Massive Attack - Blue Lines

2010-01-11 | |

In Bristol, 1991, a movement began. It wasn't until later it was given its official name, but it started with a group of layabouts who took two styles of music and fused them effortlessly in what is now known as trip-hop, an underappreciated genre in this day and age. That band was Massive Attack, and they started the ball rolling with their album Blue Lines.

Listening to Blue Lines, you really pick up a sense of where a lot of the bands who followed took their basis from. It's definitely the granddaddy of all trip-hop albums. If proto-punk was what eventually gave us the Sex Pistols, then Blue Lines is the stepping stone which gave us this wonderful genre.

Blue Lines fuses the rhymes of hip-hop with downtempo rhythms which just soothe the soul, and at the same time meld together in a way that prompts thought and outgrowth in the listener. It's hard to describe, because it's not really the definitive article. It's not trip-hop as sold by Portishead, or Sneaker Pimps circa Becoming X; it's like the missing link between the moody early 90s stuff, and the more wordy noughties era. In effect, it's the fork in the road where a trip hop artist can say "I want to be like Shara Nelson" or "I want to rhyme like Daddy G".

Personally, I've been wowed by this album. It's a rare, unmistakable feeling when you delve back to the roots of a genre and find everything suddenly falls into place; when you suddenly understand how one anomaly fits into the puzzle, because of how it was and not how it is. From slow, bouncing songs like Lately, to fully-orchestrated dance wonders like Unfinished Sympathy, via the downtempo hip-hop of Blue Lines, this album is a melting pot, and I love it for that. None of it jars; none of it suddenly breaks the effortless flow of the rhyme and rhythm. It's just good. Simple as.

Overall: 10/10 - It's effortless; it's simple; it's a few guys from Bristol trying their hand at hip-hop with a more moody, poetic outlook, and what we got in return was an album that would define a genre. Simply amazing.

Top Track: Unfinished Sympathy (honourable mention to Blue Lines)

blog comments powered by Disqus