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need help selecting massive attack album

i noticed that massive attack appeared frequently in the top 100, i wanted to know what was their best album so i can go buy it, i know their popular songs, but i want to know what their best work is. can someone help me?

Re: need help selecting massive attack album

Current AM all-time positions:
Blue Lines - 29
Protection - 490
Mezzanine - 346

Hence, according to most critics, Blue Lines is their definitive masterpiece. But if I have to pick only one (I rather not want to, Massive Attack is my favorite band of the 90's) my vote goes to Protection.

Protection was the first MA album I heard and it blew me away from the first listening. It had the best production I had ever heard and I had no idea that a blend of soul and reggae could be this effective. And of course, the vocals are central, Tricky's raspy rap and glorious singing by Tracy Thorn, Nicolette and Horace Andy.

With Protection they continued their winning formula from Blue Lines, although when I finally got my hands on Blue Lines, it sounded a bit like a stripped down version of Protection. Blue Lines is a truly amazing record and certainly their most influental, but it does not have the same place in my heart as Protection.

Mezzanine has a lot more guitars and the soul is less apparent. This is preferred by a lot of people and IMO the beginning of the record is as good as anything they've ever done (the first three songs might be the best first three songs of all time on a CD) but then it's a bit uneven.

100th Window is not listed at AM. While not a masterpiece, it's still an underrated set of eerie songs that stretch with patient grace.

Re: need help selecting massive attack album

"Blue Lines" and "Mezzanine" are the ones to get. The former is mixture of soul, reggae and rap, very warm and happy. "Mezzanine" is a rock-electronica hybrid, much darker in tone and with a meaner sound.
"Protection" and "100th window" are basically inferior sequels, similar in style but less inspired and more generic.

Re: need help selecting massive attack album

Or you could just skip the Massive Attack until later and go straight to Tricky's "Maxinquaye." Now that is a masterpiece.

Re: need help selecting massive attack album

by the sounds of things i will need more than 1 album, but thats ok i cant wait to listen to them, thanks for the help

Is the Compilation...

worth getting, if one doesn't have any Massive Attack albums?

Re: need help selecting massive attack album

Henrik, at last your (excellent) review of "Protection"!!

Re: need help selecting massive attack album

JR, I assume you're asking other people as you know how much I like MA, but I'm answering anyway. It's highly recommended!!!

No, wait, change that to ESSENTIAL. That's what it is, unless you own all the original albums.

BTW, I have bought the SPIN alternative guide book, so I don't need to be bothering you with more ratings!

Re: need help selecting massive attack album

I just realized that hearing Sufjan Stevens' 'Michigan' after 'Illinois' is very much the same "similar but a bit stripped down" experience as I had with 'Blue Lines'.

Re: need help selecting massive attack album

I just heard "Blue Lines" for the first time, and without exaggerating, I think it sounds like one of those albums that you can pick out from the 99 cent bin with your eyes closed. I'm baffled to how anyone can say that it's better than 99% of albums on the list, because I wouldn't even put it in the top 20,000.
The samples are used so poorly that it becomes kinda hilarious. The rapping & singing sound like it's straight out of a low budget movie that's about gay clubs in the U.K. I don't want to make fans mad, and still willing to give their other albums a chance, and if I'm in any way wrong, then let me know how I can appreciate this album a bit more.

Re: need help selecting massive attack album

I don't know, I'm definitely a fan of Blue Lines (a bit less of a fan of Mezzanine) but I think you need to place it within it's context. I mean, the album was recorded in the early nineties when urban/electronic soul was pretty much a figment of the imagination (at least as far as I know it was).


you managed to snag a copy of the Alternative Guide, eh? Cool!

I know you're a MA lover- maybe as much as I'm a Madonna Lover. Well, probably not. ;) Did you like the "I Want You" collaboration?

I will check out the compilation in the future, for sure.

Re: need help selecting massive attack album

Yes, probably not.

I think 'I Want You' is OK but not the most inspired moment for any of the artists.


I love the haunting quality of that track- and M sounds great on it, to boot. I don't think it's in my Madonna Top 20, but I like. I won't be able to rate it in MA's catalog until I at least get the compilation. ;)