25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on 16 February 2005
I came to this album very late - 13 years late to be exact - and I'm still in the honeymoon period with it, playing it constantly. I'm probably about to say the same as everyone else but there's not a duff track here, mainly because of the different styles at play (jazz, hip-hop, dub, dance, bits of soul, the beginnings of trip-hop, tribal beats with 'Hymn of the big wheel' and of course, orchestral music on 'Unfinished Sympathy'). There's a wonderfully sparse, late-night feel on tracks such as 'Blue Lines' and 'Five Man Army' - the way 3D and crew languidly interact with each other on these tracks is awesome - and 'Lately' has such a dreamy, atmospheric quality to it, not forgetting a wicked bassline. Then there's the magnificent 'Unfinished Sympathy', but I don't think I need to go on about the chilling effect it has on my mind, body and soul because that's all old hat really. Not that this album will ever be old hat - I'm pretty sure I'll still be listening to it in another 13 years.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 24 November 2012
Well let us atart with the good points being the cd has been remastered very well, and well worth buying if you have the original.
The bad points being the packaging is just rubbish, a card sleeve which covers the jewel case completely useless. The inner sleeve hasnt even got the lyrics that the original booklet had. The only album notes that are available are covered by a black tray, a clear one would have been better.
My advice if you have the orginal cd is to swap the cds over.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 28 August 2002
i've been listening to this album a lot lately and it still sounds as fresh now as it did all those years ago. i don't think there's one weak track on the album and some of them are simply stellar. this is the album that spawned a complete new genre in 'trip-hop' but don't let thoughts of the sneaker pimps put you off as most of the scene was just a pale imitation of this album.
everyone knows the massive single 'unfinshed sympathy' with shara nelson vocals and famous video and lots of people also know the mighty 'safe from harm' (again ms nelson on the vocals making it another obvious single choice) but it's on tracks like 'blue lines', 'lately' and the sublime 'daydreaming' that this album comes into its own.
absolutely essential and every home should own a copy.
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on 10 March 2003
When sitting down with your friends over a beer or ten, do you end up discussing what your top five favourite albums of all time are?
I do and this little beauty is always there!
So, some background information for you. I used to be involved in the Bristol music scene in the eighties and in fact spent many a blissful night behind the decks at a number of Bristol's clubs, one of those being the now famous 'Dug Out' which was the foundation scene for the Wild Bunch and from there - well that's history and well documented.
So having seen the Wild Bunch in action all those years ago I found myself buying Blue Lines the day it came out in 1991, and having taken the purchase home sat back in amazement as from the dark undertones of "Safe from harm" to the final uplifting beauty of "Hymn of the big wheel" I knew that this was unlike anything I had ever heard before. How could a bunch of 'blaggers', as the guys used to refer to themselves as being, produce an absolute masterpiece and I mean masterpiece?
I guess we will never know but for me music has never quite been the same since. This CD never stays out of my home or car for long and even though I have followed Massive Attack like a religion since their birth, I still love this album more than anything else they have released.
Don't get me wrong, I treasure their subsequent releases and would always find a moment or a mood for each. 100th Window for instance is very dark and very different than anything else you can put your hands on currently which makes it so unique, but picture a sunny day in Bristol driving through St. Pauls or across the Downs and Blue Lines falls into place. I guess it's simply just a Bristol thing.
If you have just got into Massive Attack and want to understand where it all began, get your hands on this and give it a try. If dark and moody is your thing then you might find Blue Lines a little light and soulful for your musical taste buds, but if you are like me and can cast your body and soul back to 1991 when this hit the streets then you might find a new entry in your top five! May I suggest that you look up the book "Straight Outa Bristol" by Phil Johnson, it gives a glorious account of the beginnings of the Bristol sound and covers the emergence of Massive Attack, Tricky, Portishead etc in great detail and with great passion (limited availability now but good hunting).
One final note, has there ever been a track with such a sublime beginning as "Unfinished Sympathy"? - No I didn't think so either!
(I dedicate this review to Smiler. X)
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on 1 March 2004
Like most people, I first got to know of this band through hearing 'Unfinished Sympathy'. It's not that typical of the rest of the album, but I bought it on the strength of the one track, and boy, and I glad I did!
This has got to be one of the best albums of the 90's, one that redefined music and gave birth to the genre of 'trip-hop'. I know that sounds like a terrible exageration, but I really cannot think of anyone else who played this kind of music before Blue Lines.
Every track here is a killer - 'Five Man Army' is a favourite of mine, and 'Blue Lines' gives us a clue where the band were going to head in future years. There is such a range of vocal talent here, from the undoubted talents of Shara Nelson and Horace Andy to the slightly off-key talk/whisper of 3-D. I don't think any other band would be able to get away with such a diverse collection of vocal talent on one album.
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on 16 January 2013
I love Massive Attack and bought this remix as my original was worn out, scratched, ruined from overuse.
Such high hopes for this disc, it is rubbish. The sound quality even on the DVD hi-res version is compressed, it sounds oppressive, the bass is too forward, the mix is heavier, less light and air. On the CD the same is true except on mine there were some noises that sounded like distortion that just should not have been there at all (my copies were promo's, so maybe the commercial version is different).
I listen through Quad amps and ESL57 speakers, so you can hear this stuff, but everyone on almost any stereo will too. Buy the original, don't nick it, don't iTunes it, get it, hold it, love it but avoid this money making dog rough remix, it's awful.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 3 August 2011
I've loved Massive Attack's Unfinished Sympathy ever since it was first released but never knew what album it came from until recently, Wow! what an album, they were definitely at the cutting edge then and in my humble opinion this stacks up quite easily against anything that is being created now.
Apart from the obvious track the ones that i couldn't get enough of were Daydreaming, great bass line, Be thankful for what you've got, Safe from harm and Hymn of the big wheel. These are my favourites but really there isn't one track on the whole album i don't like.
You're tastes usually change the older you get but i reckon i'll still be playing this 10-15 years from now, that is if i'm still around!!
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 8 December 2012
I just received my copy of the Remaster/Remix edition of what's certainly a classic album by most standards. Its groundbreaking inventiveness and bold diversity of genres remains relevant today, and can hold its own with any works being released now. Because of that, 5 stars may not even be enough to acknowledge its beauty, power and place in popular music.
As far as the remastered versions, I'd say that they sound differently enough (brighter, more balanced mixes) to justify their claim.
Now, if you are, like me, someone who'd order it excited to receive a "special edition" of this masterpiece, you might be significantly disappointed, both by its misleading description and actual return on your monetary investment.
To begin with, this edition is described (verbatim) as "packaged in a 5 card mailer with the album's artwork screen-printed per the original release." What you get is a CD in a regular jewel box (no additional tracks or versions, by the way) inside of a box replicating the jewel box front cover art (which I predict you'll find annoying to open repeatedly) and, rather than a booklet, accompanied exclusively by a single heavy paper card, once again, replicating the front and back of the box that encases the jewel box.
I'm still wondering how this could be described as "a 5 card mailer" and how it may be considered a just homage to such important work. Needless to say that paying £9.99 plus taxes and shipping for it, infuriates me. A digital version would have been more than enough.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 4 June 2011
My interest in Massive Attack started with the song "Teardrop", as it was the case with many people, I suppose. As a natural reaction I started out by listening to their most well-known record, Mezzanine, which included aforementioned song.
I think almost anybody will agree with me when I state that Mezzanine was (and still is) an undisputed masterpiece and simply Massive Attack's best.
But Blue Lines is often preferred by critics. As of 1998 and onwards it just stood in the shadow of the bleak, interesting and commercially succesful Mezzanine.
It is a shame really. Blue Lines is a very decent album, including probably Massive Attack's greatest single "Unfinished Sympathy". However, whereas Mezzanine still sounds fresh to this day, with its gloomy atmosphere, Blue Lines has seen better days music-wise. The ideas are generally very good and work very well when classic instruments, such as acoustic instruments along with drums and bass, form the center of the music ("Safe From Harm", "Five Man Army", "Unfinished Sympathy"). But on songs like "Be Thankful for what You've Got" the synthpads sound very dated and just straightdown corny.
Thankfully, Blue Lines works for the most part (and I'll just highlight the title song and album-closer, too) and as such it's still worth your money, but you should really listen to Massive Attack's albums in chronological order to follow and appreciate the incredible transformation that their music has undergone.
Listen to Blue Lines as a single album without any comparisons to other MA-material, and you'll be most satisfied!
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 28 December 2001
This remains the finest example of Massive Attack's work ever to be released. The extraordinarily unique sound apparent as you listen to each track is all the more surprising when you realise how many people cooperated to produce it.
For me it will always be seen as "the album with 'Unfinished Sympathy' on it", because it stands out so much as a groundbreaking and hauntingly beautiful piece of music that I will never tire of listening to.
Dificult to categorise but easy to listen to, every track is a gem and if you are into music in any way it should be on your shelf NOW.