Blue Lines – Massive Attack

Released April 8, 1991 this debut album took the influence of American hip-hop but married it with an underground British feel. Even though it only reached #13 on the UK Albums Chart and never charted in the U.S. it was an underground club and college radio station hit. It’s widely considered one of the greatest and most influential albums of all time.

Jason: You are a fan of Massive Attack, were you familiar with this album?

Brad: Yes, but I don’t think I heard this album until about 95. I’ve listened to their other albums much more. This album is responsible for introducing the world to Tricky who is one of my favorite artists. His album Maxinquaye is one of my all time favorite albums.

Jason: Is Tricky involved with Massive Attack or did they just lead you down that path?

Brad: He’s the rapper on three of the songs and billed as Tricky Kid. “Daydreaming” is one of my favorites.

Jason: I love “Be Thankful For What You’ve Got” a lot. It’s so smooth. But I HATE “One Love”, it makes we want to throw my phone out the window.

Brad: Really!?

Jason: I am not sure this album holds up well. It’s very ’90s at some points.

Brad: WHAT?!?!?!

Jason: I love the raps but the female singing is the epitome of ’90s vocalization. You have to really put yourself back into that style of singing but the raps are timeless.

Brad: That’s true. Her vocals do have a ’90s vibe but this is the first trip hop album.

Jason: The first ever?

Brad: Yeah, it was released in 1991 but the music press didn’t start using that label, trip hop, until about 1994.

Jason: That’s pretty cool. So they really did create and define and entire genre of music.

Brad: Exactly.

Jason: The first time I was really familiar with Massive Attack was the video where the fetus is singing. I think that song, “Teardrop”, is the one Massive Attack song most people know.

Brad: “Teardrop” is an iconic song and video but that came later in the 90s. My favorite song from this album is “Hymn of the Big Wheel”. Neneh Cherry sings back up. I just found out that Blue Lines was mostly recorded at Neneh’s house which blew my mind. I can’t believe I didn’t know that.

Jason: Do you think they all hung in a buffalo stance when they recorded it?

Brad: […]

Jason: Okay. Why do you think this album was so revolutionary?

Brad: It combined samples, hip hop, beats, and vocals in a way that hadn’t been done before. It seemed to inspire so many artists We take that sound for granted now.

Jason: That’s a good point.  This is a good album to have on while you are making sweet love to your woman on a shag carpet by the fire with a glass of Courvoisier #theladiesman

Brad: Oh jeez.

Jason: It is a sensual sound though.

Brad: I agree. There is something really sexy about their sound. 

Jason: When I first listened to this album I wasn’t sure about it but the more it’s on I think it’s really great. It makes me kind of bop and sway in my chair and now I want to listen to their entire catalog.

Brad: What grade would you give it?

Jason: I’m between an A- and B+. I think I’ll go with a B+ because of how influential and new it was when it came out but it does have a bit of a 90s vibe.

Brad: I am giving it an A- and I’m adding it to my vinyl wish list.

Jason: And I’ll add Courvoisier to mine.

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  1. Pingback: 100 Albums Bucket List | Jason S Steele

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