not everyone was clamoring for the soothing sounds of Seattle…
Today for this edition of Desert Island Thursday, I don’t know, I was feeling a little bit trippy. A little bit trip hop-py, if you will. Aside from all the great alternative rock music that came out of the 1990’s, not everyone was clamoring for the soothing sounds of Seattle. No, there was another movement taking hold of the world (maybe not so much America, but we’ll get to that later.) Trip Hop. There were several Trip Hop groups to be born out of this era, but I couldn’t think to name them now. No, they were lost to the ether, I’m afraid. The leading contenders for the Trip Hop crown only had three names: Portishead, Sneaker Pimps and Massive Attack. This is edition of Desert Island Thursday we dedicate to the latter and their monumental third album, 1998’s Mezzanine.
Massive Attack came up on the scene in 1988. Grant “DJ Daddy G” Marshall, DJ Andrew “Mush” Vowles, and Robert “3D” Del Naja were a part of the soundsystem party contingent known as The Wild Bunch, a group which was the premiere of the UK soundsystem groups to emerge from the late 1980’s. That same year, the group released the single, “Any Love”, with silky voiced falsetto, Carlton McCarthy. In 1991, Massive Attack released their first full length album, Blue Lines to massive (no pun intended) acclaim, thusly solidifying their claim to the throne.
the poser in us will almost always bring up “Teardrop” as what turned us into converts to the Trip Hop cause.
With all that being said, let us fast forward to the reason we’re all here. The reason why when we hear Massive Attack, the poser in us will almost always bring up “Teardrop” as what turned us into converts to the Trip Hop cause (not me. For me it was all about “Radiation Ruling the Nation”— okay, okay, yes, it was “Teardrop” after all, but I can’t help it. The song is so good.) More than just “Teardrop” though, because after all, “Teardrop” is just one track (Track 3 to be exact) out of a multitude of worthy tracks. There’s a reason why we’re talking about this album today. There’s a reason “Mezzanine” bears honorable mention, and sorry posers, that reason ain’t “Teardrop”. Mezzanine sounds very much like a Trip Hop greatest hits record. Every song on the record metaphorically permeates your consciousness and loosens things up in your noggin (No, drugs are not the missing link to that statement.) The music is very much a drug all by itself without the help of opiates.
Today, Mezzanine is very much a classic album and some (me) would say that this is the album that would certainly help the group garner a spot for Massive Attack in that storied hall known as the Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame. Although not rock by any means, I don’t see a Trip Hop Hall of Fame any time soon, do you?
America eventually found a place in their heart for Trip Hop
Mezzanine sounds as fresh today as it did when it was first released in 1998. Massive Attack broke conventional ties when it released this album at the time that they did. America certainly wasn’t listening, that’s for damn sure. Massive Attack never charted as well in this country as it did in Europe. As an American, I’m ashamed by that fact. It only perpetuates the notion that as Americans, we’re afraid of change and afraid of things that are different, but that was then. America eventually found a place in their heart for Trip Hop. The group finds a new audience every day. People outside of Europe are more accepting of what’s different and not of the norm (at least when it comes to music. There are still Americans in this country who feel that America is for Americans, whatever the fuck that means. Those people don’t matter.)
Seek out an underground soundsystem and become one with your fellow man.
Everyday life tends to be a bit mundane, that’s why whenever I have a chance to escape the mundane, I can’t help but gravitate towards music that goes against the grain and out of the norm. Music is the great unifier of Man, and really, it’s the only source we have at our disposal that truly makes us one. So what are you waiting for? Seek out an underground soundsystem and become one with your fellow man. If you do not already own this mind melting record, I invite you to pick it up here.