Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Massive Attack [extended]

  • Blue Lines [Virgin, 1991] ***
  • Protection [Virgin, 1995] A-
  • No Protection [Gyroscope, 1996] A-
  • Mezzanine [Virgin, 1998] **
  • 100th Window [Virgin, 2003] Dud
  • Splitting the Atom [Virgin, 2009] **

See Also:

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Blue Lines [Virgin, 1991]
soul ii skank ("One Love," "Be Thankful for What You've Got") ***

Protection [Virgin, 1995]
Trip hop without pain or mess, thick-textured and clean-etched, doing a solid for vocalists in need (they return Tracey Thorn's favor with interest, including an introduction to unknown-but-equal Nicolette) and stretching instrumentals into a weird comfort zone (e.g. the almost literally atmospheric "Weather Storm," which I assume was a little too unusual for the funk-lite hedonists in producer Nellee Hooper's own band). Definitive: "Karmacoma," a title that would say everything you need know about the killing pleasures of killer weed if Tricky's stoned vocal didn't say so much more. A-

Massive Attack V Mad Professor: No Protection [Gyroscope, 1996]
The most ballyhooed dub album of the current resurgence does reveal a few secrets to nonbelievers. Juicier, funnier, and more eventful than the desiccated run of Macro Dub Infection, it also sustains a convincing gravity--a sense that all these whooshings and clangings and suckings and scrapings and boomings and snatches of tune relate to each other and the rest of the physical universe. Not that they do, necessarily. But aren't you glad they care enough to fib about it? A-

Mezzanine [Virgin, 1998]
Pre-millennium unction ("Risingson," "Man Next Door"). **

100th Window [Virgin, 2003] Dud

Splitting the Atom [Virgin, 2009]
Four different ways of revisiting a trip-hop ("Bulletproof Love [Van Rivers and the Subliminal Kid Remix]," "Psyche [Flash Treatment]"). **