[6] Massive Attack, ‘Protection’

Postscript: all the dance records that get in the charts these days sound like Spagna’s ‘Call Me’. I don’t know if it’s any better in the clubs, because I’m too old and a dad.

Massive Attack redefined a small area of club music. Blue Lines was the pinnacle, and it still holds up today with ease. Its reputation grew over a few years until the expectation surrounding the Protection album was nigh on unbearable; in the end, they couldn’t take the weight. Tricky was reduced to cameos and Mushroom became estranged, some truly awful tracks got past quality control.

This single was a beauty, affecting, hypnotic, metronomic, with the newly fashionable Tracey Thorn to the fore. Junior was spellbound, only breaking free and demo-ing the new cockateel dance towards the end, so it’s a hit with the infant jury.

What happened next? Mezzanine, was a “dark”, “moody” piece beloved of the tastemakers. Yep, dull. A feature length BMW ad soundtrack. Then there was the unlistenable, po-faced tosh of 100th Window. Either excessive marijuana use has muted the muse, or 3-D without his cohorts is a bore. The new single is ok thanks to Terry Callier’s rich voice, but it’s still melodically uninteresting. It’s all been such a disappointment.

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