Saturday, July 10, 2010

395 Blue Lines. Hop that skips hip.

Album: Blue Lines
Artist: Massive Attack
Year: 1991
Genre: Trip Hop

1. Safe from Harm
2. One Love
3. Blue Lines
4. Be Thankful for What You've Got
5. Five Man Army"
6. Unfinished Sympathy"
7. Daydreaming
8. Lately
9. Hymn of the Big Wheel

"Rhighty-ho Lionel old chap, the microphone is live we’re ready to go"

"Um Sebastian, just before we do progress there’s a small matter I’m a bit perturbed by"

"Oh dear, perturbed you say?"

"Yes, Yes I think I’d go so far as to say I’m perturbed. It’s about this rapping business."

"What about it?

"Well I just can’t help but think it’s not really...our sort of thing."

"Sorry old boy, I’m afraid I'm not quite following you."

"My fault, My fault. It’s just that I’ve always found Rap and Hopping Hiply to be more the domain of... I believe African Americans is the currently preferred term. Traditionally the proponents of this style of music are Americans of a certain racial group and not… well English such as ourselves."

"Ah, I see your vexation now."

"You can see why I’m perturbed?"

"Yes, now that you come to mention it I can."

"And I just worry that in comparison some of our rhymes might have a tendency to appear a bit... wack."


"Yes, Wack."

"Now it’s my turn to be perturbed I’m afraid."

"Wack is a term commonly used by MCC’s to denote something of an inferior quality. That vinaigrette dressing I had on my salad earlier was definitely Wack for example as was the accompanying chardonnay."

"I understand…what’s an MCC?"

"Well apparently it’s a term that rappers prefer to be known by. It really is an extremely complicated world this rapping business"

"And you’re worried that your rhyming skills are a bit wack?"

"Welll… take this first song for example, this line: “I was looking back at you to see if you were looking back at me looking back at you”.

"Quite clever line that I thought."

"Yes it’s clever, I just can’t help but think it’s a bit... insecure."

"How do you mean?"

"Well MCC’s from America like Dr Jay and Method Rock and others like them tend to be a bit more forthright in their interactions with the fairer sex. They’d be less likely to be doing all that looking back and more likely to be giving the young lady in question a jolly good seeing too. Pardon the vulgarity of my language but that’s how it is. They’d commit to a vigorous session of love making and then probably boast about it a lot afterwards."

"Goodness, that’s awfully forthright."

"Yes but I’m led to understand that’s a good portion of the appeal. It’s not just rhyming rather quickly it’s about a lifestyle. And one that’s a good deal more street and a bit less…"

"Radio 4?"


"Ah. Well there’s the thing. I’m sure that here in Great Britian and possibly other parts of the world there are people who are a bit put off by some of the more misogynistic tendencies of the MCC’s that you’re referring too. They might appreciate more of an English take on the whole Rap thing."

"You’re suggesting there’s a market for a more genteel style of English rapping?"

"Yes, one that’s a bit more wordplay than gunplay."

"Righto. Sounds good to me. Where were we up to?"

"We’re doing track two- One love. You’d just sung "Ever so faithful, ever so sure".

"Smashing. Ready when you are."

Okay I'm sure that's not how either member of Massive Attack speaks and there's more to their music than just insecure rhyming. But listening to it you can't help but wonder what gangsta rappers feel about having their genre stolen and returned with added levels of insecurity and a pretense at turning the backing into an artform. Still either way, trip hop is probably your thing if you're a fan of hip hop but not misogyny.

Highlight: The Title Track.
Lowlight: Lately.

Influenced by: Rap and electonica.
Influenced: Lots of English people who previously thought rap music wasn't their thing.

Favourite Amazon Customer Review Quote: "Really no amazing!!!!!!!! Un disco mas de early tri-hop .La unica cancion ke vale la pena es Daydreaming...and Hymn of the big wheel el resto aburridiiiiiiiiiiiiiisimo.......ohh Unfinished Symphaty es cool tambien!"

I have no idea what this says but I thiiiiiiiiiink it's fantastiiiiiiic!!!! Hooray for you.

So does Blue Lines launch a massive attack on your ears or can you easily fend them off? Let me know below.


  1. I like the idea of trip hop, but I think I hop, skipped and jumped right over the genre. My loss.

  2. Dave,

    I was actually looking forward to you reviewing this one... Can't say that was what I expected, but a hoot none the less. I understand your not a fan of trip hop, but surely "Unfinished Sympathy" stirred something inside you??

    I am happy that this album, of all the Massive Attack albums, made it, as it is my favourite of theirs.

    Yet again a very funny review... Keep it up!!!