Massive Attack, Mezzanine

Virgin
Released: May 1998

Massive Attack's earlier albums have stronger individual tracks (Blue Lines' "Unfinished Sympathy," Protection's title track), but this is the group's first fully-realized album, a collection of songs so powerful, so emotional, and so rich that it rivals anything released in the last decade. Songs like "Angel" and "Teardrop" are instant classics: songs you could have sworn you've heard before. However, the other tracks are equally memorable. Listen to how the rap in "Inertia Creep" mirrors the music: the 909/traditional beat creeping around a muted guitar that "moves up slowly" to an ear-splitting crescendo, as the faint howl of (what sounds like) a snowstorm rattles in the background. As that song ends, it is replaced by the simple piano and strings of "Exchange," a song so beautiful and so delicate that it could easily find a place on Air's Moon Safari. Mezzanine is, quite simply, a fantastic work of art.

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