My Record Collection 146

Massive Attack are a Bristol band who pioneered the trip-hop style of music; deep bass and drums and mostly gentle lyrics.  My daughter Laura bought me Protection, their second album and I bought a few others later.  Their first was 1991’s Blue Lines; an instant hit for them with big singles too.   They seem to have captured the zeitgeist of the Dance generation of the 90’s.  A pretty cool album with guest vocalists as became the norm for them.  Best tracks – ‘Safe From Harm’ and ‘Unfinished Sympathy’.  I have never really loved the record though; hard to say why as it is pretty good really.  The follow-up was, for me, THE record by this group – Protection. (1994).    But how much this is down to the superb vocals on 2 tracks by Tracey Thorne (see T) of Everything But The Girl (see E) I am not sure.  In my mind her two tracks are the highlights of the album, especially opener and title track ‘Protection’, but also ‘Better Things’; incidentally Tracey’s involvement coincided with EBTGs superb trip hop album Walking Wounded.  Other highlights include the dub heavy ‘Karmacoma’ and final track – a live ‘Light My Fire’ – the Doors (see D) classic from almost thirty years earlier.  Four years later (slow workers, these guys – the Beatles made 10 albums in 8 years, 2 for Massive) came their third and most successful and soulful record Mezzanine,  a much gentler sound especially on the vocals but great drum and base sounds throughout.  Some excellent tracks again – ‘Angel’, ‘Risingson’ and ‘Inertia Creeps’ and a very accomplished album – but which, for me at least, never really had the impact of Protection.  They have made 2 more albums in the 2010s – and then nothing, except, as seems the fashion remix albums by various DJs. Oh well.  I recently bought a soundtrack album they made to an underground film ‘Danny The Dog’ (2004).  Not sure what to make of this record; at times it seems little more than un-syncopated noise.  Maybe I just haven’t listened enough times but I find I don’t really like this record much at all.  I recently saw the band live at a very rare concert at the O2.  I barely recognised anything and the sound was very very loud, so not sure which direction they are veering off into – if at all.  Another fave 90s band of the same genre Portishead (see P) have been just as elusive and unproductive, barely making any records at all.  Maybe this is the new new; make a couple of huge albums then retire and luxuriate in your millions….hahaha.  I also have a greatest hits Collected (2006) which is great, but the few tracks not on the albums I already have are not that fantastic; in fact they seem quite mundane.  But… daughter also bought me a sort-of remix album of Protection – No ProtectionMad professor vs Massive Attack, where the originals are deconstructed and re-recorded.  This seems to be the done thing nowadays – endless re-mixes by this DJ or that DJ.  And the fans still buy them – oh well.  But the album itself is really okay….familiar but not quite, a bit zany in places, but I quite like it. 

Collected - The Best Of Massive Attack : Greatest Hits