20 Years today since Massive Attack – Blue Lines was released
Blue Lines is generally considered the first trip hop album, although the term was not coined until years later. The album was a success in the United Kingdom, reaching #13 in the albums chart; sales were limited elsewhere. A fusion of electronic music, hip hop, dub music, ’70s soul music and reggae, the album established Massive Attack as one of the most innovative British bands of the 1990s and the founder of trip hop’s Bristol Sound. Music critic Simon Reynolds stated that the album also marked a change in electronic/dance music, “a shift toward a more interior, meditational sound. The songs on Blue Lines run at ‘spliff’ tempos — from a mellow, moonwalking 90 beats per minute …down to a positively torpid 67 bpm.” The group also drew inspiration from concept albums in various genres by artists such as Pink Floyd, Public Image Ltd., Billy Cobham, Herbie Hancock and Isaac Hayes.
Blue Lines featured breakbeats, sampling, and rapping on a number of tracks, but the design of the album differed from traditional hip hop. Massive Attack approached the American-born hip hop movement from an underground British perspective, as well as incorporating live instruments into the mixes. It features the vocals of Shara Nelson and Horace Andy, along with the rapping of Tricky Kid. Blue Lines proved to be popular in the club scene, as well as on college radio stations.
What do you think is it still as good as it was 20 years ago, or has it past its used by date?