Living with…Massive Attack…for a week

Its the album cover of Blue Lines that I will have recalled over the years.

This came out in 1991 and fair to say had a prominent position on the chart shelves of Woolworths, Virgin Megastore, HMV  for a number of years as this continued to do so well over here.  And even when it stopped chart-topping I recall this always being in the special offers bin as they continued to push it out in numbers.  Its a great illustrator (pardoning the pun) of the impact of  clear distinguishable artwork.  Catches the eye and makes it stand out on those shelves with its hand up saying ‘Look at me Look at me’.  Unfortunately for Massive Attack all those years with their hand up on this album, I’d never succumbed and bought this classic album.

Which is why I’m here now choosing Britains ‘trip hop’ duo the week after I’ve had the Public Enemy experience.

A  the first track eases in, I have a slight pang of missing Public Enemy.  It becomes a little addictive spending time with them – like the rather bolshy kid in the playground who you know is a pain to be with and will get you in trouble in the end, but actually you’re enjoying the time with them ‘cos they’re fun.  Maybe a few tracks later in the week.

Part way through the second track of Blue Lines, I had a terrible sinking feeling – this sounded a lot like a Prince (henceforth known as the ‘P’ word) track – was I going to face another week of pompous drivel?  But fears allayed as the album progressed and the soothing rhythms continued to ply their trade under an array of guest singers.  How could I not love Unfinished Sympathy?  The song is sublime and I suggest anyone reading this pauses their life for 5 minutes 21 seconds and discovers this album’s finest moment.

I hope you paused – that was five minutes of our lives well spent.

As the week progresses the songs drift over you.  It is a very whole album, each song (with the exception of One Love, that second track with overtones of P***** which didn’t grow on me!) fitting the overall mood.  And yet, at the end of the week I feel largely indifferent about Massive Attack. Unfinished Sympathy is brilliant, probably my favourite discovery of the last month but I clearly haven’t latched on to the rest.

In fact, I did have a break with Public Enemy part way through the week. And that’s not something I expected to write down a few months back…

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