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Old 04-11-2013, 08:38 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Massive Attack - Mezzanine(A staple album and genre reviewed by a trip hop newb)

So first thing is first, since I like talking out my ass so much, I have decided that once a month I'll take a genre I have never listened to and listen to a core album in that genre and review it.
Chances are all of these will come out terrible since most of the time I will know close to nothing about what I am listening to. but I think that is more so the point. So people and artists that make or like the genre of music of any album I review can see what it sounds like to an outsider listening in.


Last night I wanted to try another new genre out. Under my radar, Trip Hop. Since the only artist I had ever heard of that was considered Trip Hop was Portishead, I listened to two of their albums, Dummy and self-titled. Under recommendation I was told I should check out Massive Attack's Mezzanine.

Trip Hop was a lot more calmer than I expected. It is somewhat relaxed, which pleased me to an extent. It is certainly one of the more chill genres I have heard under the general electronic area of music. The sounds that Massive Attack and Portishead actually managed to weave surprised me greatly. I came in listening with a some what closed mind, since electronic music isn't usually my thing.

My favorite track on Mezzanine had to be Group Four, I don't usually like long songs in general, but Group Four managed to grab my attention and keep it for all eight minutes and some odd seconds. I thought the opening to the album however was weak, Angel just didn't jump out at me like an opening track should. I don't know if it was just too relaxed for me or what, but it hurt my head to listen to it. I felt like it should have been swapped with Inertia Creeps. I truly feel that would have been a stronger opening. The last two songs were by far the best closing they could have chosen Group Four having already been addressed. (Exchange) being the last song on the album. It was very mellow, and I especially enjoyed the ambient sound to it.

All in all as a first time explorer of this small little speck of the Trip Hop genre, I give Mezzanine a 6.5/10. I would listen to it again if I was in the mood for relaxed electronic music, but I don't quite think it would be something I would reach for in a record collection.
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Old 04-11-2013, 10:42 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Wow. I'm kind of shocked by this review I have to say. Mezzanine is easily one of my favorite albums of the 90s. I'm also a little surprised to hear "Angel" described as mellow. Yes, it's slow paced but I find it quite menacing and threatening sounding and once the guitar kicks in it becomes possibly the heaviest track on the album.
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Old 04-11-2013, 12:31 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by porkchop View Post

Trip Hop was a lot more calmer than I expected. It is somewhat relaxed, which pleased me to an extent. It is certainly one of the more chill genres I have heard under the general electronic area of music. The sounds that Massive Attack and Portishead actually managed to weave surprised me greatly. I came in listening with a some what closed mind, since electronic music isn't usually my thing.
The moniker of trip hop really comes from the fact that, for the most part, it is grounded in a slower tempo version of a basic hip hop beat, the classic "boom bap" that we've all come to love/hate. That beat when slowed down and paired with a dark, ethereal soundscape tends to produce an almost hypnotic effect, hence trip hop.

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I thought the opening to the album however was weak, Angel just didn't jump out at me like an opening track should. I don't know if it was just too relaxed for me or what, but it hurt my head to listen to it. I felt like it should have been swapped with Inertia Creeps. I truly feel that would have been a stronger opening.
What would Abbey Road be with out the ominous bassline of Come Together opening the album? What would Are You Experienced be without the iconic opening guitar riff of Purple Haze? Mezzanine has long been established as a quintessential album of the trip hop genre and without the droning bassline of Angel kicking things off it just wouldn't be the same. Blasphemy.

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All in all as a first time explorer of this small little speck of the Trip Hop genre, I give Mezzanine a 6.5/10. I would listen to it again if I was in the mood for relaxed electronic music, but I don't quite think it would be something I would reach for in a record collection.
It's an album that grows on you, and still to this day it's very much an album for a particular mood. It's definitely what I would consider a late-night album, but the fact that you're expanding your horizons and listening to music you wouldn't otherwise gravitate toward is a positive thing.
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Old 04-11-2013, 12:54 PM   #4 (permalink)
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It's an album that grows on you, and still to this day it's very much an album for a particular mood. It's definitely what I would consider a late-night album, but the fact that you're expanding your horizons and listening to music you wouldn't otherwise gravitate toward is a positive thing.
I'll certainly be looking through trip hop more. It doesn't seem too be that bad of genre. Just not sure if this particular album was exactly right for me, but that won't turn me away completely from the genre.
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Old 04-11-2013, 01:12 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I usually find that any new genre takes a lot of work to find exactly what is right for me. I think there's something for everyone in every genre, so don't give up on anything.
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Old 04-11-2013, 01:19 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I usually find that any new genre takes a lot of work to find exactly what is right for me. I think there's something for everyone in every genre, so don't give up on anything.
I'm the same way. There is usually one album I can point to in any particular genre that kind of opened my eyes to what was going on and then I could enjoy the other "classics". A couple examples...Love's "Forever Changes" showed me what 60's psychedelic could do and for a while that's all I wanted to listen to. Charles Mingus's "The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady" opened my eyes to jazz after years of just not "getting it". A Tribe Called Quest's "Midnight Marauders" did the same for hip hop.

Basically, if you have any interest in trip hop from what you've heard, you will eventually find something you like. I find a lot of people new to trip hop are converted when they hear the Sneaker Pimps' "Becoming X". Try that one out.
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