus” is on Portugal. The Man’s latest album Evil Friends. The song was the third single peeled off the Danger Mouse-produced record. It features some powerful, as well as tongue-in-cheek lyrics from frontman John Gourley including: “And when the wave approaches / Take our ashes to the ocean / Who cares if hell awaits? / We’re having drinks at heaven’s gate so.” The track features a memorable psychedelic keyboard melody and the sing-along-chorus: “Don’t pray for us / We don’t need no Modern Jesus / To roll with us / The only rule we need is never / Giving up / The only faith we have is faith in us.” The video for the song was directed by AG Rojas and features a cross section of Americans and some stunning visuals including a group of men wrestling on barbed wire and scenes shot in various churches.
"Marching With 6"'Waiter, You Vultures' (2006)
“Marching With 6” is featured on the band’s 2006 debut album Waiter: You Vultures. It shows off Portugal. The Man’s progressive early days with a lot of mind-boggling tempo changes and time signature shifts, and boasts many different riffs all crammed into the three-minute track. The frenetic and at times chaotic song highlights their prog rock influences.
"Everyone Is Golden"'The Satanic Satanist' (2009)
“Everyone is Golden” is off of the band’s fourth album The Satanic Satanist. The positive and anthemic track is one of the many standout songs on their 2009 effort, which peaked on the Billboard 200 album chart at number 81 and hit number 38 on the Top Rock Album tally.
"So American"'In the Mountain in the Cloud' (2011)
“So American” is the first track on 2011’s In the Mountain in the Cloud. The catchy song was the second single peeled off the effort, which peaked at number 42 on the Billboard 200 chart. The video was directed by Nik Zografos and shows the band hanging out and having fun at the beach during the day before performing at a house party at night. The infectious song can also be heard on a current TV commercial for NFL Shop.
"And I"'Censored Colors' (2008)
The powerful "And I" begins with a psychedelic keyboard intro before frontman John Gourley comes in with an acoustic guitar and the poignant vocals. Halfway through the track the band kicks in and drives home the heavy chord progression. It also features some beautiful strings and great guitar work. The 6/8 time signature of the song gives it a catchy swing and leaves you singing the chorus: “Take from the air / Take to the streets / And I.”
"All Your Light (Times Like These)"'In the Mountain in the Cloud' (2011)
“All Your Light (Times Like These)” is one of the stand-out tracks from In the Mountain in the Cloud and is a staple in the band’s live show, getting stretched out a bit and transforming into a super heavy jam. The Dan Brown-directed video for the song is creepy and violent and could be turned into a good film. Check it out below.
"People Say"'The Satanic Satanist' (2009)
“People Say” is the track that kicks off the band’s stellar 2009 effort The Satanic Satanist. The straight-forward rock song features some amazing lyrics including the incredible chorus: “All the soldiers say it'll be alright / We may make it through the war if we make it through the night / All the people, they say / What a lovely day, yeah, we won the war / May have lost a million men, but we've got a million more / All the people, they say.” The politically-driven song was the only single peeled off the effort and remains a fan favorite.
"Plastic Soldiers"'Evil Friends' (2013)
"Plastic Soldiers" starts out with a slow chord progression with a psychedelic keyboard melody, before speeding up and kicking in where you hear the famed producers influence on the record. The six-minute track subtly highlights the band’s progressive influences while pushing their sound further. It features some amazing lyrics including: “You can drift along / You've got the time / The rest of us will live and die / Like plastic soldiers / Only growing older.” At the end of the last track on the album, titled “Smile,” the band reprises “Plastic Soldiers” to book end the effort in a brilliant way.
"Mornings"'The Satanic Satanist' (2009)
"Mornings" is the perfect soundtrack for a Sunday morning with its beautiful string section and poignant lyrics including: “The people found the mountain / Climbed up from that hole in the ground / Through the cracks in the sky / And threatened to fall / Still I don't believe, I don't believe / And we'll be just fine / And we'll be just fine.” John Gourley shines in this song that features some beautiful guitar work and even better vocals.
"Sleep Forever"'In The Mountain in the Cloud' (2011)
“Sleep Forever” tops our list of the 10 Best Portugal. The Man songs. The epic track brings 2011’s In the Mountain In the Cloud album to a triumphant end. Over the past few years, the band ends their live show with “Sleep Forever,” which they brilliantly morph into a sing-along cover of The Beatles' “Hey Jude.”
The beautiful video for the song was directed by Michael Ragen and was shot entire in the band’s home state of Alaska. The clip is over 13-minutes long and also features the band’s song “Got It All (This Can’t Be Living Now).” It’s a nod to John Gourley’s parents who participated in the Alaskan Iditarod Trail Dog Sled Race. Watch the beautiful video below.