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4.5 out of 5 stars33
4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 23 December 2006
I remember well the period of the early nineties - and the sounds that were in my life then. Much of my leisure time was spent clubbing: fast-paced, loud, excitable and generally full-on. It was a good time and the music I heard when I was out was fantastic. But I often felt some "humanity" was missing. During those 'down times' I'd drop Protection onto my record player and slide back into a feeling of warmth, honesty and embracing lyrics. "Lyrics!" I thought, that's what's was missing! What was the point otherwise? It was simply music only of the 'thrill factor'. Of course I listened to other classics that my collection contained, but this was the sound at the time. And Massive Attack had seemed to tap into the zeitgeist.

There was a brooding sense of darkness in these sounds, an almost brutal honestly that sometimes alluded to some parts of life not being particularly beautiful, but they were still parts of our lives nonetheless. And the honest narrative only helped to fortify this truth.

Using an original approach to sampling whereby the samples actually meant something: ie: they had a reference point, the sound is cut-up, urban and powerful, and certainly not "dance music" as some have mistakenly presumed. But it's the vocals of Nicolette, the lovely Tracy Thorn and the unique Horace Andy that provide the backdrop to the unmatchable Massive sound. When these two are mixed there is an infectious draw that certainly resonates for me. But maybe that's because the music means something to me?

But the point is, it turned out that this music meant something to most people then. And that time has passed.

Thankfully we're entering another period whereby the music is beginning the mean something. If it has stayed like it was before for any longer I would have gone mad.
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on 20 April 2001
If I had this album on vinal rather than CD, the needle would have cut a groove so deep it would come through to the other side. I have played this album over and over and I have never tired of it. Simply put, it is a masterpiece. This album was one of the few I have listened to on the listening post at HMV before I bought it (I had only heard the one song, 'Unfinished Sympathy', prior to this album. Immediatelty I was transfixed by the enourmous bass lines of 'better things' and the angelic vocals of protection. 3 singers each with 2 songs apiece, and two instrumentals make this a varied, but coherent colaboration.
If I was to make one critisism, it is the dreadful cover of light my fire on the final track. What were they thinking of? I never let my CD play this song before I take it off.
This album has remained my favorite album of the 90's.
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on 27 November 2009
When Massive Attack's Blue Lines first appeared in 1991 the music was completely ground breaking and the lyrics hauntingly simply and beautiful and so welcomed by the world ready for that sort of message and the way of its delivery. Protection, delivered in 1994 by pretty much the same people grouped under the banner of Massive Attack not only did not disappoint us, but in many ways reinforced and upgraded the original feeling. Most of us where so glad to be able to place Massive Attack at the top if our then current music scene and watch them reap the rewards of their well deserved success. The significance of their music and lyrics was their focus on what brings us all together and their desire to work towards the good and common of all of us, by setting their vision straight ahead, rather than looking around to point out what bothers us about ourselves. There was good uniting energy layered between the novel sounds if our chilling, down tempo experience.

The atmosphere of Protection feels as interesting to me today 15 years later as it did when it first came out. Protection is my favorite album by Massive Attack and it is not an easy choice to make. Fans of this band are most likely fairly equally divided between calling any one of their first 3 albums as their favorite. They are all great and I am choosing the middle one because I sense and I am attracted to the variation of mood which Protection delivers. I am very influenced by the lightness and the ambience of tone of this music.

The title song Protection is my favorite song of this album. The lyric is simple and powerful, the voice of Tracy Thorn is perfect to bring her message across. Melodically this title song has two layers mixed into it. There is a rather simple bass and drum based melody but the underlying electronic mood escalates and develops beautifully. I would love to have that ambient background on its own, without the drum and bass and vocal tracks. That ambient mood dances around the base melody and sound which gives us the full effect of this song. Karmacoma might have he most techno feel to it. It is the first of 2 songs on this album where the song is performed by Tricky and 3D singing or rapping it in alternating succession and this song has their jointly singing parts as well. Three is one of the most beautiful songs of Protection. It is a soulful down tempo mood with great vocal by Nicolette and intriguing lyrics but the texture becomes much more dimensional by the echo of `three' rapped in the background. Weather Storm is an electronica ambient instrumental Craig Armstrong style with his unique piano playing. Spying Glass is sort of a distorted reggae song placed against the atmospheric background. Better Things has a dubbed bass feel to it musically but vocally and lyrically it is one of the best songs of the album. The difference of sound and mood and the overall dimension between Better Things and following it Eurochild is a perfect example of the greatness of this moody Protection. We are being taken from one place to another, completely different, with such ease and comfort. Eurochild is a beautiful dialog between Tricky and 3D and the sound is again Protection specific. This song is like Karmacoma played in the background with a beautiful melody playing over it and overpowering it. It is a great song with many elements and sounds coming together and taking us from place to place during these five minutes. Sly is another song sung by Nicolette. It is less complex musically and lyrics are leaving us...'wandering'... It is one of the weaker songs of this album and that is a complement. It is still a nice song. Heat Miser is a very nice instrumental reminding me of Craig Armstrong's influence again. He is the master of the mood created and sustained so well here. Picking a song by The Doors as a song to cover shows great taste on the part of Massive Attack as well as the desire to build new bridges between us. However it is not my favorite cover by any means and the sound of this recording could be more interesting as well. To be honest, this is the only song of this album which I might end up skipping over, if I was to listen to this music on repeat with a remote control right next to me. Here are some of my favorite songs of Massive Attack and Tricky (up to 2009): Unfinished Sympathy. Protection, Dissolved Girl, Trinity Dub, Car Crash, Heat Miser, Three, Contradictive, Teardrop, Safe From Harm (perfecto mix), Evolution Revolution Love, Blue Lines, Angel, Better Things, Inertia Creeps, Hymn Of The Big Wheel.
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on 17 September 2003
The poppiest of the Massive Attack albums suffers none for its apparent desire to showcase the group's murky, dark sound to a wider audience. On this album, the three 'true' members of the group bring in a number of guest stars including long-time companion Tricky, Horace Andy, Tracy Thorn and Nicolette. This tactic paid dividened with debut album 'Blue Lines' - Shara Nelson's beautiful voice made 'Unfinished Sympathy' into a massive hit - and it paid off again in spades with this classic.
From the opening, quite beautiful title track to the last cut (a live, mega-dubby version of the Doors classic 'Light My Fire') this album is breathtaking in its impact. You'll find yourself listening to the whole album right through on more than one occasion and wondering where the hell the time went.
Perfect for relaxing to, going to sleep to or travelling to work, this album is, as stated earlier, much more commercial than the group's other work. But make no mistake, the dark undercurrent is still there. Witness the slithering bass of 'Karmacoma' - with Tricky's harsh, breathed vocals over the top. Or the dark majesty of 'Spying Glass' - guest vocals from reggae legend Horace Andy. Both are classic cuts.
But the true heights of the album are the two numbers with Nicolette providing vocals, namely 'Three' and 'Sly'. This woman has the most incredible voice - you just have to hear it to believe it. Reminiscent of a cross between Eartha Kitt, Shirley Bassey and Nina Simone, yet managing to sound completely original, her vocals are just breathtaking. Unfortunately, her solo album 'No Government' is a hit and miss affair, largely a mess of drum and bass with a smattering of good tracks. Still, the two tracks on here more than make up for the disappointment of that album.
One of those albums that should be in EVERY music fan's collection
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on 10 March 2014
Massive Attack's best album, in my opinion.

Nothing much to add, as it's all been said in previous comments (and better than I could).

Yes, the cover version of 'Light My Fire' pretty much sucks, even after trying to force myself to like it on umpteen occasions throughout the years; sometimes it's not bad, but thankfully with it being the last song it's easy to avoid.

The rest of the tracks are delicious - the title track being their most incredible song released to date.

Enjoy this ethereal album.
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on 30 March 2013
Had this years ago, recalled it to be good, fell in love with Teardrop off Mezzanine, bought Protection and yes, THE massive Attack album [SO much better than Mezzanine!]
Came fast and in good condition.
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on 17 September 2011
The reason I'm only giving this album two stars is because it is a review of the sound quality of the vinyl edition of the album, the music itself is worth four stars in my opinion. The first thing I noticed when I played this record was that it was very quiet but luckily my amplifier is powerful enough to be cranked up sufficiently. However, there was a serious lack of bass on the first two tracks. This is because side 1 is over 27 minutes long. The maximum length a side of vinyl should be is around 24 minutes long, and less for a bass intensive album such as this. The overall album length is about 48 minutes, so it should of been pressed onto two records. The song protection sounds considerably inferior without that deep bass sound.

However, for some reason Three and Weather Storm sound better than the CD version. Nicolette's voice on Three sounds more sensual and has more presence than on the CD version. Craig Armstrong's piano playing on Weather Storm also sounds more intricate. Whether these differences are caused by a different mix, the equipment I'm using or the inherent difference between CD and Vinyl I am not 100% sure.

When I turned the record over the first thing I noticed was that Better Things was a lot louder and had 10 times more bass than anything on side 1. This is because side 2 is around 21 minutes long.
However at the end of this track there was severe vocal sibilance. This continues throughout Eurochild and Sly but is absent on Light My Fire. I tried turning my amplifier right down but the sibilance was still there on these tracks. This somewhat ruins the magic of Nicolette's jazzy vocals on Sly. Since I can only think of one record that I own where the sibilance is this bad I can only assume it is the fault of the mastering. Hopefully, some other owners of this album will comment whether or not they have noticed similar sibilance problems.

The last two tracks of the album sound great. However, because of a lack of bass on side 1 and sibilance on side 2 I recommend you buy the CD instead of the vinyl. If you already own the CD and have some money to burn it might be worth buying this vinyl because I'm pretty sure some songs have superior mixes on the vinyl.
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on 6 June 2000
I've had this album for about two years now and it's one of my favourites. The best song on the album is Weather Storm, a beautiful instrumental with an excellent base line. The cover of The Doors' Light My Fire is also good, with Horace Andy's excellent vocals making a pleasant return to the fray.
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on 2 April 2015
Fantastic album and arrived promptly and as I am a Massive Attack fan I am so pleased I bought this to replace my damaged one!
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on 18 June 2015
There are a select group of albums that everyone should own. White Album, Appetite For Destruction, Brothers In Arms, Bridge Over Troubled Waters, Catch A Fire, Physical Graffiti, True Blue, Off The Wall Etc....this is one of them. Simple as...
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